The Louisiana property insurance market has been deteriorating since the state was hit by a record level of hurricane activity during the 2020/2021 seasons, Triple-I says in a new Issues Brief on the state’s insurance crisis. Twelve insurers that write homeowners coverage in Louisiana were declared insolvent between July 2021 and February 2023.
“While similarities exist between the situations in these two hurricane-prone states, the underlying causes of their insurance woes are different in important ways,” said Mark Friedlander, Triple-I’s director of corporate communications. “Florida’s problems are largely rooted in decades of litigation abuse and fraud, whereas Louisiana’s troubles have had more to do with insurers being undercapitalized and not having enough reinsurance to withstand the claims incurred during the record-setting hurricane seasons of 2020 and 2021.”
Insurers have paid out more than $23 billion in insured losses from over 800,000 claims filed from the two years of heavy hurricane activity. The largest property loss events were Hurricane Laura (2020) and Hurricane Ida (2021). The growing volume of losses also drove a dozen insurers to voluntarily withdraw from the market and more than 50 to stop writing new business in hurricane-prone parishes.
This is not to say legal system abuse is absent as a factor in the Louisiana’s crisis – quite the opposite, as highlighted by Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon’s cease-and-desist order, issued in February, against a Houston-based law firm. According to Donelon, the firm filed more than 1,500 hurricane claim lawsuits in Louisiana over the span of three months last year.
“The size and scope of McClenny, Moseley & Associates’ illegal insurance scheme is like nothing I’ve seen before,” Donelon said. “It’s rare for the department to issue regulatory actions against entities we don’t regulate, but in this case, the order is necessary to protect policyholders from the firm’s fraudulent insurance activity.”
McClenny Moseley has since been suspended from practice in Louisiana’s Western District federal court over its work on Hurricane Laura insurance cases.
A regular on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s “Judicial Hellholes” list, Louisiana’s “onerous bad faith laws contribute significantly to inflated claims payments and awards,” according to a joint paper published by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA), and the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR).
“Insurers who fail to pay claims or make a written offer to settle within 30 days of proof of loss may face penalties of up to 50 percent of the amount due, even for purely technical violations,” the paper notes. “To avoid incurring these massive penalties, which are meted out pursuant to highly subjective standards of conduct, insurers sometimes feel compelled to pay more than the actual value of claims as the lesser of two evils.”
As a result of these converging contributors, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. – the state-run insurer of last resort – has grown from 35,000 to 128,000 policyholders over the past two years, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
A maturing Internet of Things (IoT) calls for measures to increase cybersecurity at the national, international, and private sector levels, according to a recent report by the White House.
The new National Cybersecurity Strategy comes as cyberattacks continue to wreak havoc across the world, causing billions of dollars in damages. Furthermore, autocratic states such as China, Russia, and North Korea have ramped up aggressive cyber abilities to disrupt other nations’ interests and “broadly accepted international norms.”
The White House report aims to “build and enhance collaboration” for cybersecurity around five main tenets:
Defending critical infrastructure, involving mandatory requirements for cybersecurity, as the marketplace insufficiently rewards and even hinders who invest in measures to protect against cyberattacks.
Disrupting and dismantling threat actors, including diplomatic, military, and law enforcement measures to negate these attacks.
Shaping market forces to drive security and resilience through driving adoption of best practices in cybersecurity and resilience, utilizing the market to enhance capabilities.
Investing in a resilient future by engaging strategic public interests involving innovation, R&D, and education to ensure U.S. leadership in these areas.
Forging international partnerships to pursue shared goals through working with international institutions to identify and progress state behavior in cyberspace, including building peacetime norms and confidence-building measures through the U.N.
Reimaging collaboration as partnerships and investment
According to the report, adhering to these principles require two fundamental changes in how the U.S. “allocates roles, responsibilities, and resources in cyberspace.”
The first shift involves rebalancing the responsibility to defend cyberspace. The report states that end users are often tasked with far too much responsibility for lowering cyber risks. With small businesses, state and local governments possessing limited resources, a single individual’s failure to judge these risks can have national security consequences—which must be rectified.
