Category Archives: Homeowners Insurance

Chubb Study Parses Insurance-Buying Behavior By Generation

Millennial and Generation Z consumers are more likely than Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers to seek insurance advice from an agent or broker, according to recent findings by Chubb.

The Chubb study explores attitudes about insurance-related matters across five generations of affluent and high net worth consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Its findings reveal differences in:

  • How each generation searches for and purchases insurance;
  • What they look for in an insurance carrier;
  • Their current coverages;
  • The kinds of media they trust most; and
  • How they currently engage with insurance agents.

Majorities of Gen Z and Millennial respondents (53 percent for both) appreciate having their agent or broker educate them on how insurance products and services can match their long-term goals, compared with about 40 percent each for Gen X and Baby Boomers. Unsurprisingly, the study also found that younger generations are more likely to use social media reviews when choosing an agent or broker to advise them. Most Gen Z (94 percent) and Millennial (89 percent) respondents said they rely on social media reviews, compared with 64 percent for Gen-Xers and 56 percent for Baby Boomers.

This quantitative study was being released in conjunction with additional research that agents and brokers can use to tailor their engagement with each of these generations to build greater trust, connection and credibility.

“It’s critical in today’s competitive business environment that we understand the dynamics of catering to different generations, with each evaluating and purchasing insurance very differently,” said Ana Robic, vice president, Chubb Group and Division President, Chubb North America Personal Risk Services. “We encourage our distribution partners to dive into what we’ve made available – and along with us – harness these insights to meet the unique risk management needs of our mutual clients across generations.” 

Matching Price to Peril Helps Keep Insurance Available & Affordable

Setting insurance prices based on the risk being assumed seems a straightforward concept. If insurers had to come up with a single price for coverage without considering specific risk factors – including likelihood of having to submit a claim – insurance would be inordinately expensive for everyone, with the lowest-risk policyholders subsidizing the riskiest.

Risk-based pricing allows insurers to offer the lowest possible premiums to policyholders with the most favorable risk factors, enabling them to underwrite a wider range of coverages, thus improving both availability and affordability of protection.

Complications arise when actuarially sound rating factors intersect with other attributes in ways that can be perceived as unfairly discriminatory. For example, concerns have been raised about the use of credit-based insurance scores, geography, home ownership, and motor vehicle records in setting home and car insurance premium rates. Critics say this can lead to “proxy discrimination,” with people of color in urban neighborhoods sometimes charged more than their suburban neighbors for the same coverage. Concerns also have been expressed about using gender as a rating factor.

Triple-I has published a new Issues Brief that concisely explains how risk-based pricing works, the predictive value of rating factors, and their importance in keeping insurance affordable while enabling insurers to maintain the funds needed to keep their promises to policyholders. Integral to fair pricing and reserving are the teams of actuaries and data scientists who insurers hire to quantify and differentiate among a range of risk variables while avoiding unfair discrimination.

“There is no place in today’s insurance market for unfair discrimination,” the brief says. “In addition to being illegal, discrimination based on any factor that doesn’t directly affect the insured risk would be bad business in today’s diverse society.”

Learn More:

Bringing Clarity to Concerns About Race in Insurance Pricing

Delaware Legislature Adjourns Without Action on Banning Gender as Auto Insurance Factor

Triple-I: Rating-Factor Variety Drives Accuracy of Auto Insurance Ratings

Auto Insurance Rating Factors Explained

Hurricanes Drive Louisiana Insured Losses, Insurer Insolvencies

Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I

Severe hurricane damage in recent years has led to major losses by writers of Louisiana homeowners’ insurance and to the insolvency of eight insurers.

Louisiana homeowners’ insurers had a combined ratio of 461.9 in 2021. Combined ratio represents the difference between claims and expenses paid and premiums collected by insurers. A combined ratio below 100 represents an underwriting profit, and a ratio above 100 represents a loss.

With earned premium of nearly $2 billion, the 461.9 combined ratio means the industry experienced a $7.2 billion underwriting loss in 2021. As Triple-I Chief Insurance Officer Dale Porfilio puts it, “It would take 24 years of achieving a combined ratio of 85 for homeowners’ insurance writers in Louisiana to return to positive profitability.”

In 2020, Hurricanes Delta, Laura, and Zeta all caused major damage, resulting in a large number of insurance claims. Through September 30, 2021, there were 323,727 insurance claims of all types for these storms. Insurers paid or reserved $9.1 billion for Laura alone. Additionally, Hurricane Ida, which occurred in 2021, generated 460,709 insurance claims of all types through June 30, 2022, with insurers having paid or reserved $13.1 billion for that storm.

