Q&A with Emily Viner, Guardian Life Insurance

By Kris Maccini, Social Media Director, Triple-I

Triple-I has created an “Insurance Careers Corner” series to highlight trailblazers in insurance and to spread awareness of the career opportunities within the industry.

This month we interviewed Emily Viner at Guardian Life Insurance, who provided us with insights about her career trajectory, how she’s working to build a more inclusive workplace, and her advocacy work helping more women reach management roles at agencies.

Name: Emily Viner

Current Role: VP of Agency Growth & Development

Years at Guardian Life Insurance: 22


Tell us about your current role at Guardian Life. What does a typical day look like for you in this role?

As VP of Agency Growth & Development, I make sure that we hire enough of the right people to serve our communities and that our leadership bench is growing. We’re committed to growing future leaders from within the company.

In a typical day, I act as a bridge between what our field needs–our general agents who own and operate their businesses as partners of the Guardian networkand the home office. A typical day depends on what’s going on in the community. In the last three weeks that’s changed dramatically in what we need to provide to our partners.

As VP of Agency Growth & Development, what is top of mind for you?

Top of mind for me is making sure that we have the capacity to hire enough of the right people, and we’re equipped to hire people from diverse backgrounds–creating workplaces that are inclusive where people feel that they want to be part of that environment.

One of my colleagues years ago called it the greenhouse. Is the greenhouse set to make sure that someone can grow and thrive, and if not, then you’ve got to fix that first.

You began your career as a financial advisor before moving on to the corporate side of the business. What advice would you give to women looking to make a shift in their careers?

I remember that first year was so hard. As an advisor, I was in complete control and in a different environment I didn’t always have that. I would tell all women to say ‘yes’ when you don’t know how. That’s a scary thing, but once you do it, you realize ‘I made it and I’m fine.’

It’s also trusting that you’re competent and that you’ll figure it out.

I read an article years ago that stated women spend a lot of time being competent but not confident. That’s why saying yes when you don’t know how is so important. If you’re taking on a project where you only know 20%–if you fall, you’ll learn, and you’ll move on–that’s how you build confidence.

How did you get that confidence to follow through knowing that you had that skillset?

I spoke at an industry meeting years ago, and during that time, two companies had asked me to join them. At the time my children were young [three and four], and the companies weren’t being flexible. One of the companies offered the idea of me consulting three days a week to help with recruiting and building field leaders, so I just jumped in to do what was best for my family and my children.

I did that for two years before joining Guardian Life. In looking back–the two years I spent consulting–the knowledge that I gained helped me accelerate in the role once I arrived at Guardian. It’s having faith in your ability and what works for the current situation and what you’re looking to build. The perspective of having patience is important. It’s knowing that maybe this is the time that you need to learn something more or different for that next role.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, what are some ways that Guardian Life addresses topics such as equal pay, leadership opportunities, and inclusion efforts? 

We have an amazing executive leadership team that leads by example [CEO Deanna Mulligan and President, Andrew McMahon]. They live our values every day through their actions. We hold ourselves to very high standards, we seek to do the right thing and people count. That transcends to equal pay, equal opportunities, and all our inclusion efforts around hiring to ensure that there’s a diverse pool of candidates for open positions as well as opportunities for internal moves. I’ve seen inclusion programs really accelerate over the last ten years.

We’re living in an uncertain time. Your CEO Deanna Mulligan and President Andrew McMahon have made a public commitment to minimizing business interruptions during COVID-19 and maintain response during the crisis. How has this type of leadership impacted your role directly, and how is it impacting the company overall?

My team feels proud of the communication. There was a work-from-home strategy starting March 10th. The safety of our employees is a priority, as is client communication and services. We were built for this. We got through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. We got through the great recession. We payed our obligations and still paid the dividends. We’re in the same position to be able to do that today–not just for our employees but for all our clients and consumers across the country.

