All posts by Claire

Claire Wilkinson is vice president for Global Issues at the Insurance Information Institute. Ms. Wilkinson researches and analyzes a wide range of international and domestic property/casualty issues. She has co-authored papers on topics such as the handling of catastrophic risks, terrorism and obesity liability. She also acts as an industry spokesperson to the media. Most recently, Ms. Wilkinson co-wrote a chapter on alternative risk transfer for the book International Insurance Markets: Global Dynamics and Local Contingencies that will be published by The Wharton School. She has also authored and co-authored articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including the John Liner Review, National Underwriter and Catastrophe Risk Management magazine. Ms. Wilkinson joined the I.I.I. in 2003, after more than 10 years as a journalist reporting on international insurance issues and trends. Ms. Wilkinson previously served as U.S. bureau chief for the U.K.-based trade newspaper Insurance Day. Prior to her assignment to New York, she was deputy editor of Insurance Day in London. She also worked as a reporter for the Financial Times newsletter and contributed articles to insurance industry surveys published in the Financial Times newspaper. Ms. Wilkinson received her Master of Arts degree in Anglo-American Literary Relations from University College, London. She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from the University of Wales at Cardiff and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature from the University of Warwick. She is currently studying for the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.

Rebuilding is good for the Nation

As insurers, legislators and regulators grapple with how to maintain viable insurance markets in the post-Katrina and Rita era; we tip our hat to Illinois Sen. and presidential hopeful Barack Obama who addressed a Senate committee hearing on Gulf Coast rebuilding held in New Orleans Monday. Obama told the committee: “Rebuilding New Orleans is not just good for the Gulf or the state of Louisiana, it’s good for our nation.† Good point. Some 18 months since the most costly disaster in U.S. history and of the billions of dollars of government aid promised for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction, only a fraction has reached the hands of those affected. For our industry’s part, some 95 percent of the 1.2 million homeowners insurance claims in Louisiana and Mississippi had been settled by the storm’s one-year anniversary on August 2006. With an above-average hurricane season forecast for 2007, and landfall probabilities and intensities up across all regions, the importance of the rebuilding effort in the Gulf cannot be underestimated. Indeed,  insurers are  not alone in pushing for stronger building codes across the country. Check out I.I.I.’s Louisiana insurance market overview. for the latest catastrophe info.

Varying Shades of Green

The potential link between global climate change and extreme weather continues to elicit a wide range of views.   But whatever your perspective, it is clear that our industry is becoming involved in green issues in an ever-growing number of ways.   From hybrid cars to green building technologies to how to manage corporate exposures to climate change, insurers are increasingly participating in the green debate.   For example, Travelers recently said it will offer owners of hybrid cars in California a 10 percent discount on their auto insurance, bringing to 42 the total number of states in which it offers such a discount.   Several other companies have introduced similar incentives to hybrid drivers.   Meanwhile, Fireman’s Fund has introduced a new coverage for green-certified buildings that will offer a discount to building owners due to the lower risk factors.   Another education-related green initiative will see broker Marsh offer a program with Yale University from January to teach corporate board members about their fiduciary responsibility to manage exposure to climate change.   Released earlier this year, III’s report “Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather: An Exploration of Scientific Uncertainty and the Economics of Insurance† by III economists L. James Valverde Jr. and Marcellus M. Andrews examines a range of issues related to global climate change and extreme weather and explores the potential implications for insurers and reinsurers going forward.   Expect more III research on green-related industry issues in future.