Activities that take drivers’ attention off the road, including talking or texting on mobile devices, eating, and talking with passengers, are a major safety threat.
During the pandemic, while overall driving decreased, unsafe behavior by drivers rose in an alarming way. Motor vehicle deaths were up 8 percent in 2020 from the prior year – the highest percentage increase in 13 years, according to the National Safety Council.
Perhaps unaware of the danger, one in four drivers thinks roads are safer today than they were before the pandemic, yet a growing number of people reported using their mobile devices in unsafe ways while driving, according to the 2021 Travelers Risk Index on distracted driving.
The study found increases in the following behaviors:
Texting or emailing (26 percent, up from 19 percent pre-pandemic).
Checking social media (20 percent, up from 13 percent pre-pandemic).
Taking videos and pictures (19 percent, up from 10 percent pre-pandemic).
Shopping online (17 percent, up from 8 percent pre-pandemic).
“Traffic volumes were lower during the early days of the pandemic, which may have given drivers a false sense of security,” said Chris Hayes, Second Vice President of Workers Compensation and Transportation, Risk Control, at Travelers. “Not only did distracted driving increase, data from our telematics product IntelliDrive shows that speeding also became more prevalent. As travel restrictions are lifted around the country, it’s critical to slow down and stay focused on the road by eliminating distractions.”
Travelers’ findings suggest that many people may be feeling increased pressure to always be available for their jobs. This year, 48 percent of business managers said they expect employees to respond frequently to work-related calls, texts or emails, compared to 43 percent pre-pandemic. One in four respondents said they answer work-related calls and texts while behind the wheel, citing the following reasons:
46 percent said they think it might be an emergency.
29 percent said their supervisor would be upset if they don’t answer.
22 percent said they are unable to mentally shut off from work.
Yet, a higher number of employers are concerned about liability from distracted driving. More than one-quarter (27 percent) indicated that they worry a great deal about their liability should an employee be involved in a crash because of distracted driving, up from 21 percent pre-pandemic.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Here are a few resources to help reduce preventable crashes and keep everyone safe on the road:
A U.S. citizen is reported to have been detained in Dubai for having smoked marijuana.
In Las Vegas.
Where it’s legal.
Peter Clark, 51, had been in Dubai for one day when he fell ill with pancreatitis and was rushed to the hospital, according to the Daily Mail. Nurses took a urine sample that showed traces of the drug. As required by Dubai law, they informed the police of the results.
Clark had last smoked marijuana days before flying from his home in Las Vegas on a business trip in the United Arab Emirates. Since being released from the hospital he has been required to stay in his hotel while awaiting a decision as to whether prosecutors will charge him.
“I was absolutely stunned to learn that I was being charged due to residual marijuana in my system,” he told the Mail. “I smoked it legally back in America long before I even got on the plane. I knew about Dubai’s strict drugs laws but never for one moment did I think something I legally did in my own country would lead to my arrest.”
Not the first time
This isn’t the first time a foreigner has been arrested in Dubai or elsewhere for legal behavior performed before arriving in the country where the same action is illegal. In 2019, U.K. citizen Laleh Shahravresh was arrested for insulting her ex-husband’s new wife in a Facebook comment, according to Detained in Dubai. Shahravresh reportedly had made the posts three years earlier when she was in London, but she and her teenage daughter were detained when they flew to the Dubai to attend a funeral.
Under the UAE’s cyber-crime laws, a person can be jailed or fined for making defamatory statements on social media. Her case eventually was settled with a fine.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of understanding the laws and culture of countries you intend to visit. In some countries, those swimsuit selfies you posted several years ago might be deemed pornographic. In others, anti-depressants, painkillers, and even over-the-counter cough syrups are banned or have specific rules around them that could cause you problems.
In Singapore, chewing gum is illegal, except for medical use.
Even harder to anticipate, that portable safe you carry your valuables in – cleverly disguised as an iced tea can – might be lined with plaster that could be mistaken by airport security for cocaine when some of it breaks and leaks out into your luggage.