Our clients are in good hands. We updated our website and communications to clients to let them know they can update their policies and get answers to questions through all our digital platforms. We’ve also provided our field partners with information they can share with their clients on market volatility and what they can do to help calm their fears. With the stock market volatility, the cash value in life insurance is not going to change, [it’s not subject to the same volatility] so there is also reassurance with those decisions.

What are your goals for the future in terms of where you want to take your career?

I’m thinking about how I’m positioning the firm for the future and building up our bench– ultimately grooming my successor. I’d also like to continue to help young women in male dominated industries. I’ve been working towards this for the past 30 years, but there is so much more to do whether it’s in my company or philanthropic/volunteer. It’s important to me to continue this work.

Battle Plays Out
Over Coronavirus
and Business Insurance

The Financial Times reports that U.S. lawmakers and lawyers are considering efforts to force insurance companies to pay claims related to the coronavirus pandemic. Congress also is debating the need for legislation to require insurers to cover costs from business interruption caused by the pandemic. U.S. insurers contend that their business interruption policies exclude coverage for pandemics and that making such coverage retroactive would cause the industry to collapse. Joseph Wayland, general counsel for the U.S. insurer Chubb, said the losses would overwhelm insurers’ ability to pay and that forcing these companies to take responsibility for risks they never underwrote nor charged for represented an existential threat. Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chair of Lloyd’s of London, agreed that such a revision to insurance contracts would jeopardize the industry.

A Wall Street Journal editorial argues that forcing costs of the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic upon insurers would cause long-term economic damage unless a federal backstop is put in place. The editorial says if business interruption insurance “can be stretched and exclusions nullified during a crisis” insurers will conclude that such coverage is not worth the risk and will drop the product.

Triple-I: Insurers are engaged in COVID-19 crisis

A Triple-I Fact Sheet, Insurers Are Engaged In the COVID-19 Crisis, outlines how the industry’s financial stability allows insurers to keep the promises made to policyholders in the event of tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires. It also notes how insurers are contributing to COVID-19 related charities, such as food banks and medical supplies.

“Pandemics are an extraordinary catastrophe that can impact nearly every economy in the world, so it is hard to predict and manage the risk,” said Sean Kevelighan, Triple-I CEO. “Pandemic-caused losses are excluded from standard business interruption policies because they impact all businesses, all at the same time.”


APCIA on how insurers are helping customers

David A. Sampson, president and CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), described in a statement how property/casualty insurers are working “to proactively help consumers in this time of crisis.”

Examples include temporary arrangements for:

  • Flexible payment solutions for families, individuals, and businesses;
  • Suspending premium billing for small-business insureds, such as restaurants and bars;
  • Waiving premium late fees;
  • Pausing cancellation of coverage for personal and commercial lines due to non-payment and policy expiration;
  • Wage replacement benefits for first responders and medical personnel who are quarantined;
  • Suspending personal auto exclusions for restaurant employees who are transitioning to meal delivery services using their personal auto policy as coverage;
  • Adding more online account and claims services for policyholders;
  • Shifting more resources to anti-fraud and cyber security units, in recognition that bad actors  prey on victims during times of crisis; and
  • Suspending in-person loss control visits and inspections.

On the subject of exclusions for contagious diseases in business interruption policies, the statement said:

 “If policymakers force insurers to pay for losses that are not covered under existing insurance policies, the stability of the sector could be impacted, and that could affect the ability of consumers to address everyday risks that are covered by the property casualty industry.”

It went on to say:

 “APCIA’s preliminary estimate is that business continuity losses just for small businesses with 100 or fewer employees could fall between $220-383 billion per month. The total surplus for all of the U.S. home, auto, and business insurers combined to pay all future losses is roughly only $800 billion, with the combined capital of the top business insurance underwriters representing only a fraction of that amount.”

