Ergonomics in the office

The dangers of inactivity have been well publicized. You may have seen the fear-inducing headlines that too much sitting is killing you. So it’s not surprising that office workers are turning to standing desks and exercise balls as alternatives to the office chair. However, these alternatives come with injury risks of their own, which could trigger a workers compensation claim. Exercise balls offer no back support and prolonged standing is linked to reduced circulation and discomfort in the feet and the lower back.

For the people who have eschewed chair alternatives, a recent article in the Workplace Safety section of the Travelers website lists what to look for in an office chair according to Travelers risk control ergonomics professionals:

  • A pneumatic height adjustment.
  • A height adjustable lumbar support.
  • A seat back which can either be locked in an upright position or inclined up to 110 degrees.
  • Adjustable padded armrests with rounded edges.
  • An adjustable seat pan.
  • A five caster base with appropriate casters for the flooring surface.

Swiss Re forecasts growth in insurance markets

This in from Swiss Re Institute’s Global Insurance Review 2017 and Outlook 2018/2019 report:

The cyclical upswing in the global economy is set to continue in 2018 and 2019, supporting insurance premium volume growth.

Global non-life premiums are forecast to grow by at least 3 percent annually in real terms in the next two years and life premiums by 4 percent.

Emerging markets, particularly in Asia, will remain the driver of global non-life and life premium growth, according to Swiss Re.

THE WEEK IN A MINUTE, 11/16/17

The III’s Michael Barry briefs our membership every week on key insurance related stories. Here are some highlights:

The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Tuesday, November 14, the 21st Century Flood Reform Act. It calls for a five-year extension of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The NFIP is due to expire on Friday, December 8, 2017.

Hurricane Irma has to date generated an estimated $5.87 billion in insured claim payouts in Florida, according to the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).

The American Heart Association’s new blood-pressure guidelines could impact how life insurers underwrite their policies, the I.I.I.’s chief economist, Dr. Steven Weisbart, told PolicyGenius.com.

 

Americans view cyberattacks, climate change as major threats

Cyberattacks from other countries are now seen as a major threat to the U.S. by 72 percent of Americans, according to a national survey from the Pew Research Center.

This view has changed little in recent years, apparently. But what has changed is public opinions about other global threats.

Take climate change—now viewed as a major threat by 58 percent of Americans, up 7 points since January, and the highest share since 2009.

The survey was conducted October 25-30 among 1,504 adults.

NAIC’s life insurance policy locator finds $92.5 million in lost life insurance policies in its first year

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) announced on Monday that its Life Insurance Policy Locator has matched 8,210 beneficiaries with lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuities – totaling $92.5 million returned to consumers – since the launch of the consumer tool last November. More than 40,000 consumers have conducted searches since the policy locator was launched.

“State insurance regulators identified the scattershot, intensely manual process of helping consumers search for lost life insurance policies,” said Ted Nickel, NAIC President and Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner. “.. we leveraged innovation and technology to develop a bespoke solution providing an easy way for consumers to access nearly all life insurers and search for lost life insurance policies.”

Insurance makes it to the Double Jeopardy round

Some of you may have been delighted when insurance appeared as a category in a recent Jeopardy show. On Thursday, November 9th the Double Jeopardy round featured a category called “satisfying all your insurance needs.”

The contestants were able to answer most of the questions, but no one could identify a completion bond or term life insurance. For a full list of questions and answers click here.

Key insights from this year’s ACORD insurance innovation challenge

This year, ACORD held its annual insurance innovation challenge competition in Boston. The competition highlights tech-driven solutions from some of the best and brightest in the business. Willis Re’s Dan Foster reports in this blog post on several key insights from the event.

  • This year’s winners demonstrated their ability to compile data that’s widely available and generally sought-after and use it in new ways. Something the industry needs to get quicker at doing.
  • The industry has been too focused on growth through product development or distribution innovation leaving a lot of room for improving underwriting and operational efficiencies.
  • A greater balance of technology efforts across different business processes would serve the industry well. While individual InsurTech companies continue to become more specialized in the problems they address, the dispersion of the tech movement across all operations will foster greater cohesion in all segments of the industry.

Willis Re’s most recent InsurTech Briefing, for Q3 2017 is available here.

The Week in a Minute, 11/9/17

The III’s Michael Barry briefs our membership every week on key insurance related stories. Here are some highlights:

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, November 6, on how insurance companies are increasingly using private firefighter services to help protect the homes of policyholders in areas prone to wildfires. According to the article, insurers see the service as an opportunity to provide protection beyond what most people get through publicly funded firefighting.

The American Insurance Association named as its new president John Degnan, a former New Jersey attorney general and vice chairman and chief operating officer at Chubb.

Waymo has been testing driverless minivans in Phoenix, Arizona over the past month, Waymo’s CEO announced this week.

 

Building a cyber-savvy workforce

Employee negligence is the leading cause of cyber security breaches. This Willis Tower Watson blog post suggests several ways to improve employee awareness of good cyber hygiene. They include increasing the frequency of awareness training; adopting a ‘learn by doing’ training approach; gamification of training; appointing employee ‘cyber ambassadors’; ensuring the IT department has the right skills; and evaluating corporate culture to make sure it supports cyber awareness. More details on building a cyber savvy workforce are available here.

Source: Willis Tower Watson Claims Data

Commercial insurance rates variable: IVANS Index

Nearly all major commercial insurance lines experienced premium renewal rate increases in October, according to the IVANS Index.

In its analysis, only workers’ compensation remained in negative premium renewal rate territory, IVANS said. Business Owners Policy remains as the line of business with the highest premium renewal rate change, despite continuing its downward trend.

October rate changes include:

  •     Commercial Auto: 3.10%, up from 2.55% at the end of September.
  •     BOP: 3.57%, down from 3.87% the month prior.
  •     General Liability: 1.79%, up from 1.70% at the end of June.
  •     Commercial Property: 2.83%, up from 2.40% the month prior.
  •     Umbrella: 1.34%, down from 1.45% at the end of June.
  •     Workers’ Compensation: -2.24%, down from -1.31% the month prior.

Analyzing more than 120 million data transactions, the IVANS Index measures the premium difference year over year.