Eight Louisiana homeowner insurers already have become insolvent, and at least 12 companies have submitted withdrawal notices to Louisiana’s Department of Insurance, a preliminary measure needed to leave the state. This has forced tens of thousands of homeowners to depend on the state’s insurer of last resort, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The market is struggling so much that Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has called the current circumstances a “crisis.”

Next steps

In response, the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) has begun to restructure its management of claims for policyholders of insolvent insurers using property estimating technology from Verisk, a global data analytics provider.

“Seamless coordination with independent adjusting firms has become critical as we work to help hurricane victims throughout Louisiana rebuild their homes and return to normal,” said John Wells, executive director of LIGA.

More work to be done

2020 Triple-I Consumer poll found that 27 percent of homeowners said they had flood insurance, which indicates a record high. However, this figure is greater than National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates. As the Triple-I notes, homeowners may not understand what flood coverage is and how it works — specifically, that flood damage is not covered under standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies. Flood coverage is available as a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and from many private insurers

As storms continue to wreak major damage across vulnerable areas, homeowners and flood insurance are more important than ever.  But risk transfer alone is not enough.  

“Risk transfer is just one tool in the resilience toolkit,” says Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan. “Our understanding of loss trends and expertise in assessing and quantifying risk must be joined at the hip to technology, public policy, finance, and science. We need to partner with communities and businesses at every level to promote a broad resilience mindset focused on pre-emptive mitigation and rapid recovery.”

As Building Costs Grow, Consider Your Homeowners’ Coverage

By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I (07/14/2022)

Home construction and maintenance costs are on the rise, and homeowners should be factoring these trends into their insurance decisions – especially as risks related to weather and climate intensify.

Rising interest rates and persistent disruptions in the building-materials supply chain can affect repair and replacement costs for purposes of homeowners’ insurance. However, a recent American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) survey found that approximately two-thirds of insured homeowners could be without key additional coverages – including automatic inflation guard, extended replacement cost, and building code/ordinance coverage – that could more effectively protect their investment.

“Inflation, recent supply chain issues, and increased demand for skilled labor and construction materials following unprecedented natural disasters in the last two years have contributed to a significant increase in the costs to rebuild homes and businesses,” said Karen Collins, assistant vice president of personal lines at APCIA. “It is imperative that homeowners review and, if needed, update their insurance prior to hurricane season to keep pace with rising costs.”

Most homeowners’ policies today cover replacement cost for structural damage, but it’s wise to check your policy – especially if you have an older home. A replacement cost policy will pay for the repair or replacement of damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality.

The limits of your policy typically appear on the Declarations Page under Section I, Coverages, A. Dwelling. Your insurer will pay up to this amount to rebuild your home. If the limits of your homeowners’ policy haven’t changed since you bought your home, you may be underinsured – even if you haven’t made any upgrades.

Many insurance policies include an “inflation guard” clause that automatically adjusts the limit to reflect current construction costs in your area when policies are renewed. If your policy doesn’t include this clause, see if you can purchase it as an endorsement.

Adding to the threat and potential costs is the steady growth in natural catastrophe losses in recent decades. This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be “well above average,” and wildfires are starting earlier, inflicting greater losses, occurring in more states, and taking more time to suppress.

Triple-I offers tips on how to properly insure your home for a disaster— which is all the more important given current market conditions, and the escalating threat of catastrophe.

Fraud, Litigation Push
Florida Insurance Market to Brink of Collapse

With its abundance of unneeded new roofs on homes – and flashy lawyer billboards at every turn claiming massive settlements on claims – Florida’s insurance market is on the verge of failure. This man-made catastrophe is causing financial strain on consumers, as the annual cost of an average Florida homeowners insurance policy will skyrocket to $4,231 in 2022, nearly three times the U.S. annual average of $1,544.

“Floridians pay the highest homeowners insurance premiums in the nation for reasons having little to do with their exposure to hurricanes,” said Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan.  “Floridians are seeing homeowners insurance become costlier and scarcer because for years the state has been the home of too much litigation and too many fraudulent roof-replacement schemes. These two factors contributed enormously to the net underwriting losses Florida’s homeowners’ insurers cumulatively incurred between 2016 and 2021.” 

Two major hurricanes made landfall in the state since 2016: 2017’s Irma and 2018’s Michael.

No direct hits occurred in Florida over the past three hurricane seasons. 

Florida, however, is the site of 79 percent of all homeowners insurance lawsuits over claims filed nationwide, even though Florida’s insurers receive only 9 percent of all U.S. homeowners insurance claims, according to the Florida governor’s office. To illustrate how lawsuits have weighed on insurer operating costs, JD Supra, citing the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), reported $51 billion was paid out by Florida insurers over a 10-year period, and 71 percent of the $51 billion went to attorneys’ fees and public adjusters. The 2020 and 2021 cumulative net underwriting losses for Florida homeowners’ insurers totaled more than $1 billion each year.