Related articles:

New York introduces bill on pandemic-related business interruption claims

Policyholders finding out that business interruption insurance doesn’t cover coronavirus

P/C Insurers Put a Price Tag on Uncovered Coronavirus Business Interruption Losses

More coronavirus insurance cover than people think, says Lloyd’s CEO

Standard insurance for Florida businesses likely won’t cover COVID-19 losses

French Laundry restaurateur Thomas Keller sues insurer for coronavirus losses



Momentum for pandemic backstop?

Business Insurance reports that, according to sources inside the federal government, progress is being made on legislation that would provide a federal backstop for pandemic risk insurance and that a related bill could be introduced within the next 30 days. According to the sources, the bill would set up a pandemic risk insurance program that would be similar to the federal terrorism insurance program. They also report that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, is circulating a draft bill including the proposal.

Related articles:

Pandemic Risk Insurance Act – A TRIA-Inspired Model to Backstop the Business Interruption Insurance Market in Wake of COVID-19

As Business Losses Mount, Pandemic Backstop Discussions Grow

Linda Goldstein: Making A Difference to Help Policyholders

Loretta Worters, Triple-I’s Vice President of Media Relations, contributed this installment of our Women’s History Month series.

When Linda Goldstein joined CSAA Insurance Group in 2013, it was very different from the typical male-controlled companies. What drew her to the insurer was Paula Downey, the first female president and CEO in the organization’s then 100-year history. 

Goldstein, who is the executive vice president of customer experience and marketing for CSAA Insurance Group, noted that when she came on board she was impressed with the number of women in leadership positions.

Linda Goldstein

“It provided a slightly different perspective than a public company led by mostly men,” she said. 

Part of that different perspective was how women were compensated in the organization.  “I’m proud to say the gender pay gap is not an issue at our organization. I hope more companies do an extensive pay equity analysis, the same way we did here, so they can finally close the pay gap,” she said.

Progressive companies like CSAA Insurance Group engage in pay equity analysis to ensure equal pay between employees in similar roles. The objective is to determine that pay inequities are justified by compensable factors, like location and tenure, and not by unjustified factors, like gender or race and it has been a success at the firm.

Goldstein acknowledged that women have been underrepresented in certain areas of the insurance industry.  “There are different functions where you tend to see more men versus women, particularly in leadership roles,” she said, adding, “the insurance industry needs to do a better job of making sure woman are aware of the great opportunities across all of the functions. There is a plethora of jobs out there including innovation, actuary, underwriting, service, claims and marketing.  But the insurance industry needs to promote those opportunities and support women who seek them out,” she said.

As people retire, Goldstein hopes more women will be offered these roles. “Not just from a diversity perspective,” she said, “but from the ability to bring diversity of thought and focus to the business to drive profitable and sustainable growth.”

When asked what she liked best about the insurance industry, Goldstein smiled broadly, “It’s the fact that I know I’m doing something that helps people.  It helps them either be prepared and protect what’s most important to them or to be able to recover from a situation,” she said.  “Being in California and having seen the devastation of the wildfires over the past several years and understanding the stories of our policyholders who have lost everything,” she paused.  “It really does make a difference.”

Click here to read the other stories in our Women’s History Month series.

Triple-I launches coronavirus issues and impacts webpage

The spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 – and how governments, businesses, and individuals are dealing with it – raises many issues relevant to property/casualty insurers and their customers.

Triple-I has launched a webpage to help readers find what they need from the information we gather and curate. The issues we track range from operational challenges posed by the virus to likely impacts on claims and losses to the possible introduction of legislative and regulatory solutions that might affect insurance underwriting and pricing.

We discuss these multi-faceted issues and impacts from our position as a trusted source of unique, data-driven insights on insurance. The page will have links to Triple-I reports and presentations on the topic, and links to many of our blog posts grouped by the following categories:

To visit our coronavirus issues and impacts page click here. For all posts related to COVID-19 click here.

