Category Archives: Industry Awards & Events

JIF 2020 Crystal Ball

My first Triple-I Joint Industry Forum (JIF) did not disappoint.

Between panel discussions and conversations with thought leaders and decision makers from across the insurance industry,  I learned a lot and accumulated insights and leads that will feed this blog for some time to come.

At a high level, an informal poll during one session – “JIF 2020 Crystal Ball—What Does the Future Hold?” – asked attendees several questions to get a sense of where they see the greatest opportunities and threats for the coming year.  Asked where they thought innovation would have the greatest impact in 2020, 36 percent said claims, followed by 26 percent who said they believe product marketing would be most affected.

I suppose this isn’t very surprising, as claims and product marketing both touch customers very directly. Marketing makes the promises and, when it works well, claims keeps them.  These should be high-priority areas for companies that expect to remain in business and competitive.

When asked what they expected to affect their companies’ bottom lines the most, 47 percent of participants said natural disasters and 30 percent said litigation costs (highlighting the increased attention being paid to social inflation).

I was a bit surprised to see cyber didn’t rank higher – especially given the fact that it recently came out at the top of concerns cited in the 2020 Allianz Risk Barometer. Autonomous vehicles – for all the media attention they receive – was the top choice of no one in the room.

When asked which of the following natural perils – tornadoes, hail, hurricanes, wildfires, and floods – keeps participants up at night, someone piped up to ask, “Why don’t you have an ‘all of the above’ choice?”

Forced to choose, the group’s top nightmares were: floods, wildfires, and hurricanes, in that order.

Asked about global events and trends they expect to have an impact on insurers worldwide, “Protectionism and trade disputes” was the top answer by far, at 58 percent – far above the next-highest: 28 percent for Brexit.

When asked about their expectations (not necessarily their preferences) for the 2020 election results, more participants (54 percent) said they expect a continuation of the status quo, with a Republican White House and Senate and Democratic House of Representatives. Twenty-nine percent said they expect the Democrats to take the White House and the Senate and House to remain essentially unchanged.

I found these results a bit surprising, given the mid-term turnout that led the House to flip from a Republican to a Democrat majority. The dynamics don’t seem to have changed much since the mid-terms. If the Presidency doesn’t change parties, one might reasonably expect a change of balance in the Senate. If a Democrat wins the Oval Office, I would expect the dynamics that get him or her there would also result in the Senate changing hands.

While interesting, this is not at all a scientific study. What are your thoughts and expectations on these or other topics affecting insurance in 2020?

Joint Industry Forum 2020: A clear vision for the insurance industry

Each year Triple-I hosts a conference called the Property/Casualty Joint Industry Forum. This event, which took place on January 16 this year, assembles key figures from the business, policymaking, and media spheres to explore topics of vital interest to the property/casualty insurance industry.

During his opening remarks, Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan laid out many of the key issues the industry is facing: extreme weather events (wildfires can now be as costly as hurricanes), flat interest rates, populism and political risk around the world, building the workforce of the future, and the race to better engage with customers. Making disaster resilience a win/win proposition for both insurers and their customers is another vital issue.

He then sat down with CBS News’ senior foreign affairs correspondent and Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan. They discussed current events, including the impeachment of President Trump and the recently signed trade deal with China. Ms. Brennan advised news consumers to make sure that they have a trusted source: “if they are a pain to each side,” then you know they get it right.

Sean Kevelighan and Margaret Brennan

Over the next week or so, we’ll be blogging about the fascinating conversations that took place during the conference. Upcoming  posts will cover:

  • Extreme Weather
  • The Future of Insurance Marketing
  • JIF 2020 Crystal Ball—What Does the Future Hold for the Insurance Industry?
  • A 21st Century Workforce That Reflects the Communities We Serve
  • A Conversation with Economist Dr. Glenn Hubbard on Business and the Economy

For a full agenda click here. Check out this video for an overview of the conference. Interested in attending next year’s conference? Contact us at jif@iii.org.

I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum: Registration Deadline Fast Approaching

I’m looking forward to attending my first Insurance Information Institute Joint Industry Forum next week.  The agenda for the January 16 event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City is packed with impressive speakers from across the insurance industry, as well as influencers from media, academia, and the world of politics and policy:

  • Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan will interview award-winning broadcast journalist and CBS Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan about current issues and the 2020 elections;
  • Former U.S. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Glenn Hubbard will discuss events and trends shaping the insurance business environment with Wall Street Journal chief economics correspondent Jon Hilsenrath; and
  • Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University and Triple-I non-resident scholar will lead a panel on extreme weather that includes the Weather Channel’s Dr. Rick Knabb.