That’s what happened to North Carolina businesswoman Amanda LaRoque on the island of Roatan, Honduras in 2017. LaRoque spent 10 days in a jail cell known as “the cage” – provided only with water and whatever food or other luxuries gracious locals might bring her – before being released.
No insurance coverage, but…
There is no insurance product that will pay your legal bills if you run afoul of the law in a foreign jurisdiction. However, some travel insurers engage “assistance companies” that will refer insurers’ clients to emergency legal service providers.
Richard Atkins, a principal and legal counsel for Philadelphia-based International Recoveries LLC, is one such provider. For more than 30 years, he has operated an international 24/7 legal hotline.
“We do it for the travel insurance industry, to make sure foreign travel is safer from a legal perspective,” Atkins said in an interview. “We also do it for insurers that cover expats and business travelers, as well as for study-abroad programs.”
Atkins typically works through retainers with assistance companies and sometimes directly with insurers or their in-house assistance providers. The service involves an initial consultation with a lawyer with international experience. Sometimes, Atkins said, the matter can be handled and solved just through that call. Other times that consultation also involves a conference or individual call with or selected network lawyer in the foreign county, and many times that solves the legal problem.
“Where the consultations don’t solve the problem, we make a referral to a colleague in the foreign country,” Atkins said. “That initial call is covered, so for all of this, there is no charge to the caller. In other cases, where the individual or family have no funds to expend for a lawyer, we help obtain the services of free counsel – either court appointed or the public defender.”
Navigating legal proceedings in foreign countries is as much a matter of understanding the culture as the law. A simple matter could easily be exacerbated by missteps in etiquette or failure to demonstrate sufficient remorse or deference. Atkins described a case in which a traveler was facing incarceration for having torn up a wad of the local currency – a serious offense in Thailand.
“We were able to show that the defendant had received psychological treatment as a child for behavior that included tearing up his parents’ money,” Atkins said. “When the judge understood the man’s psychological history, he dismissed the case.”
Penny wise, pound foolish
As I’ve written previously, too few international travelers buy travel insurance – and those who do tend to purchase trip cancellation/interruption coverage only, foregoing medical/medical evacuation coverage. A report by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) found that cancellation/interruption coverage accounted for nearly 90 percent of benefits purchased, while medical and medical evacuation benefits accounted for just over 6 percent.
Remember Peter Clark? The headlines about him focus on the cannabis angle, but his troubles began with an unexpected hospitalization. You’re just as likely to become ill or injured abroad as you are at home – maybe more so, due to lack of familiarity with terrain and customs and sensitivity to food and climate. Why would you venture forth without providing yourself with coverage analogous to what you have in your home country?
And while you’re less likely to be arrested than to get sick or injured, the consequences of legal trouble in a foreign country can be extreme. If you’re planning to travel abroad, buy the medical coverage and ask about emergency legal assistance.
Triple-I welcomes the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR) as an Associate Member.
ABIR CEO John Huff writes about the influx of investment that solidifies Bermuda’s role in the global re/insurance industry.
Much is made of the word “finish.” Finish strong, they say, in sports. A fight to the finish yields the strongest competitor. But there’s also a lot to be said for the word “start.” People often yearn for a “fresh start” or talk of “the start of something big.”
Bermuda’s startup insurers are proud of the moniker, but don’t be fooled by the name. Yes, they bring fresh capital and innovation, but they are led by industry veterans and backed by sophisticated investors eager to balance their portfolios with uncorrelated risks like natural catastrophes and social inflation.
Still, every startup is like a seed that needs the proper environment to thrive. It’s no accident that they choose Bermuda. It’s a place where these firms can grow, with an abundance of talent and an uncommon agility fostered by a regulatory system that has earned unparalleled recognition around the world.