Keeping on Top
of Coronavirus
Information Overload

As quickly as the coronavirus is spreading, so is the amount of published information available to help insurers and their customers navigate this confusing environment. But separating information from misinformation and the truly useful from the merely “nice to know” can be a challenge.

As a service to our readers, Triple-I Blog is aggregating and sharing some of these resources. We’re gathering links and descriptions into blog posts like this one and have established a page on our website – COVID-19: Issues and Impacts – that categorizes the posts and makes them easier to find.


Brian Fannin, a research actuary at the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), published a paper called COVID-19: A Property/Casualty Perspective to “start the conversation about what happens next.”

The paper addresses, among others, the following questions:

  • To what extent, if any, was P/C risk underpriced?
  • Given the dramatic cessation of economic activity, what lines may have been overpriced? Was such a scenario foreseeable?
  • How will ratemaking models respond to the changes in coverage wording that will undoubtedly appear in the future?
  • How can actuaries assist in the development of viable coverages to meet new demand in the market?
  • Do actuaries have any advice about communication of risk and how best to mitigate it?

The National Council on Compensation Insurers (NCCI) has published an article COVID-19 and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know to share its answers to questions NCCI has received regarding COVID-19 and the impact it may have on the workers comp industry.

As part of its effort to provide information on workers comp legislative activity, NCCI also monitors workers compensation-related bills in all jurisdictions and the federal government. You can follow such activity here.


On the non-P/C side, The New York Times published Coronavirus May Add Billions to the Nation’s Health Care Bill, which warns that health insurance premiums could rise as much as 40 percent next year as employers and insurers confront the additional costs associated with the pandemic.

The Times cites an analysis by Covered California that finds:

  • One-year projected costs in the national commercial market range from $34 billion to $251 billion for testing, treatment, and care specifically related to COVID-19;
  • Potential COVID-19 costs for 2020 could range from about 2 percent of premium to over 21 percent if the full first-year costs of the epidemic had been priced into the premium;
  • Health insurers are setting rates for 2021. If they must recoup 2020 costs, price for the same level of costs next year, and protect their solvency, 2021 premium increases to individuals and employers from COVID-19 alone could range from 4 percent to more than 40 percent.

Two recently published pieces provide historical comparisons of COVID-19 with the 1918 global flu pandemic:

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has published Pandemics Depress the Economy, Public Health Interventions Do Not: Evidence from the 1918 Flu, which looks at the long-term economic impact of the 1918 “Spanish Flu.” It finds that, while the decreased economic activity caused by the pandemic outlasted it by years, some societies took steps that softened the economic impact and lessened the death toll.

National Geographic has published How Some Cities Flattened the Curve During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which shows how social distancing saved thousands of American lives during the last great pandemic. The piece includes some great data visualizations depicting how the flu played out from city to city.


Consulting firm PwC has published COVID-19: What Business Leaders Should Know that provides advice on six key areas businesses should be focusing on:

  • Crisis management and response
  • Workforce
  • Operations and supply chain
  • Finance and liquidity
  • Tax and trade
  • Strategy and brand

All of these areas are relevant to risk management and insurance.


Stay tuned – we’ll be continuing our reporting on and curation of COVID-19-specific information as long as the need for it continues.

Insurers Are “Financial
First Responders”
in COVID-19 Crisis

U.S. insurers are covering employees and employers facing exposure to COVID-19 while easing the financial burdens of their customers and communities during an extraordinary time in the nation’s history, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

“These are challenging times for insurance customers, and the industry is doing all it can to be a financial first responder. Workers compensation insurers are providing coverage to health care workers and first responders in multiple states,” said Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan. “Business insurers are protecting financially the restaurants who now offer take-out and delivery services. Beyond that, insurers are extending coverage and payment relief to customers who are struggling financially.”

A Triple-I Fact Sheet, Insurers Are Engaged In the COVID-19 Crisis, outlines how the industry’s financial stability allows insurers to keep the promises made to policyholders in the event of tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires. The Fact Sheet also notes how insurers are contributing to COVID-19 related charities, such as food banks and medical supplies.