With this in mind, the report states that the government must protect its systems, while safeguarding private entities, particularly critical infrastructure. Further, “core government functions” like diplomacy, intelligence, imposing economics costs, law enforcement, and interrupting cyber threats are all essential to counteracting the threat of cyberattacks.
The second shift involves realigning incentives to favor long-term investments. This entails defending current systems, while simultaneously advancing a digital ecosystem that is more defensible and resilient. This includes rewarding security and resilience with market forces and public programs, embracing designed security and resilience, and investing in research and development for cybersecurity in a strategic manner.
While the implementation of these strategies is complex, the National Security Council (NSC), alongside the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), will lead efforts to implement a cohesive strategy, reviewing existing policy and assessing the need for new policy. The Federal Government will also use a data-driven approach to evaluate its efficacy, a much-needed move as cyberattacks continue to threaten the safety and economy of nations around the world.
Rising cybercrimes create risks for insurers and consumers
In 2022, 1,802 data compromises affected approximately 422 million people, according to a report by the Identity Theft Resource Center. Although data compromises remained even from 2021, the number of overall breaches has continued to rise. Additionally, losses continue to rise from cybercrime complaints, resulting in 10.3 billion in damages in 2022, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
As these issues present major problems for consumers, the global cyber insurance market continues to grow, with an estimated reach of over 91.22 billion by 2031. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 23.78 percent from 2023 to 2031.
This market poses challenges and opportunities for insurers, as more cyber security professionals are needed to examine and prevent these threats. These risks can be addressed through training in cyber intelligence – but it will take significant investment to achieve this market’s expansion.
At the end of 2022, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, Third-Party Litigation Financing: Market Characteristics, Data and Trends. Defining third-party litigation financing or funding (TPLF) as “an arrangement in which a funder who is not a party to the lawsuit agrees to help fund it,” the investigative arm of Congress looked at the global multibillion-dollar industry, which is raising concerns among insurers and some lawmakers.
The GAO findings summarize emerging trends, challenges for market participants, and the regulatory landscape, primarily focusing on the years between 2017 and 2021.
Why a regulatory lens on TPLF is important
The agency conducted this research to study gaps in public information about the industry’s practices and examine transparency and disclosure concerns. Three Republican Congress members – Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA), Rep. Andy Barr (KY), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA) — led the call for this undertaking.
However, as GAO exists to serve the entire Congress, it is expected to be independent and nonpartisan in its work. While insurers, TPLF insiders, and other stakeholders, including Triple-I, have researched the industry (to the extent that research on such a secretive industry is possible), the legislative-based agency is well positioned to apply a regulatory perspective.
The report methodology involved several components, many of which other researchers have applied, such as analysis of publicly available industry data, reviews of existing scholarship, legislation, and court rules. GAO probed further by convening a roundtable of 12 experts “selected to represent a mix of reviews and professional fields, among other factors,” and interviewing litigation funders and industry stakeholders. Nonetheless, like researchers before them, GAO faced a lack of public data on the industry.
Third-party litigation funding practices differ between the consumer and the commercial markets. Comparatively smaller loan amounts are at play for consumer cases. The types of clients, use of funds, and financial arrangements can also vary, even within each market.
While most published discussions of TPLF center on TPLF going to plaintiffs, as this appears from public data to be the norm, GAO findings indicate: 1) funders may finance defendants in certain scenarios and 2) lawyers may use TPLF to support their work for defense and plaintiff clients.
How the lack of transparency in TPLF can create risks
Overall, TPLF is categorized as a non-recourse loan because if the funded party loses the lawsuit or does not receive a monetary settlement, the loan does not have to be repaid. If the financed party wins the case or receives a monetary settlement, the profit comes from a relatively high interest payment or some agreed value above the original loan. Thus, the financial strategy boils down to someone gambling on the outcome of a claim or lawsuit with the expressed intention of making a hefty profit.
In some deals, these returns can soar as high as 220%–depending on the financial arrangements–with most reporting placing the average rates at 25-30 percent (versus average S&P 500 return since 1957 of 10.15 percent). The New Times documented that the TPLF industry is reaping as much as 33 percent from some of the most vulnerable in society, wrongly imprisoned people.