“The state’s homeowners’ insurers have been forced to respond to these unfortunate market trends this year by restricting new business, non-renewing existing policies, and even canceling policies mid-term,” Kevelighan said. “What’s more, four homeowners insurance companies have been declared insolvent since February — all while more Americans are moving to Florida than any other state.”

Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed property insurer of last resort in Florida, has seen its policy count rise to nearly 900,000 this month statewide.  Its policy count figure stood at about 420,000 in October 2019.  Citizens provides insurance coverage to homeowners unable to find a private-sector insurer willing to sell them a homeowners insurance policy.

Placing further pressure on the affordability and availability of homeowners’ insurance in the state, third-party rating bureaus have downgraded the financial ratings of some insurers operating in Florida.

The typical Florida homeowners’ insurance policyholder paid $2,505 for coverage in 2020, Triple-I found, and that figure rose to $3,181 in 2021.  Triple-I’s analysis was based on data and analyses from Florida’s OIR, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and Triple-I’s estimates of what insurers are paying today for home replacement costs.

During a special legislative session in May 2022, Florida lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2B, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law. The measure is aimed at easing homeowners’ premium increases and reducing excessive litigation.

To help Floridians and others residing in natural disaster-prone states better manage risk and become more resilient, Triple-I launched a few years ago its Resilience Accelerator initiative, Kevelighan said.

The Resilience Accelerator’s goal is to demonstrate the power of insurance as a force for resilience by telling the story of how insurance coverage helps governments, businesses and individuals recover faster and more completely after natural disasters. “The insurance industry’s focus on resilience is starting to pay dividends as more Americans recognize the very real risks their residences face from floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters,” Kevelighan added.

Lightning Sparks
More Than $1 Billion
in Homeowners Claims
Over Five Years

By Loretta Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I 

More than $1 billion in lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims were paid out in 2021 to 60,000-plus policyholders, with 40 percent of that figure ($522 million) attributable to California alone, according to Triple-I.  

Based on national insurance claims data, the Triple-I found:

  • The total value of claims in 2021 were down more than 36 percent from 2020 but increased more than 43 percent since 2017, from $916.6 million to more than $1.3 billion;
  • The average number of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims  fell more than 15 percent between 2020 and 2021, continuing a downward trend since 2017 of more than 28 percent; and 
  • The average cost per claim was also down 25 percent from 2020 (28,885 to 21,578),  but the five-year trend shows the average cost per claim has doubled, to $21,578 from $10,781.

The average cost per claim is volatile from year to year, but it has been particularly high in the past two years because of lightning fires throughout the country, the Triple-I noted. 

The outsized 2020 insured loss payout number nationwide was caused in part by California’s CZU August Complex fire, which was sparked by lighting.  The multiple blazes impacted Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties and caused at least one fatality. Alaska is currently fighting a wildfire in the southwest part of the state due to lighting. 

Not only does lightning result in deadly fires it can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures, and the electrical foundation of a home.  The resulting damage may be far more significant than a homeowner realizes.  Supply-chain delays are also sending appliances and electronics prices higher.

Florida—the state with the most thunderstorms—remained the top state for number of lightning claims in 2021, with 5,339, followed by Texas, Georgia, and California, respectively. California, which had 3,381 lightning claims, had the highest average cost per claim at $154,574, the second year to have an impact on the Golden State. 

Fla. P&C Crisis Worsens As Hurricane Season Begins

Already this year, three Florida insurers have been declared insolvent due to their failure to obtain full reinsurance as the 2022 hurricane season bears down.

“We have the potential of a massive failure of Florida insurers, probably the worst on record,” says Triple-I communications director Mark Friedlander. According to Friedlander, the $2 billion reinsurance fund created in legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law at the end of May isn’t nearly enough, and private reinsurers are pulling back from the market because of its high level of property claims and litigation.

“It needed to be at least double the amount of the funds that were allocated for reinsurance coverage for hurricane season and open to other perils as well,” Friedlander said.

Most recently, insurance rating agency Demotech announced that it had withdrawn its financial stability rating for Southern Fidelity Insurance Company after the insurer placed a moratorium on writing new business and processing renewals in Florida until it secured enough reinsurance for hurricane season. When the Tallahassee, Fla.-based insurer failed to do so by the June 1 start of the season, the OIR ordered it to “wind down operations,” indicating the company could become the fourth Florida residential insurer to fail this year, following the liquidations of St. Johns, Avatar, and Lighthouse.

Report: Policyholders
See Climate as a
‘Primary Concern’

By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I (06/08/2022)

Nearly three-quarters of property and casualty policyholders consider climate change a “primary concern,” and more than 80 percent of individual and small-commercial clients say they’ve taken at least one key sustainability action in the past year, according to a report by Capgemini, a technology services and consulting company, and EFMA, a global nonprofit established by banks and insurers.