“Pandemics are an extraordinary catastrophe that can impact nearly every economy in the world, so it is hard to predict and manage the risk,” Kevelighan said. “Pandemic-caused losses are excluded from standard business interruption policies because they impact all businesses, all at the same time.”

Moreover, the exclusion for pandemic-caused losses has been incorporated into standard business interruption policies for years.

A standard business interruption policy typically covers a business when it incurs direct physical damage due to a covered loss, such as a windstorm or a fire. Covered business interruption policy losses—even from a hurricane or a terrorist attack—impact only a portion of the U.S. rather than the entire nation. 


RELATED LINKS:

Triple-I Presentation: The Impact of COVID-19 On P/C Insurance
Triple-I Publication: A Firm Foundation: How Insurance Supports the Economy


Triple-I Blog:

 COVID-19: Learning From History

COVID-19: A Teachable Moment for Thinking About Risk
 


The Triple-I has a full library of educational videos on its YouTube Channel. Information about Triple-I mobile apps can be found here.

Will COVID-19 Foul Up
Our Weather Forecasts?

Airlines have had to dramatically cut flight schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic, and some experts believe this has begun to hurt weather forecasting.

What?!

It turns out that forecasting models depend heavily on data collected by aircraft. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) said this week that the number of aircraft reports received worldwide declined 42 percent from March 1 to 23. In less than a month, the number of aircraft reports over Europe received and used by the ECMWF fell 65 percent.


Weather forecasting models depend heavily on data collected by aircraft. 

A 2017  American Meteorological Society study found that using aircraft observations reduced six-hour forecast errors in wind, humidity, and temperature by 15 percent to 30 percent across the United States.

This is no small matter. The more accurately experts can predict impending weather, the better prepared individuals, communities, and businesses can be. Less accurate forecasts can lead to a lack of preparation and bad weather-related decisions.  From an insurance perspective, this can result in larger claims and losses.

So, late last night, worried about yet another negative implication of coronavirus, I fired off an e-mail to Triple-I non-resident scholar Phil Klotzbach. Dr. Klotzbach is a research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He has published over two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals and is quoted regularly by the Weather Channel, Forbes, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. He and his team also publish an annual forecast for the Atlantic hurricane season.

True to form – and thanks, in part, to the two-hour time difference – he responded almost immediately:

 “I don't think it's going to be a huge reduction in model skill, but the ECMWF estimates that removal of all aircraft can reduce prediction ability at upper levels in the atmosphere (~30000 feet) by around 10-15% for 12-hour predictions.  Subtracting aircraft-provided information from historical model forecasts increased errors by about 3% for surface pressure. The lack of aircraft data has a greater impact on shorter-term forecasts (e.g., <1 day) than it does on longer-term forecasts (e.g., 5-7 days), although some degradation of the forecasts continues even at longer-range timescales. 

Of course, some aircraft will still be flying, and some of the loss may be mitigated by other data sources, such as additional launches of weather balloons.”

In other words, the reduction in aircraft data is likely to degrade accuracy of same-day and longer-term forecasts a bit, and some of that degradation will likely be offset by other data resources the forecasting community brings to bear.

Amid everything we need to be concerned about while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, the reliability of weather forecasting isn’t yet at the top of the list.

States’ COVID-19 Experiences Vary
as Testing Takes Hold

Coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 55,000 on Wednesday, while the death toll has climbed past 800, with 354 recoveries, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly half of those cases are in New York, which had reported more than 260 deaths as of Wednesday.

All numbers are moving targets in this fast-changing situation, both because of the rate of spread and state-by-state differences in testing.

