Discover “How Insurance Drives Economic Growth”

By Sean M. Kevelighan,
CEO, Insurance Information Institute

Most people understand insurance as their first line of defense against financial losses. However, the insurance industry’s commitment to a strong economy goes much deeper.

Insurers and reinsurers in many ways are the very foundation of growth and progress for the modern economy. For individuals and businesses of all sizes faced with managing risk amid increasingly complex challenges, insurance is there to ease uncertainties. It’s the safety net that lets families, businesses, and communities plan for future success, confident that they will be able to bounce back no matter what lies ahead.

In a new research study from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), “How Insurance Drives Economic Growth,” the I.I.I.’s chief economist, Steven Weisbart, lists 10 ways which insurers and reinsurers create value and drive economic growth by serving as “financial “first responders,” risk mitigators, partners in social policy, job-creators, and as a leading investor in innovation.

Through statistics, analysis and insights this publication tells a story that we’re proud of: How insurers not only make individuals and communities more productive and resilient, but also how the industry provides stability to financial markets and the overall economy, and helps to effectuate civic and social change to help promote the common good.

44% of Drivers Killed in Crashes Test Positive for Drugs, Study Shows

Evidence continues to pour in about the increase in drug use by drivers.

From behind The Wall Street Journal paywall:

Drug tests of car drivers killed in crashes in 2016 found more drivers had marijuana, opioids or other substances in their system than a decade ago, a report shows.

The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway-safety offices, found that 44% of drivers who died and were tested had positive results for drugs in 2016, up from 28% in 2006.

By contrast, the percentage of fatally injured drivers who were tested fell slightly. In 2016 37.9 percent of all drivers with known test results were alcohol-positive, compared with 41.0 percent a decade earlier.

Marijuana was the most commonly detected drug; 38 percent of those testing positive had marijuana in their system. Sixteen percent tested positive for opioids. Another 4 percent had marijuana and opioids. (The rest tested positive for other drugs.)

The report calls for a series of actions to combat driving while under the influence of opioids and alcohol, including:

  • Adding drug-impaired driving messages to impaired-driving campaigns.
  • Training patrol officers to spot impaired drivers and Drug Recognition Experts (remember there is no commonly accepted breath test for drugs other than alcohol).
  • Monitoring the development of marijuana breath test instruments.

Reminder: Highway Loss Data Institute research shows that states that legalized recreational marijuana sales see a significant increase in accident rates. And here at Triple-I we have presentations discussing the science of driving while high as well as the disconnect between what people know (don’t ride with a high driver) and what they do (too often they say they will).

Update: A webinar discussing the report will be held on June 5 at 1 p.m. EDT. Register at bit.ly/GHSA-DUIDwebinar.

From the I.I.I. Daily: Our most popular content, May 25 to May 31

Here are the 5 most clicked on articles from the I.I.I. Daily newsletter.

  1. Today’s Uncertain Economy: Implications for P/C Insurance (III Presentation)
  2. Root Insurance wants to do to auto coverage what Amazon has done to retail (Columbus Dispatch)
  3. Uber Self-Driving Car That Struck, Killed Pedestrian Wasn’t Set to Stop in an Emergency (Wall Street Journal)
  4. The Places in the U.S. Where Disaster Strikes Again and Again  (New York TImes)
  5. ‘No words to describe the devastation’ after Ellicott City flooding in Maryland (USA Today)

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

Fitch: P/C Insurers Financially Prepared for Hurricane Season

Via Business Insurance:

U.S. insurers are well prepared at the start of the 2018 hurricane season to withstand a significant catastrophe this year after suffering through last year’s volatile hurricane season, according to Fitch Ratings Inc.

Fitch cited a 7.5 percent increase in surplus last year, to a record $765 billion.

Surplus grew thanks to healthy investment gains, Fitch noted, which more than offset hurricane-driven underwriting losses. U.S. insurers ceded a significant portion of catastrophe losses to offshore reinsurers and alternative capital. And much of the flood loss in the Houston area from Hurricane Harveywere borne by the National Flood Insurance Program.

The heavy reinsurance losses did cause the bottoming out of rates in property and catastrophe reinsurance, Fitch indicated, but increases were “not to the degree that many market participants had anticipated.”

Updated 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook: Cooler Atlantic Temperatures Could Lead to Below-Average to Near-Average Hurricane Season

Special to the Triple-I Blog

by Philip Klotzbach,Ph.D,
Research Scientist, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University and I.I.I. Nonresident Scholar

Colorado State University (CSU) has just updated their outlook for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, and is now calling for a near-average season with a total of 14 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes (maximum sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater; Category 3-5 on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale) (Figure 1).  This prediction is a slight lowering from their initial outlook in early April which called for 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.  Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) and Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity are integrated metrics that take into account the frequency, intensity and duration of storms.