Recently, the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers, or ABIR, welcomed three of these international startup companies as new members: Canopius Reinsurance, Conduit Reinsurance and Mosaic Insurance. Canopius Re Bermuda CEO Charles Craigs, Conduit Re CEO Trevor Carvey and Mosaic CEO Mitch Blaser have been named to the ABIR board of directors. The three new companies bring ABIR’s total membership to the largest in its 28-year history and they join well established ABIR members, who collectively do business in 150 countries – offering global, well-regulated re/insurance products, protection and peace of mind to consumers and businesses.
These startups, along with Bermuda’s legacy companies, are changing the face of insurance, providing the diversification and spread of risk that today’s world demands. Climate change and cyberrisk in particular pose new and evolving challenges, which these re/insurers are eminently qualified to tackle – with their superior analytics, underwriting and capital deployment strategies.
If you’re looking for proof that there’s something special happening here, just heed the saying, “Follow the money.” Private equity is redoubling its investment in Bermuda, pouring an estimated $19 billion to the island in the past year. Our industry is very strong and it is attracting international attention from investors who won’t shy away from, but in fact relish, the hardening, complex market and everything it brings.
On behalf of the Bermuda financial community, I want to extend a warm welcome to these companies. The hard market will be a marathon, and with their addition we’re off to a good start.
John M. Huff is President and CEO of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) and a former president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Insured losses from March storms in the United States are likely to surpass $1 billion, Aon said in its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap.
Aon said multiple outbreaks – featuring tornadoes, hail, snow, and flooding – were to blame. The most notable included severe weather across the Central and Southern United States, with 122 tornadoes touching down during the month – the most since 2017. Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee experienced the most damage.
This followed record-setting winter weather-related insured losses in February, following a prolonged Polar Vortex event, in which Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas were among the hardest-hit states.
“The Polar Vortex generated record-breaking cold temperatures which extended as far south as the U.S./Mexico border,” Aon said in its February report. “Concurrently, a series of low-pressure systems produced rounds of hazardous snow, sleet, freezing rain, ice, and severe thunderstorms with impacts spanning from Washington state to the Mid-Atlantic.”
Texas was hard hit by the winter weather, which left dozens dead, millions without power, and nearly 15 million with water issues and could wind up being the costliest disaster in state history. Disaster-modeling firm AIR Worldwide says insured losses “appear likely to exceed $10 billion.”
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has been widely criticized for failing to require power facilities to be winterized after the last major storm that caused outages in 2011, thus contributing to damage incurred during the more recent one. Last week, the Cincinnati Insurance Company, headquartered in Ohio, filed suit asking a federal court for a declaratory judgment that would allow the insurer to decline paying damages in bodily injury or property damage lawsuits where ERCOT is found to be liable.
If the federal court doesn’t grant the declaratory judgment, Cincinnati Insurance would likely have to cover ERCOT under its current policy contract.
In February and into March, multiple rounds of heavy rainfall and severe weather generated flooding across parts of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia were most affected.
“Impacts were compounded by localized severe weather, including large hail, straight-line winds, and isolated tornadoes,” Aon reported. “Total economic losses were estimated to approach USD 100 million.”
A large portion of the residential flood damage was expected to be uninsured due to low National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage.
The average homeowners insurance premium was $1,249 in 2018, up by 3.1 percent from the previous year, according to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In 2017 the average premium was up 1.6 percent.
To put this in context, the consumer price index, a measure of the price of goods and services in the United States, rose by 1.9 percent in 2018 and by 2.1 percent in 2017.
The average renters insurance premium fell 0.6 percent in 2018, marking the fourth consecutive annual decline.
It’s important to note that the average homeowners or renters premium is an imperfect measure of the relative “price” of insurance, according to the NAIC. That’s because the ultimate cost of your policy will depend on a wide variety of factors such as the differences in hazards, economic conditions, and real estate values from state to state.
Insurers determine homeowners insurance premiums based on the amount of coverage purchased (generally based on the value of the insured property), the type of property covered, the types of perils covered, and the specific limits and deductibles a policyholder chooses.
Click here for a state-by-state graphic of average homeowners insurance premiums.