Coronavirus update: Global cases hit 451,355 with 20,499 deaths, and New York rate of infection is accelerating  
Apple and Facebook donate face masks stockpiled for their own workers during years of wildfires in California
MarketWatch.com
Published: March 25, 2020 at 3:05 p.m. ET

Louisiana reportedly has the third-highest case load of coronavirus in the United States on a per capita basis – after New York and Washington – and the fastest growth, according to a University of Louisiana at Lafayette analysis of global data.

New Orleans emerges as next coronavirus epicenter,threatening rest of South
March 25 (Reuters) - New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the United States, dimming hopes that less densely populated and warmer-climate cities would escape the worst of the pandemic, and that summer months could see it wane.

New Orleans is a center of coronavirus. Mardi Gras could be to blame, doctors say.
NBC News
March 24, 2020, 5:11 PM EDT

Some health experts say it’s no surprise New Orleans would be hard hit after over a million people flocked to the city to celebrate Carnival for more than a month, culminating in Mardi Gras at the end of February.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested a Major Disaster Declaration for the state, where at least 46 people have died.

“It is still impossible to know exactly how long the COVID-19 pandemic will impact Louisiana,” the governor said, “but what we do know is that we have more cases per capita than every state, except for New York and Washington.” On Sunday, he issued a stay-at-home order to slow the rapid rise.

While some parishes appear to be unaffected, Edwards said testing just hadn’t caught up. “We shouldn’t delude ourselves. It’s in every single parish,” he said.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said New York’s order for people to stay home to curb the spread of the new coronavirus led some people to leave — and come to Florida. At a news conference, the governor said he’d spoken with President Trump about doing something about airline flights ferrying New Yorkers to Florida.

Airlines could completely shut down flights in the US as the coronavirus rages on
Business Insider
Mar 24, 2020, 11:50 AM

Nearly 80 airlines cut capacity by 100 percent over coronavirus
TheHill.com -
March 24, 2020 02:09 PM EDT

COVID-19 diagnoses continue to be made in Washington state every day, the Seattle Times reported — an indication of both the virus’ spread and of expanded testing capacity. The state Department of Health announced 248 newly confirmed cases Tuesday, bringing the state total to 2,469 cases, including 123 deaths. The bulk of Washington’s cases remain in King County, which has seen 1,277 people fall ill and 94 die.

Possibility of “ventilator triage”

Faced with more critically ill COVID-19 patients than equipment to treat them, hundreds of hospitals are mapping out how they can ration care and equipment in order to save the greatest number of patients possible.

Guidelines were provided this week to scores of hospitals around the country that include a point system that could – in extreme cases – end up determining what patients live or die.

“Priority is assigned to those most likely to be saved, and most likely to live longer,” said Dr. Scott Halpern, professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hospital Capacity Crosses Tipping Point in U.S. Coronavirus Hot Spots
Epicenters resort to patient transfers and a makeshift morgue to cope as coronavirus infections mount

The Wall Street Journal
Updated March 26, 2020 10:15 am ET

Potential employer liabilities

Decisions made in the fluid pandemic crisis could lead to liability issues in the future. Marsh & McLennan has advised employers that even well-intended actions can lead to liability claims. In particular, it advises them to keep in mind:

  • Employees who refuse to work due to a belief that their health could be in immediate danger could be considered to be engaged in protected activity under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Employers should avoid subjecting those employees to adverse action.
  • A group of employees who refuse to work because of concerns about the virus could also be considered protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Disciplinary action or termination of these employees could thus lead to an unfair labor practice claim.
  • There are no federal requirements that nonexempt (hourly) employees be paid for time not working — for example, while under an employer-mandated quarantine — nor is there a federal paid leave of absence law. But employers must be cognizant of the myriad state and local laws that bear on these issues. 

Health insurer costs and profit pressure

Managed care companies in the U.S. are likely to see elevated cost trends and more significant pressure on their profits the longer the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to S&P Global Ratings.

S&P said in a report that the impact will depend on how far and how quickly the coronavirus spreads, as well as how many hospitalizations it causes.

