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.

The Week in a Minute, 11/3/17

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

  • Eight people were killed in lower Manhattan, and scores were injured, when a 29-year-old man drove a van down a bicycle path in what is now widely considered a terrorist attack.
  • FEMA is still paying for more than 60,000-plus Texans to live in hotels in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on Aug. 25, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation says insured claim payouts arising out of Hurricane Irma statewide now stand at $5.3 billion.

Business Insurance Coverage: Terrorism Insurance

On Tuesday, October 31, a man plowed a pickup truck into a crowded bike path in lower Manhattan. Eight people were killed and 11 more injured. A note found near the truck indicate the driver’s affiliation with the Islamic State, but no evidence of a wider plot or direct ties between the driver and ISIS has been found, and the incident is another in a growing list of “inspired” attacks, according to counterterrorism experts.

Although New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and other politicians have called the attack an act of terror, policyholders with terrorism insurance are only covered by that policy if the U.S. Department of the Treasury officially certifies an event as an act of terrorism. This requires that the act be violent and driven by the desire of an individual or individuals to coerce U.S. civilians or government. The act must also cause over $5 million in property and casualty losses.

Since the attacks on September 11, none of the attacks on the U.S., including the Boston Marathon bombing, have been certified as terrorist acts by the Treasury. In the absence of that certification, business owners can file claims under their standard property casualty policies.

Small business and cyber insurance

Risk management services are an important way cyber insurance adds value for small businesses, according to a new I.I.I. paper.

In Protecting Against #Cyberfail: Small Business and Cyber Insurance, I.I.I. co-authors James Lynch and Claire Wilkinson say:

“The provision of these types of services is considered a growth area in the cyber market for SMBs, where price may be a barrier to insurance coverage in the first place. For larger companies, cyber-related risk management services may be offered at a discount or for free.

“For SMBs in particular, offering a risk management or training solution where they can learn more and keep themselves up-to-date on current threats is perhaps most valuable.”

Also heard at the Advisen Cyber Risk Insights Conference in NYC last week: part of the value proposition for SMBs is that cyber policies offer solutions, not just coverage.

Andy Lea, vice president underwriting for E&O, Cyber and Media, CNA, told the conference: “The value proposition is more prominent with SME and middle market companies that just don’t have resources available in-house to manage risks. This is an opportunity for brokers and carriers to add value.”

The challenges to building better after a disaster

The pressures to rebuild quickly after a disaster can pose a challenge to the notion that immediately after a disaster is the perfect opportunity for creating more disaster resilient buildings and infrastructure.

The author of this blog, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer for RMS, cites several recent examples – “Whether this is to elevate buildings out of the flood zone in Houston or raising wind design code standards in Dominica, the political instinct will be to remove any barrier in the path of rapid reconstruction.”

He concludes that we should try harder to argue for making the transformation at the time of the disaster and not give in to the political arguments where economic recovery is the number one priority.

 

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