Figure 1: May 31, 2018 outlook for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season

CSU’s meteorological team uses a statistical model as one of its primary outlook tools.  This methodology applies historical oceanic and atmospheric data to find predictors that were effective in forecasting previous years’ hurricane activity. Based on data dating back to 1982, this model has shown consistent accuracy. (Figure 2)  Statistical forecast for 2018 is calling for a below-average season.

Figure 2: Accuracy of June statistical forecast model at predicting historical Atlantic hurricane activity (since 1982)

CSU also employs an analog approach, which uses historical data from past years with  conditions that are most similar to those currently observed (as of May 31, 2018).  The team also forecasts projected conditions during 2018 peak hurricane season (August-October) by looking at historical data from years with similar August-October conditions.

This approach yields a similar outlook of below-average to near-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Atlantic and near-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific.  The average of the four analog seasons calls for a near-average season. (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Analog predictors used in the May 31, 2018 seasonal forecast

CSU does not anticipate a significant El Niño event for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.  At this point, the meteorological team believes that the most likely outcome is neutral conditions for the next several months.  El Niños tend to reduce Atlantic hurricane activity through increases in upper-level winds that tear apart hurricanes as they are trying to develop.  Most of the dynamical and statistical model guidance agrees with this assessment and calls for neutral conditions for the next several months. (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Statistical and dynamical model guidance for El Niño

Most models are calling for neutral conditions for August-October, as highlighted by the black arrow. (Figure courtesy of International Research Institute for Climate and Society.)

The primary reason for a reduced seasonal forecast (compared with earlier 2018 outlook), is due to anomalous cooling of the tropical Atlantic over the past couple of months.  As shown in Figure 5. most of the Atlantic right now is quite a bit cooler than usual. In addition to providing less fuel for storms, a cooler tropical Atlantic is also associated with a more stable and drier atmosphere as well as higher pressure—all conditions that tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity.

Figure 5: Current SST anomalies in the North Atlantic.  SSTs are much cooler than normal across the entire tropical Atlantic

The most important thing to note with all seasonal forecasts is that they predict basinwide activity and not individual landfall events.  However, regardless of what the seasonal forecast says, it only takes one storm near you to make it an active season.  Therefore, coastal residents are urged to have a plan in place now before the hurricane season ramps up over the next couple of months.

Extra: If you live in a hurricane-prone region, your homeowners insurance policy may have a separate hurricane deductible. This infographic explains what you need to know.

The Ellicott City Flood: Rebuilding Begins with Resilience

By Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Insurance Information Institute

On May 27, for the second time in three years, Ellicott City, Maryland was ravaged by what meteorologists term a “1,000-year flood”—this while some businesses were still celebrating the one-year anniversary of their reopening after the August 2016 catastrophe.

As affected households and businesses assess the damage and pledge to rebuild (or to relocate) after this deadly event, one fact looms largest: that 1,000- or 100-year floods now seem to strike with numbing regularity. The time has come, then, for communities and individuals to accept this paradigm shift by embracing resilience.

Local, state and federal governments have a wide range of tools at their disposal to effectuate resilience, including public policy solutions and rebuilding/retooling critical infrastructure to withstand greater stresses. However, for business owners, homeowners, and renters, the most important step they can take is to close the “coverage gaps” that expose them to massive uninsured losses that can delay or prevent recovery. And for regulators and insurers, this creates an excellent opportunity for public/private solutions to meet this growing challenge head-on.

Insurtech deals reach a record in the first quarter of 2018

Insurtech deals reached $724 million in the first quarter of 2018, according to Willis Tower Watson. This is a record and a 155 percent increase from Q1 2017.

The number of transactions, at 66, also represents a record. Seven of those transactions rose to over $30 million in recent funding rounds.

There was only one developed market incumbent insurer participating in the fundraising while the remaining funding rounds were dominated by traditional VC money. Willis speculates that the stakes are becoming too high for insurers, especially if they are mostly investing in order to learn how to improve their existing processes.

Lloyd’s loosens its tie (rules)

Had a different post planned for today, but this article about Lloyd’s of London, from behind the Financial Times paywall is the perfect segue into the Memorial Day Weekend:

… over the past few months the insurance market has quietly started to relax its strict tie policy. While it has not yet formally repealed the rule, it is no longer enforcing it strictly.

A spokesperson for Lloyd’s said that the new policy was “in keeping with the norms of business dress in the City”.

One underwriter who works at Lloyd’s welcomed the move. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “If you had walked around without a tie 10 years ago it would have been the same as wearing a yellow mankini but this is part of general modernisation.”

… could do without the mankini reference, though.

From the I.I.I. Daily: Our most popular content, May 17 to May 24

Here are the 5 most clicked on articles from the I.I.I. Daily newsletter.

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

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