Usually, this speculative investor has no relationship to the civil litigation and, therefore, would not otherwise be involved with the case. However, the court and the opposing party of the lawsuit are typically unaware of the investment or even the existence of such an arrangement. On the other hand, as the GAO report affirms, knowledge about the defendant’s insurance may be one of the primary reasons third-party financers decide to invest in the lawsuit. This imbalance in communication and the overall lack of transparency spark worries for TPLF critics. GAO gathered information that highlighted some potential concerns.
Funded claimants may hold out for larger settlements simply because the funders’ fee (usually the loan repayment, plus high interest) erodes the claimant’s share of the settlement. Attorneys receiving TPLF may be more willing to draw out litigation further than they would have – perhaps in dedication to a weak cause or a desire to try out novel legal tactics – if they had to carry their own expenses.
Regardless, typically neither the court, the defendant, nor the defendant’s insurer would be aware of the factors behind such costly delays, so they would be unable to respond proactively. However, insurance consumers would ultimately pay the price via higher rates or no access to affordable insurance if an insurer leaves the local market.
As the report acknowledges, a lack of transparency can lead to other issues, too. If the court does not know about a TPLF arrangement, potential conflicts of interest cannot be flagged and monitored. Some critics calling for transparency have cited potential national security risks, such as the possibility of funders backed by foreign governments using the funding relationship to strategically impact litigation outcomes or co-opting the discovery process for access to intellectual property information that would otherwise be best kept away from their eyes for national security reasons.
Calls for TPLF Legislation
GAO findings from its comparative review of international markets reveal that the industry operates globally, essentially without much regulation. The report points out that while TPLF is not specifically regulated under U.S. federal law, some aspects of the industry and funder operations may fall under the purview of the SEC, particularly if funders have registered securities on a national securities exchange. Some states have passed laws regulating interest charged to consumers, and, in rarer instances, requiring a level of TPLF disclosure in prescribed circumstances.
Active, visible calls from elected officials for regulatory actions toward transparency come mostly from Republicans, but, nonetheless, from various levels of government. Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa have tried to introduce legislation, The Litigation Funding Transparency Act of 2021, requiring mandatory disclosure of funding agreements in federal class action lawsuits and in federal multidistrict litigation proceedings. In December of 2022, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr spearheaded a coalition of 14 state attorney generals that issued a written call to action to the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“By funding lawsuits that target specific sectors or businesses, foreign adversaries could weaponize our courts to effectively undermine our nation’s interests,” Carr said.
Florida is one of the least affordable states for personal auto insurance, according to a new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). Claims trends are pushing premium rates up nationwide, and Florida is being hit particularly hard.
In 2020, the average expenditure for auto insurance was $1,342 in Florida, more than 30 percent higher than the national average, the IRC report says, citing data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In terms of affordability, IRC says, auto insurance expenditures were 2.39 percent of the median household income for the state. Only Louisiana was less affordable.
“Efforts to improve auto insurance affordability must begin with the underlying cost drivers,” the IRC report says. In nearly every of these categories, Florida costs are well above the national average:
Accident frequency: The number of property damage liability claims per 100 insured vehicles in Florida is 10 percent above the national average.
Repair costs: For years, the average cost of a property damage claim in Florida was below the national average. However, evidence suggests repair costs are increasing faster in Florida than elsewhere.
Injury claim relative frequency: Floridians show a greater propensity to file injury claims once an accident occurs, with a relative claim frequency 40 percent higher than the national average. Florida is the only no-fault state with an above-average ratio of bodily injury to property damage claim frequency.
Injury claim severity: The median amount paid per claim for auto injury insurance claims for all injury coverages combined is much higher in Florida.
Medical utilization: Florida auto claimants are more likely than those in other states to receive diagnostic procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Attorney involvement: Florida claimants are more likely to hire attorneys. Attorney involvement has been associated with higher claim costs and delays in settlement time.
Fraud and buildup: The percentage of all auto injury claims with the appearance of claim fraud and/or buildup is evidence of Florida’s culture of fraud.
Uninsured motorists: Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists, both a symptom and a cause of affordability challenges.
Litigation climate: According to a survey of business leaders, Florida’s legal environment ranks near the bottom of state liability systems in terms of fairness and reasonableness.