The financial burden of homeownership insurance Americans generally don’t view the cost of homeowners insurance as a financial burden. Triple-I’s 2017 Consumer Insurance Survey found that only 31 percent of Americans consider homeowners insurance to be a financial burden. This is the lowest level in more than a decade and represents a significant drop from the 49 percent of people in 2009 who said the cost of homeowners insurance was a financial burden.
One reason homeowners insurance has not been considered a financial burden is that Americans’ income growth has consistently outpaced home insurance costs; however this trend may be temporarily interrupted by the pandemic-related recession of 2020. According to an analysis by Risk Information‘s Property Insurance Report (PIR), the trend was already apparent in 2018.
The PIR report suggests that the trend toward more affordable insurance appears to have continued in 2019, but acknowledges that in 2022, when the NAIC releases average homeowners premiums for 2019, the HURT Index may fall lower than 1.4 percent for the first time since 2010.
“Homeowners insurance customers are the single-most-valuable group of personal lines customers for P&C insurers,” said Robert M. Lajdziak, senior consultant of insurance intelligence at J.D. Power.
“They have a significantly higher bundling rate, 38 percent higher product penetration beyond home and auto, and their tenure is twice the length of a monoline auto customer. The potential ‘lifetime customer value’ of homeowners makes meeting their needs and motivations to renew a critical task for the industry.”
Large, established insurers and insurtech startups are expected to compete for customers’ premium dollars by delivering great service and converting renters insurance clients into homeowners insurance clients, according to J.D. Powers.
Millennial customers in particular are more likely to select their homeowners insurer based on good service experience and are much more likely than Boomers to use insurer-provided tools to inventory their possessions, thereby increasing the level of engagement with their insurer and creating additional opportunities to develop loyalty through good customer service.
Echoing J.D. Powers’ findings, a Deloitte survey found that respondents aged 18 to 34 with $50k to $100k+ annual income who have purchased a house in the past three years, referred to as the “gadget group,” are more likely to purchase a ‘connected and preventative’ home insurance service than any other type of policy.
Homeowners have also expressed a strong demand for parametric type home insurance products, according to Deloitte. This type of insurance pays claims of a pre-agreed amount automatically when an event falls within set parameters, such as a level of rainfall or speed of wind.
Pandemic-related lockdowns have led many people to bring new furry friends into their homes.
A survey from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), found that 21 percent of homeowners reported adopting a dog in 2020.
Despite the increase in the number of dogs in American homes, homeowners dog bite (and related injury), claims fell overall by 4.6 percent in 2020 from the previous year, to 16,990 from 17,800 nationally, according to Triple-I and State Farm analysis.
March had the most dog-related injury claims last year, when people first went into lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to State Farm. Dog bites were up 21.6 percent from the previous March, likely due to dogs dealing with owner stress, disruption in routines and more people around the house throughout the day. Experts fear another disruption—this time cause by the easing of restrictions for activities outside the home—could lead to another spike in bites.
Though the overall number of claims decreased, the total cost of claims increased by 7.1 percent to $853.7 million, up from $796.8 million in 2019. And the average cost per claim increased 12.3 percent to $50,245, up from $44,760 in 2019.
Dog bite related claims costs have been climbing for years. The average cost per claim nationally has risen 162 percent from 2003 to 2020, due to increased medical costs and the upward trend in the size of settlements, judgments, and jury awards.
Claims costs are attributable not only to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, and the elderly, which can result in costly injuries.
The latest Triple-I dog bite claim figures are released in conjunction with National Dog Bite Prevention Week, an event held each year to help reduce the number of dog bites.
Children are particularly at risk for dog bites and are more likely to be severely injured, so it’s essential for parents to teach their kids to be safe around strange dogs and their own pets.
Dog training is, of course, key to preventing dog bites and related injuries for everyone, and National Dog Bite Prevention Week’s organizers offer many practical tips. This year, dog experts are particularly focused on re-socializing animals that have been isolated along with their humans for the past year.
