From the I.I.I. Daily: Our Most Popular Content, November 9 to November 15

Here are the 5 most clicked on articles from this week’s I.I.I. Daily newsletter.

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Insurance Industry Wildfire Relief Fund

California residents are grappling with the most deadly and destructive wildfires in the state’s history this November.

To help those affected, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is facilitating a collective industry relief response. To help with a tax-deductible contribution to the IICF California Wildfire Relief Fund, please click here.

Additional ways to aid victims of the Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires can be found here.

 

Insurers respond to California wildfires

 

The Camp Fire in Northern California has become the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in state history, with a death toll of 42 to date. In the southern part of the state, firefighters are battling the Woolsey Fire, which has taken two lives so far. Up to a hundred people are still missing, according to local authorities.

I.I.I.’s California representative Janet Ruiz had advice for residents impacted by fires in this CNBC article.

Many insurers have deployed mobile units to assist homeowners with filing claims and to distribute debit cards for living expenses.

Below are the top 10 homeowners insurers in California.

 

“Deepfakes”: a looming nightmare for insurers?

Picture a world where sophisticated machine-learning algorithms generate hyper-realistic video footage of you doing things you’ve never done and saying things you’ve never said.

If that sounds like a nightmare, I’ve got bad news for you. That world is increasingly our world. Those videos, called “deepfakes,” are already being created, often for unsavory purposes.

(You can watch a deepfake video of former president Obama giving a fake speech here.)

Anyone can download the software needed for DIY deepfake videos. And even though deepfake technology hasn’t yet been perfected, it’s getting better every day.

This has obvious implications for national security. Indeed, congressmen have already expressed concerns about the use of deepfakes as weapons of international intrigue.

What about insurance – could deepfakes be the next frontier of risk? It’s not hard to imagine some scenarios:

  • Cyber: A deepfaked audio recording of a CFO directs a company’s billing department to route thousands of dollars to a fake bank account.
  • Directors and officers: A deepfake video is created of a large corporation’s CEO reporting (fabricated) negative financial results, leading to a significant drop in the company’s stock.
  • Employment-practices liability: An employee is “deepfaked” to portray him making disparaging remarks about coworkers and engaging in harassment.
  • General liability: Someone creates a deepfake video of a person slipping in a grocery store and “injuring” herself, leading to allegations of negligence.

I’m sure you could think of a hundred more like these. How will we adapt to a world where video and audio can’t be trusted to tell the truth? What if deepfakes become too sophisticated to detect – how will this impact insurance claims and fraud prevention?

If the worst comes to pass, deepfakes could soon become an insurance nightmare.

But hopefully, the best case scenario happens instead: detection technology keeps up with deepfake advancements – and keeps everyone honest.

From the I.I.I. Daily: Our Most Popular Content, November 2 to November 8

Here are the 5 most clicked on articles from this week’s I.I.I. Daily newsletter.

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The state of the Insurtech market 2018

S&P Market Intelligence has recently published a report on the state of the Insurtech market, and on November 7 the company held a briefing on the subject. Panelists included Slice CEO Tim Attia, Drew Aldrich, Principal at American Family Ventures and the report’s author, Research Analyst Thomas Mason.

Here are some of the trends observed by S&P in the insurtech space:

  • Insurtechs are still in very early stages and that means it could take up to seven years before the recent crop of successful insurtechs go public and return investor capital.
  • Digital agencies and tech-focused underwriting generated the largest amount of deal value in the first half of 2018.
  • Companies that have full control of distribution, underwriting and servicing their policies (full-stack companies) have amassed substantial funding.
  • Disruption of the sort wreaked by Netflix on the entertainment industry is unlikely for the many lines of insurance (auto for instance) that are already dominated by the direct distribution model.
  • In commercial insurance where direct sales are not as prevalent, large incumbents are vigorously competing with startups for direct sales.

The panelists had this advice for incumbents who are looking to compete with nimble insurtechs:

  • Prediction is the next big frontier.
  • Spin off a separate digital insurer, it’s a lot easier than changing existing systems, silos and layers.
  • Embrace a culture of entrepreneurship and willingness to experiment.
  • Consumer expectations are changing quickly – the disruption could have happened already, and we don’t even know.

 

 

Drivers are underprepared for car accidents, new survey finds

Nobody wants to be in a car accident, but they happen to almost all of us. According to a new survey from Esurance, 77 percent of U.S. drivers have been in at least one accident (which aligns well with previous research showing the average driver will be in 3 to 4 accidents in a lifetime).

The survey also found:

Drivers aren’t taking post-accident precautions to ensure their well-being.

  • More than half neglected to file a police report or document the damage.
  • Only 42 percent talked to the police after their incidents.
  • And, of respondents who suffered injuries in an accident, fewer than half (47 percent) sought medical attention.

And drivers are underprepared before an accident even happens.

  • 75 percent of drivers believe they’re well covered by insurance but may have gaps since 3 out of 4 drivers experience some out-of-pocket costs (and 16 percent know they have coverage gaps but choose to take the risk).

Ideally no one should be involved in a collision, but since car accidents are still a fact of life, the I.I.I. has advice on steps to take after an accidents here.

 

Like Uber, but for lawsuits

As anyone who has rented an apartment in New York City knows, your security deposit is basically a gift to your landlord. Good luck ever seeing it again after you move out.  

There are a few theories for how to avoid this. Mine has been to pray fervently for divine intervention, which worked out…once. An acquaintance tells me to simply never pay the last month’s rent. (The I.I.I. does not in any way endorse this strategy.) 

But one strategy no one suggests is to contest the withholding of your deposit in small claims court. Because you’ll end up spending more money than your original deposit was worth. 

If only there were an app for that… 

Turns out, there is. DoNotPay is an app that uses algorithms to determine whether someone has a case in small claims court – and will help file legal documents. From contesting parking tickets to resolving landlord disputes to filing lawsuits for data breaches (like Equifax), the app apparently has about a 50 percent success rate in court.  Without recourse to a single lawyer. And it’s free. 

This sounds like a dream for individuals who need legal help they can’t currently access. Because lawyers ain’t cheap.  

But is there a sinister side to this? The U.S. is a notoriously litigious society. The plaintiffs bar has been very creative in winning massive verdicts that many argue are distorting the tort system. It’s been estimated that the costs of torts in 2016 were $429 billion – or about 2.3 percent of the GDP of the U.S. Reformers would argue that there’s an entire cottage industry whose primary purpose is to sue anyone and anything with sufficiently deep pockets to justify the effort.  

Could an app like DoNotPay, which today helps the little guy fight his unjust parking ticket, one day turn into the means to seamlessly litigate every aspect of our lives at the push of a button? Only time will tell.  

In the meantime, I just got a parking ticket in Brooklyn, because of course I did. Alexa, open DoNotPay.  

From the I.I.I. Daily: Our Most Popular Content, October 29 to November 1

Here are the 5 most clicked on articles from this week’s I.I.I. Daily newsletter.

 

 

To subscribe to the I.I.I. Daily email daily@iii.org.

 

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