“Unique features in Florida’s insurance system and a long‐standing culture of claim and legal system abuse have allowed some medical and legal professionals to generate substantial income for themselves at a significant cost to Florida drivers,” said Dale Porfilio, IRC president and Triple-I chief insurance officer. Triple-I and IRC are both affiliated with The Institutes.
Policymakers in the Sunshine State enacted substantial property insurance reform in late 2022 to address the affordability and availability crisis in homeowners’ insurance and pledged to tackle similar issues in other lines of insurance to ease the financial burden that paying for auto insurance represents for Florida drivers.
Bills being addressed by the state’s Senate and House focus on significant tort reform to stop lawsuit abuse, including the elimination of one-way attorney fees for litigated auto claims and abolition of assignment of benefits for auto insurance claims — a generator of fraud and litigation. One-way attorney fees allow drivers who successfully sue their insurer to recoup attorney fees – but not the other way around.
Today’s inflationary conditions may increase interest for group captives – insurance companies owned by the organizations they insure – according to a new Triple-I Executive Brief.
Group captives recruit safety-conscious companies with better-than-average loss experience, with each member’s premium based on its own most recent five-year loss history. Additionally, the increased focus on pre-loss risk management and post-loss claims management can drive members’ premiums down even further by the second and third year of membership.
“Each owner makes a modest initial capital contribution,” states the paper, Group Captives: An Opportunity to Lower Cost of Risk. “The lines of coverage written typically are those with more predictable losses, such as workers compensation, general liability, and automobile liability and physical damage.”
With these benefits, the group captive model can help to control spiraling litigation costs. This is particularly important as attorney involvement in commercial auto claims – notably in the trucking industry – drives expensive litigation and settlement delays that inflate companies’ expenses.
Indeed, a 2020 report from the American Transportation Research Institute found that average verdicts in the U.S. trucking industry grew from approximately $2.3 million to almost $22.3 million between 2010 and 2018 – a 967 percent increase, with the potential for even higher verdicts looming.
Group captives can improve control over these costs through careful claims monitoring and review, often through providing additional layers of support that improves claims adjusting effectiveness and efficiency.
“Given that members’ premiums are derived from their own loss history, this is yet another way that they are able to lower their premiums, proactively managing and controlling the losses that do occur,” the Triple-I report mentions. “Group captives can provide a viable way to protect companies across several lines of casualty insurance. Their prominence is likely to grow as economic and litigation trends continue to increase costs.”
Most companies that join group captives are safety-conscious, despite often being entrepreneurial risk takers. “While they embrace the risk-reward trade-off, they’re not gamblers,” said Sandra Springer, SVP of Marketing for Captive Resources (CRI), a leading consultant to member-owned group captive insurance companies.
“They are successful, financially stable, well-run companies that have confidence in their own abilities and dedication to controlling and managing risk,” Springer added. “They believe they will outperform actuarial projections, and a large percentage of them do.”
By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I
The gender pay gap is a sensitive topic we need to spotlight. We’ve seen it in every industry, from entertainment – when Patricia Arquette called for wage equality in her 2015 Oscars acceptance speech – to Wall Street, when CNBC reported in 2019 that Citibank admitted that its female employees earned 29% less than its male employees globally.
In the United States, the gender pay gap is 18%, which means that on average, in 2022, women made 82 cents for every dollar men earned in any industry, according to a recent Pew Research Center study —a rate that hasn’t significantly changed for two decades. Women of color continue to suffer the most severe gender wage gap in this country. Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar white men are paid and must work an additional 214 days to catch up to what white men made in 2020 alone. Native women are paid about 60 cents and Hispanic women only 57 cents for every $1 earned by white men. In the insurance industry, women fared worse, earning just 62 cents on the dollar in 2020. As a result, women cannot build savings, withstand economic downturns, and achieve financial stability. This earnings gap widens during a woman’s career.
Older women bear the brunt of ageism
We’re all familiar with the phrases “past their prime,” “put them out to pasture,” and “not enough runway,” but often ageism is gender specific, targeting older women. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that American men don’t typically start to make less money until they’re over 65. In contrast, women’s median pay decreases when they enter the 45–54-year age group.