Still, the report found not enough action is being taken to combat these issues, with a mere 8 percent of insurers surveyed considered “resilience champions,” which the report defined as possessing “strong governance, advanced data analysis capabilities, a strong focus on risk prevention, and promote resilience through their underwriting and investment strategies.”

The report emphasizes the economic losses associated with climate, which it says have grown by 250 percent in the last 30 years. With this in mind, 73 percent of policyholders said they consider climate change one of their primary concerns, compared with 40 percent of insurers.

The report recommended three policies that could assist in creating climate resiliency among insurers:

  • Making climate resilience part of corporate sustainability, with C-suite executives assigned clear roles for accountability;
  • Closing the gap between long-term and short-term goals across a company’s value chain; and
  • Redesigning technology strategies with product innovation, customer experience, and corporate citizenship, utilizing advancements like machine learning and quantum computing

“The impact of climate change is forcing insurers to step up and play a greater role in mitigating risks,” said Seth Rachlin, global insurance industry leader for Capgemini. “Insurers who prioritize focus on sustainability will be making smart long-term business decisions that will positively impact their future relevance and growth. The key is to match innovative risk transfers with risk prevention and assign accountability within an executive team to ensure goals are top of mind.”

A global problem

Recent floods in South Africa, scorching heat in India and Pakistan, and increasingly dangerous hurricanes in the United States all exemplify the dangers of changing climate patterns. As Efma CEO John Berry said, “While most insurers acknowledge climate change’s impact, there is more to be done in terms of demonstrative actions to develop climate resiliency strategies. As customers continue to pay closer attention to the impact of climate change on their lives, insurers need to highlight their own commitment by evolving their offerings to both recognize the fundamental role sustainability plays in our industry and to stay competitive in an ever-changing market.”

Data is key

The report says embedding climate strategies into their operating and business models is essential for “future-focused insurers,” but it adds that that requires “fundamental changes, such as revising data strategy, focusing on risk prevention, and moving beyond exclusions in underwriting and investments.”

The report finds that only 35 percent of insurers have adopted advanced data analysis tools, such as machine-learning-based pricing and risk models, which it called “critical to unlocking new data potential and enabling more accurate risk assessments.”

Dog-Related Injury Claims Nearly $900 Million in 2021

Despite relaxation of pandemic-related restrictions, behavioral issues in pets and rising costs persist.

By Loretta Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I

As pet owners return to the workplace or school, pets will be left home alone. Behavioral issues such as separation anxiety could result in aggressive and destructive behavior. This could be a problem for dogs that were adopted during the pandemic as well as pets that have become used to their pet owners being at home.

March 2020 had the most dog-related injury claims, 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. With the easing of restrictions for activities outside the home—experts feared it would lead to another spike in bites.  The overall number of claims slightly increased to 17,989 in 2021 from 17,567 in 2020, accounting for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claims paid out, costing $881 million.

Dog bite-related claims costs have been climbing for years. The average cost per claim nationally has risen 39 percent from 2012 to 2021, 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 again focused on re-socializing animals that have been isolated along with their humans.

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.

Related content:

Infographic: National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Spotlight on dog bite liability

Facts about pet insurance

Actuaries Tackle Race
in Insurance Pricing

The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) has developed a series of papers examining the issue of race and insurance pricing and seeking to contribute constructively to the policy discussion around it.

“Insurance pricing is a high-wire act,” CAS says.  Actuaries have to quantify and differentiate among a massive variety of risk variables while avoiding unfair discrimination. “As regulation and society’s understanding of discrimination evolve, however, it is necessary for us to keep abreast of changes in the manner in which discrimination is defined and adjudicated.”

The CAS research has generated four papers – two published this week, two more to be published on March 31 – that define, quantify, and propose methods for addressing unfair discrimination where it is found to exist.

Confusion around insurance rating is understandable, given the complex predictive models being used today, which can lead to inappropriate comparisons and inaccurate conclusions. Algorithms and machine learning hold great promise for helping to ensure equitable pricing. However, research has shown these tools also can amplify biases that manage to creep into their programming.

Recent Colorado legislation requires insurers to show that their use of external data and complex algorithms don’t discriminate against protected classes, as well as other state and federal efforts to address perceived bias in pricing.

The actuarial discipline and the insurance industry are well positioned to continue helping policymakers and corporate decisionmakers understand and address these inequities.

The CAS papers published this week are:

Methods for Quantifying Discriminatory Effects on Protected Classes in Insurance

Approaches to Address Racial Bias in Financial Services: Lessons for the Insurance Industry