To provide more tips for pet owners, members of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition— which includes the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), State Farm, Insurance Information Institute (Triple I), American Humane and Victoria Stilwell Positively— will be hosting a Facebook Live event on Monday, April 12, at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Triple-I recommends that you check your homeowners or renters insurance policy to be sure it covers liability for dog bites and related injuries. Click here for more details about dog bite liability insurance.
Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers predict an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, citing the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team, led by Triple-I non-resident scholar Dr. Phil Klotzbach, predicts 17 named storms during the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
Of those, the researchers expect eight to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The 2021 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, follows a record-breaking 2020 season. The team expects the 2021 hurricane activity to be about 140 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2020’s hurricane activity was about 170 percent of the average season. The 2020 hurricane season had six landfalling continental US hurricanes, including Category 4 Hurricane Laura, which battered southwestern Louisiana.
So far, the 2021 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017. “All of our analog seasons had above-average Atlantic hurricane activity, with 1996 and 2017 being extremely active seasons,” said Klotzbach.
The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall:
• 69 percent for the entire U.S. coastline (average for the last century is 52 percent) • 45 percent for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula (average for the last century is 31 percent) • 44 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average for the last century is 30 percent) • 58 percent for the Caribbean (average for the last century is 42 percent)
As always, Dr. Klotzbach caution coastal residents to take proper precautions as “it only takes one storm near you to make it an active season.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last week unveiled details of Risk Rating 2.0 – its plan to modernize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to make it fairer and more sustainable.
The changes measuring flood danger differently – gauging properties’ specific risks and replacement costs, rather than simply whether they sit in a FEMA-designated “flood zone.” FEMA officials said this would end a system in which low-value homes effectively subsidize insurance for high-value homes.
Despite concerns that Risk Rating 2.0 would lead to huge premium increases, NFIP Senior Executive David Maurstad said 23 percent of policyholders will see “immediate decreases,” 66 percent will see an “average of zero to $10 a month” in additional premiums, and 11% will pay higher bills, some more than $20 a month.
NFIP owes the U.S. Treasury $20.5 billion after a series of hurricanes that resulted in claims costs greater than the premiums FEMA received.
“Our current system is just fundamentally not working for us anymore,” Maurstad said, adding that the new approach would result in a “more equitable, accurate and individualized NFIP.”
Lawmakers in coastal states like Florida worried about the sudden impact of higher rates – more accurately reflecting the greater flood risk in those areas – on their constituents. FEMA has ameliorated those concerns by making new rates apply only to new policies when the program takes effect in October 2021. Homeowners and businesses with existing flood policies won’t see a rate change until April 2022.
FEMA said high-value homes in high-risk areas would experience seeing the largest increases. FEMA expects their rate increases would take effect over a 10-15 year “glide path” as they continue to be protected by an 18 percent annual cap on premium increases that is written into law.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) quickly weighed in on the plan.
“The system we’ve used to calculate flood risk, and in turn insurance policy premiums, no longer holds water,” said Shana Udvardy, a UCS climate resilience analyst. “Outdated maps have left homeowners ill-prepared for possible disasters. Risk Rating 2.0 could go a long way in helping homeowners better understand their risk, ensuring they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and their property.”
“It is great to see that FEMA is moving forward with Risk Rating 2.0, which is so badly needed,” said Matthew Eby, executive director of the First Street Foundation, a climate and technology non-profit that has done its own extensive flood-mapping. A recent First Street analysis found the United States to be woefully underprepared for damaging floods.
It identified “around 1.7 times the number of properties as having substantial risk,” compared with FEMA’s flood zone designation. “This equates to a total of 14.6 million properties across the country at substantial risk, of which 5.9 million property owners are currently unaware of or underestimating the risk they face.”
What’s in a name? If you live in “Tornado Alley,” there might be a lot – or less than you might imagine.
The designation refers to a stretch of geography running from Texas and Oklahoma through Nebraska and Kansas (think Dorothy and Toto, their house wrenched from the parched, flat earth and spinning toward Oz). It first came into use almost 70 years ago, when two atmospheric scientists used it as the title for a research project on tornadoes.