Inequity can drive retirement insecurity
Lower lifetime earnings also reduce the amount of retirement capital women can accumulate from 401ks to defined benefit pension plans to social security. Women’s retirement contributions are, on average, 30% less than those made by men, according to a recent Goldman Sachs survey.
A 2020 report from the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) finds that women can remain at a disadvantage with their retirement savings. Years spent out of the workforce for caregiving responsibilities—for children, spouses, and aging parents—significantly impact women’s total retirement savings and income. In fact, women are more likely to leave the workforce or take part-time jobs to shoulder those responsibilities – something we saw after the coronavirus struck.
Women tend to live longer than men, too, and thus often have a greater chance of exhausting their sources of income. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the average American man will live to age 76, while the average woman in America will live to be age 81.
Not only are women paid less, but men continue to dominate the top roles and highest-paying professions. Some folks say women need to be more confident and negotiate raises better. However, in 2019, The Wall Street Journal surveyed 2,000 graduates of an elite U.S. business school and found that 64% of the women versus 59% of the men asked for raises and promotions, but women were turned down twice as often.
Diversity brings value
With fewer women in top positions at insurance companies, insurers are missing out on critical sources of talent, according to McKinsey & Company. They referenced Harvard Business Review research which showed that diverse teams are more effective at solving difficult problems and reaching diverse markets and customer segments. Insurance companies need effective and diverse teams at all levels to grow and keep their competitive edge—meaning more women and women of color.
Transparency laws help close the gender pay gap
Wage transparency laws can close the gender pay gap, reduce discrimination, and promote fairer compensation practices. By requiring employers to disclose pay scales, job applicants can have a better sense of what to expect in terms of pay before they apply and negotiate salaries more effectively. This practice may also help women already in those jobs know what factors go into their pay and determine whether it is fair.
Theinsurance industry is making strides toward equity
Insurers are increasingly taking the initiative to transform their commitments into meaningful actions regarding pay equity based on gender, race, and overall diversity and inclusion. These organizations recognize that this is not only the right thing to do, of course. But they also realize that these practices are also good for business.
Triple-I believes that acknowledging and celebrating those organizations working to make a difference is important. Below is a highlight of what some of our member companies are accomplishing in the DEI and pay equity space. We encourage others who have a story to tell to let us know and we’ll include them in this celebration:
Allstate’s performance in workplace diversity meets or exceeds external benchmarks. As of Dec. 31, 2021, women made up approximately 57% of their workforce, and 42% of their employees were racially or ethnically diverse. Minimum compensation increased in 2022 to $17/hour and $20/hour, based on geographic differentials, the second increase in the last two years. Racial equity is a pillar of The Allstate Foundation, and it aims to close the racial opportunity gap for careers with thriving wages. As of January 2023, Allstate proactively added salary ranges to 100% of its job descriptions to be transparent and show its commitment to equitable pay practices.
American Family, recognizing the structural barriers in society that keep people from achieving their dreams, is doing its part to break down these barriers, committed to tackling systemic problems that impede equity and believes everyone deserves the freedom to dream fearlessly. For 2022, American Family received the Best of the Best Awards from the Professional Woman’s Magazine, among other awards. Their diversity and inclusion efforts are grounded in equity — believing fair treatment starts with giving people the proper systems, support, opportunities and access needed to achieve their professional success and advancement.
AmericanAg™ has undertaken several steps to increase both the diversity of their workforce and communication in their business communities, including the use online platforms, media outlets, and search firms to recruit top talent with diverse backgrounds, not tolerating gender gap compensation issues among employees. They have initiated all-employee discussion sessions concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion to bolster communication and education.
Argo Group is committed to cultivating an authentic, inclusive and respectful workplace where all employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work with equal opportunities to be successful. They developed their first year report on the gender pay gap in 2020 among their team in the U.K., but the company has been tracking the pay gap and working on improvements since 2017.
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer, has been named to Seramount’s sixth annual Inclusion Index, which recognizes leaders in creating an inclusive workplace. Chubb engages in pay equity analysis to ensure equal pay between employees in similar roles. The objective of this practice is to determine whether pay differences are driven by fair and compensable factors, such as location or tenure, and not by unjustifiable factors, such as gender or race. It has been a success at the organization.