“If the outbreak is mild both in terms of the infection rate as well as morbidity, the impact will be limited,” the report reads. “However, an increased spread of the virus and higher morbidity from COVID-19 could result in higher-than-expected cost trends for insurers. The claims trend will be especially affected if more patients are treated in inpatient facilities compared to lower-cost outpatient settings.”

Helping the community get through a tough time

Tough times bring out the best in many people, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.

Citizens around the world are donating to crisis response organizations, sewing masks and gowns for medical workers, delivering groceries to homebound neighbors and boarding shelter animals.

Corporations also are rising to the occasion. MetLife (a Triple-I member company) is providing parking lots at its St. Louis office location for the local hospital, Mercy South to use for coronavirus drive-through testing.

And the MetLife Foundation has committed to donating $1 million to food banks across the U.S. to help them deal with increased demand for their services as a result of coronavirus.

Food banks face the challenge of getting shelf-stable food into people’s homes as quickly as possible, especially now that vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, have been advised to practice social distancing. In addition, food banks face greater need from families with children who no longer have access to meals at schools.

MetLife Foundation will donate funds to food banks in communities where MetLife, Inc. has a significant presence, such as the greater New York City area, Cary, N.C., Tampa, Fla., and Warwick, R.I.

“We want to help those impacted by coronavirus,” said Mike Zarcone, head of Corporate Affairs for MetLife and Chairman of MetLife Foundation. “That includes the communities where we work and live. We know that children out of school and seniors face food insecurity as a result of COVID-19, and we are committed to help.”

Prudential also is helping. Over the weekend, the Newark, N.J.-based insurer donated more than 150,000 protective face masks and respirators to the state.

The gift will benefit health workers, some of whom have complained about having to reuse surgical masks amid an increasing shortage of supplies.

“A least one New Jersey hospital” NJ.com reported, “is now down to a four-day supply of gowns and surgical masks.”

The masks and respirators, expected to provide a two-week respite for hospitals, were in storage at the company’s Newark headquarters. They had been stockpiled after the 9/11 terror attacks as part of the company’s emergency preparedness efforts.

If your company is helping those affected by the pandemic, email me at marias@iii.org and tell me about it.

Triple-I CEO: Insurers can meet their obligations during crisis

America’s auto, home, and commercial insurers have the financial resources to meet their obligations during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a presentation the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) delivered to state regulators.

“This year marks Triple-I’s 60th anniversary, and we are proud to be able to report before this forum that today that the property/casualty insurance industry is well-positioned to honor the promises it has made based on strong fundamentals, which include long-term risk management and an actuarially sound approach to underwriting,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I, in remarks to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). 

“It is important to appreciate that as much as this is a catastrophe of historic magnitude, there are more on the horizon — hurricanes, wildfires, floods —  and we must remain prepared in the way that we have long-planned, so again, we can continue act as the financial first responder that we have been for several centuries,” Kevelighan stated.

Kevelighan and Triple-I senior economist Michel Leonard highlighted a few keys to the financial strength of the nation’s P/C insurers as a group, including its:

  • Policyholders’ surplus: U.S. P/C insurers’ cumulative assets exceeded its liabilities by more than $800 billion as of year-end 2019.
  • Diverse investment portfolios: Nearly 80 percent of P/C insurers’ portfolio exposure is to non-stock assets, such as high-quality corporate and municipal bonds.
  • Reinsurance: U.S. P/C insurers’ ability to access global reinsurance markets allow them to spread U.S. financial risks worldwide.

In an analysis of the current U.S. P/C insurance markets, Dr. Leonard told the NAIC’s special session on COVID-19 that workers’ compensation insurers providing coverage to hospitals, first responders and law enforcement faced the highest exposure to COVID-19 related claims. Liability and directors and officers (D&O) insurers who cover health care, transportation, retail and pharmaceutical businesses have moderate exposure, Dr. Leonard added.

A copy of the presentation is on the Triple-I website.

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