But, as the Washington Postrecently reported, some experts believe the name is misleading and should be retired.
“To be honest, I hate the term,” said Stephen Strader, an atmospheric scientist at Villanova University specializing in severe weather risk mitigation. “What people need to understand is that if you live east of the continental divide, tornadoes can affect you.”
Research has shown tornadoes are just as common in the Deep South as they are on the Plains, and there is no real drop in tornadoes as one exits Tornado Alley to the east.
“Tornadoes on the Plains are often elegant and foreboding,” the Post says, “some reliably appearing as high-contrast funnels that pose over vacant farmland for hordes of storm chasers and photographers. The Plains are like a giant meteorological classroom, an open laboratory; its students flock to it every year.”
Which explains why tornadoes we see on TV have that “classic” funnel look – and what we are shown most often comes to be thought of as most “typical.”
In the Deep South, most tornadoes are, as the Post puts it, “rain-wrapped and shrouded in low clouds, impossible to see.” More than a third of all tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi occur at night, making them twice as likely to be deadly.
But, because they don’t match the popular perception of what a tornado is like and are hard to capture, they seldom appear on TV.
Why does it matter?
Because how we name things influences how we think about them, and how we think about them influences policymaking and individual behavior.
As we reported last year, tornado reports are on the rise – but is that because of changes in weather and climate? Or improved reporting related to technology and the growing popularity of “storm chasing”? Damage from tornadoes and other types of natural disasters is becoming more costly – is that because storms are becoming more frequent and severe? Or because more people are moving into disaster-prone areas?
If you’re not located in Tornado Alley, does it make sense to invest in mitigating tornado-related risks? Probably as much as it does to have flood insurance, even if you’re not in a FEMA-designated flood zone, or anticipate and prepare for winter storms in Texas.
By Loretta Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I
When mega containership Ever Given wedged herself across a one-way section of the Suez Canal during a sandstorm last month, it brought 10 percent of global trade to a halt for a week. The ship – owned by Taiwanese container transportation and shipping company Evergreen Marine Corp. – was finally refloated and traffic in the canal was able to resume.
A Risk & Insurance cover story, published by Triple-I sister organization Risk & Insurance Group (RIG), describes how – in the context of a trend toward larger container vessels and a global supply chain already disrupted by COVID-19 – this incident should serve as a wake-up call for insurers.
Looking at the Ever Given grounding and disruption of canal traffic from a marine insurance perspective, RIG author Gregory DL Morris highlights the impact on cargo insurance claims and the potential for cargo spoilage. He also discusses compromised maneuverability of these massive vessels in high winds and references an increasing number of on-board fires, challenges surrounding salvage, and lack of suitable repair facilities, noting, “Underwriters need to be aware of this.”
Despite the likelihood that immediate property loss in this case will be minimal, megaships pose serious challenges to marine insurance and risk management. According to MDS Transmodal, a transport and logistics research firm, average vessels capacity grew 25 percent between 2014 and 2018, with ultra-large containerships accounting for 31 percent of the total capacity deployed in the second quarter of 2018. Transmodal attributes this trend to industry consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, as well as growing trade lane co-operation through alliances, slot sharing, and vessel-sharing agreements.
Even as traffic through the canal resumes, terminals will experience congestion. In addition, the severe drop in vessel arrival and container discharge in major terminals will aggravate existing shortages of empty containers available for exports. Delays in shipments, increased costs, and product shortages are therefore likely.
“The fact is that an already heavily disrupted maritime supply chain has taken another hit that will further affect its fluidity, with long-term consequences related to congestions, lead times and predictability,” said Jens Roemer, chair of the Sea Transport Working Group of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders.
While traffic through the canal is now moving, the global supply chain’s vulnerabilities may only now be beginning to become clear.
“Whether a blizzard in Texas or a sandstorm in Egypt,” Morris writes, “the narrow focus on minimal inventories that rely upon just-in-time delivery leaves little allowance for weather or accident.”