Farmers Insurance, ranked as a Best Employer for Women by Forbes, is partnering with Women Back to Work to support the career re-entry of women in tech. Women at Farmers Insurance have rated Team, Executive Team, and Leadership as the organization’s highest-scoring categories. Farmers Insurance ranks on Comparably in the top 5% of other companies with 10,000+ Employees for Gender Score.
Grange Insurance is a proud member of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™, a national initiative of more than 2,000 CEOs and Presidents who are pledging to support a more inclusive workplace for employees, communities, and society. In 2022, Grange was selected as an honoree of Columbus Business First’s Diversity in Business Award in the Outstanding Diversity Organization category. As an example of its commitment to pay equity, Grange conducts an annual gender pay equity analysis.
At Hanover, measuring workforce demographics enables them to track where they stand and the work that needs to be done along their DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) journey. This practice also helps them achieve a shared goal of attracting, retaining, and advancing a diverse workforce at all levels. For 2021, 59 % of the workforce was female.
Liberty Mutual was recognized by Forbes as one of America’s best employers for women every year since 2018. Liberty Mutual monitors their market competitiveness, constantly evaluating their pay practices to ensure relative parity among employees and across all business areas. They designed their compensation system to pay competitively for performance across all dimensions of diversity. Their multi-year DEI Plan includes goals to increase representation of women at all levels in the U.S. by 2025, as well as ensure progress over the long term. Delivering on these goals means that more than half of their U.S. workforce will be women.
Lloyd, in its 2021 Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap Reports, noted its mean gender pay gap is 18.6%, an improvement of 1.8% from 2020. While there is still more to do, this shows a continually improving trend since the 27.7% pay gap in their first report in 2017. Lloyd’s is working to improve pay gaps by providing career development for women; hiring one in three ethnic minorities; and having an EDGE action plan, among other objectives.
MAPFRE continues reducing its gender pay gap. Its Compensation Policy lays out a compensation model that focuses on productivity and added value, contains no gender criteria, and is adapted to the competitive environment.
At MetLife, they are committed to pay equity and annually review their pay practices, including compensation and benefits programs, to ensure they incent the right behaviors and provide equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender or race. Their goal is to support, reward, and compensate the entire individual.
Munich Re sees diversity as the lively and active coexistence and working together of different mindsets, mentalities, experiences, and expertise. Their employees are their most valuable asset, and their diversity is the key to our success as a company. They are increasing the proportion of women in all management positions globally and Group-wide to 40 percent by the end of 2025.
Seramount placed Nationwide Insurance on its Top 75 Companies for Executive Women list, which recognizes corporations that have women in top executive positions and created a culture that identifies, promotes, and nurtures successful women.
In 2022 State Farm was ranked among the Top Companies for Executive Women by Seramount – and has been recognized every year since 2008. They have created the D&I Governance Council with its main objective to integrate diversity and inclusion into day-to-day business practices and how they lead their organization. They have also created learning opportunities such as Ally Skills Workshops for all employees and Inclusive Practices and Talent Decisions for recruiters and leaders. In addition, State Farm has cultivated transparency by sharing demographic data internally and externally.
Swiss Re noted that they have a regularly monitored gender-neutral approach to pay across all levels of the organization. They also conduct an annual statistical analysis of base salaries and total compensation across corporate bands, job families, employee ages, and experience levels to identify gender pay differentials for comparable roles across the organization. The regression-based analysis for 2022 found no statistically significant gender pay differentials across these categories.
USAA, a national insurance and financial services company focused on active military, veterans, and their families, announced its final commitment of $20 million to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of the company’s three-year, $50 million commitment made in late 2020, the latest grants to nearly 50 nonprofit organizations focus on amplifying the collaborative need to build diverse talent pipelines through education and employment programs.
Utica National boasts a workforce comprised of 60% women – a figure which mirrors the percentage across the entire insurance industry, based on a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Looking back at the company’s 107-year history, their very first employee was a woman, and now women make up the majority of their workforce that keeps the company moving and growing. For five consecutive years, Utica was named a Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America magazine.
W.R. Berkley’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct outlines how they address diversity and inclusion to provide equal opportunities for all Berkley employees. Many of their insurance businesses have diversity and inclusion committees that support these policies.
Westfield Group’sWomen’s Network works to educate, inspire and interact with women and their advocates by building a community focused on appreciating the strengths and contributions of women as leaders in the workplace. By providing advocacy and development that enables women to achieve their career goals, the network helps their organization achieve higher performance and profitability through diverse thought and voice.
Zurich Insurance is committed to gender equality in the workplace and has implemented measures globally to track progress. These initiatives include the Equal Pay for Equivalent Work analysis to make sure gender is not a factor when it comes to remuneration.
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) developed Advancing Ideas into Action, based on their Inclusion in Insurance Regional Forums held in 2022, furthering conversations started by IICF in 2013 during their first Women in Insurance Global Conference (now the IICF Inclusion in Insurance Global Conference) about advancing ideas around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and innovation into action.
In its 2013 report, Increasing Gender Diversity in Insurance Leadership: Lessons from Women Who Reached the C-Suite, Spencer Stuart, an American global executive search and leadership consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois, noted that “increasing diversity requires clear and consistent support from the CEO and senior management, and male leaders generally. Executive leadership sets the tone that diversity is a priority and sets expectations that succession plans and candidate slates will include women.”
Peter Miller, CPCU and president and CEO of The Institutes (of which Triple-I is affiliated), couldn’t agree more. “At the end of the day, all leaders must be deliberate and consistent in their efforts to attract and grow diverse talent,” Miller said, adding that “focusing on leadership-skills-based development is a critical factor in retaining and elevating diverse talent, which in turn helps drive pay equity.”
The Institutes has consistently been recognized as a Top Workplace over the last several years and earned national recognition as a 2023 Top Workplace. Additionally, The Institutes has been recognized for its work-life flexibility and compensation and benefits.
As more new vehicles become equipped with crash-avoidance features, some owners report significant issues with the technologies after repairs, according to a recent report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
In the survey, approximately half of those who reported an issue with equipped front crash prevention, blind-spot detection, or rearview or other visibility-enhancing cameras said at least one of those systems presented problems after the repair job was completed.
Nevertheless, many owners remained eager to have a vehicle with these features and were pleased with the out-of-pocket cost, according to Alexandra Mueller, IIHS senior research scientist.
“These technologies have been proven to reduce crashes and related injuries,” Mueller said. “Our goal is that they continue to deliver those benefits after repairs and for owners to be confident that they’re working properly.”
Still, as problems with these technologies persist, the study notes that it is important to track repair issues to further the adoption of crash avoidance features. IIHS research has shown that front-crash prevention, blind-spot detection, and rearview cameras all substantially reduce the types of crashes they are designed to address. For example, IIHS said, automatic emergency braking reduces police-reported rear-end crashes by 50 percent.
An analysis conducted by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) showed the reduction in insurance claims associated with Subaru and Honda crash-avoidance systems remained essentially constant, even in vehicles more than five years old. But repairs can make it necessary to calibrate the cameras and sensors that the features rely on to work properly, making repairs complicated and costly.
For example, a simple windshield replacement can cost as little as $250, while a separate HLDI study found vehicles equipped with front crash prevention were much more likely to have glass claims of $1,000 or more. Much of that higher cost is likely related to calibration.
The new IIHS study found that owners often had more than one reason requiring repairs to these safety features. Most had received a vehicle recall or service bulletin about their feature, but that was rarely the sole reason they brought their vehicles in for service or repair.
“Other common reasons — which were not mutually exclusive — included windshield replacement, crash damage, a recommendation from the dealership or repair shop, and a warning light or error message from the vehicle itself,” according to the study.
Repair difficulties could motivate drivers to turn off crash avoidance features, potentially making collisions more likely. But, despite the post-repair issues, the study found that slightly more than 5 percent of owners would opt not to purchase another vehicle with the repaired feature. As reckless driving and traffic fatalities continue to rise, advanced driver-assistance systems will only become more important for the roadway safety, necessitating reliable technology.
Social inflation contributed to a $30 billion increase in commercial auto liability claims between 2012 and 2021, according to updated research published by the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), in partnership with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Most of the increase for the total review period is attributable to the newly added years 2020 and 2021 to the data set.
Findings from the research paper, Social Inflation and Loss Development–An Update, suggest that while other factors may be in play, social inflation could be responsible for driving losses over the past 10 years up by as much as 18-20%. Results also indicate that social inflation, as a loss driver, may be outpacing inflation in the overall economy by 2 to 3% per year. The actuarial models in the paper assume that exposure in commercial auto liability grows in the long term at the same rate as the overall economy. The updated research supports the conversation that Triple-I and its industry partners have fostered over recent years to increase awareness about the phenomena and encourage solutions. Both social inflation Triple-I/CAS papers were authored by actuaries James Lynch and David Moore.
Tracing the wake of social inflation in commercial auto liability
Analysts in every industry may rely on economic indicators and established quantitative methodologies to adapt to cost increases caused by general inflation in the economy. According to the definition cited as the basis for the paper, the expansive scope of social inflation can pose a more complex challenge for insurers as it can include “all ways in which insurers’ claims costs rise over and above general economic inflation, including shifts in societal preferences over who is best placed to absorb risk.” The impact of some potential factors, such as increasing lawsuit verdicts and extended litigation, can be dynamic and hard to forecast, making effective risk mitigation tactics difficult.
Still, insurers must aim to offset increasing claim costs, and that effort can include finding a way to outline the footprint of social inflation. Thus, rather than attempting to deconstruct the components of social inflation, this update to the 2022 CAS-Triple I collaboration continues to zero in on tracking evidence of it, ascertaining the potential influence on losses over time, and potentially finding clues that may link back to the culprits. Accordingly, the research stays focused on the claim size and reviews the increase in loss development factors over time.
Research raises questions, highlights a new emerging reality
As with many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic challenges longstanding methodologies and conventional forecasting assumptions. Claim frequency, in relation to the overall economy, decreased sharply in 2020 and remained flat in 2021, even though driving appears to have returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, severity appears to have increased significantly.
Enter loss triangles – a conventional actuarial tool that can enable comparison of loss metrics across years and see how losses develop over time. As in last year’s paper, researchers used this tool to examine the loss development patterns of net paid loss and defense and containment costs (DCC). Analysis suggests that whereas the pandemic may have dramatically impeded the ability to file new litigation for a brief period, it may also have created more enduring repercussions by hampering the timely and, thus, more cost-effective settlement of outstanding claims.
Even as social inflation amplifies losses for commercial auto liability, existing methods to pinpoint where general inflation ends and social inflation begins may become less dependable. In addition to covering the pandemic shocks of the shutdown, the newly added data spanned into the economic recovery and was impacted by much of what came with it – demand booms, stressed supply and labor resources, and, of course, the eventual soaring of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers. In 2021, the CPI increased by a formidable 4.7 percent, the fastest inflation growth rate this century. These and other changes in the economic environment may have dampened the effectiveness of the testing and modeling framework. In any case, calculations for loss emergence revealed that for the first time in a decade, actual emergence was less than expected emergence in 2020 and 2021, reversing observations made in the previous paper about the reliability of conventional actuarial estimates.
The importance of understanding social inflation
It’s important to remember that although insurers are often called upon to help businesses and communities bounce back from natural disasters or other unexpected events, social inflation is arguably a human-made crisis that already looms large in the marketplace. A 2020 study by the American Transportation Research Institute found that, from 2010 to 2018, the size of jury verdict awards grew 33 percent annually, as overall inflation grew by 1.7 percent each year within this same timeframe and healthcare costs increased by 2.9 percent.
As losses grow much faster than premiums, insurers can resort to any combination of methods to contain costs, including limiting the amount of coverage offered, increasing premiums, or discontinuing certain types of coverage. For policyholders that need to mitigate their commercial auto liability exposure, expensive coverage or lack of coverage can threaten the ability to stay competitive or even remain in operation, particularly for those in tight-margin industries.
Unprecedented times call for new ways of collecting and reviewing claims data. The paper relies on new ways of using old-school methods and discusses how the reliability for some metrics could be improved by utilizing other data sources. Apaper by the same researchers included similar observations for the medical malpractice liability sector. Key takeaways from the findings of these papers, along with an emerging body of research on social inflation, can be helpful in exploring actionable strategies, such as curbing lengthy litigation.