Other panels include:

  • The Future of Insurance Marketing;
  • A 21st Century Workforce That Reflects Communities We Serve; and
  • An interactive discussion: JIF 2020 Crystal Ball—What Does the Future Hold?

The full-day event will wrap up with a cocktail reception with Dr. Hubbard. The entire event will be a fun, informative opportunity to learn and network with peers, subject-matter experts, and industry influencers.

I hope to see you there; if you haven’t signed up, please note:  Registration closes at 5:00 p.m. (ET) Friday, January 10, 2020.

I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum Panel: The P/C Industry has been doing well, but threats loom on the horizon

Left to right: Bill Donnell, David Wessel, Jay Gelb, John Huff

By Lucian McMahon

The 2018 financial results for the property/casualty (P/C) industry were strong. According to Verisk Analytics, private P/C insurers in the U.S. reported a nine-month net underwriting gain of $4.7 billion. The industry combined ratio was 97.3 percent – down from 104.1 percent in 2017.

“It’s unusual to have an industry-wide underwriting profit,” said Jay Gelb, managing director at Barclay’s, speaking at a geopolitical risks panel at the 2019 I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum. “But 4Q 2018 is going to be worse.” The insured losses from Hurricane Michael and the disastrous California wildfires will make a dent on industry underwriting results. And in the last two years the total global industry catastrophe losses were about $230 billion, the highest level for any two-year period, Gelb noted.

While the industry did well in addressing these catastrophe losses, greater threats may be looming on the horizon for the P/C industry and the economy generally.

Panelist David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, listed a few.

In the short term, he expressed concern about the ongoing government shutdown. He also pointed out that, while incoming economic data are strong, the markets are expressing continuing pessimism, assuming higher weight on downside risk for 2019. In the long term, Wessel listed the continuing productivity growth slowdown and climate change as serious threats.

John Huff, president and CEO, Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR), added the continuing challenges facing global insurance regulations, particularly in light of recent political events that seem to suggest a souring attitude towards global interconnectivity. Huff did express some optimism, however: “people want to stay at the table for international regulatory standards because business is global. They don’t want conflicting regulatory standards.”

Political uncertainty in the U.S. are also reasons for insurers to be concerned, per Huff. There has long been a push to “de-risk” government liabilities and move some of them into the private market, including the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), crop insurance, the Terrorism Risk and Insurance Act (TRIA), and earthquake insurance. How this will play out in the current political climate remains to be seen.

Gelb included flood and wildfire risks to the equation – both of which may increase in frequency and severity due to climate change.

Despite these possible threats, the panelists are keeping a mildly positive outlook for the future. “I think nothing is permanent, fortunately,” Wessel said regarding the current political and economic tensions.

If anything, this could be a time of opportunity for insurance leadership. Insurance has always led the way forward for economic growth. Said Wessel: “We’re in a moment when business leaders can be a more prominent voice to deal with tension […] The world is yearning for leadership.”

Federal Reserve’s Randal K. Quarles and the I.I.I.’s Sean Kevelighan talk resilience – financial and otherwise

 

By Lucian McMahon

“It’s a mistake to try and think of resilience from the point of view of trying to predict what can happen and then to respond to a predicted event, because you won’t know what’s going to happen,” said vice chairman for supervision and member of the Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System Randal K. Quarles at the Insurance Information Institute’s (I.I.I.) 2019 Joint Industry Forum. “The important thing is to ensure that you have measures in effect […] that promote resiliency no matter what might happen.”

Left to right: Sean Kevelighan and Randal Quarles

Resilience is more than prevention

In his conversation with the I.I.I. CEO Sean Kevelighan, Quarles stressed that financial stability depends on resilience, the ability to absorb system shocks no matter their source. “Wherever the shock might come from, it’s important that the institution or system is resilient to shock,” he said.

Cyberrisk is a perfect example. Quarles noted that a lot of the discussion around cyberrisks is about prevention. But he argued that prevention is only one part of cyberrisk resilience. “A key element to resilience is to assume that something will happen, and then determine how you have constructed a system that can stand back up, withstand, and respond to that shock.”

The U.S. economy appears to remain resilient during recent events

Quarles noted that the data on the real economy remains strong. Job creation continues. There’s been an uptick in the labor force participation. The economy is growing without unconstrained inflation.

But what about the recent stock market fluctuations and the ominous financial news coming out of Europe and Asia? “I think recently financial markets have been reacting to a few things,” Quarles said. “Mostly it’s doubt in the strength of continuing global growth. Some of the data that’s come out of China and Europe would suggest a little bit of less growth in the near term.”

Nonetheless, Quarles pointed out that markets might be more attuned to downside risks. He is confident that the core fundamentals of the economy remain strong. “The fundamental fact is that the financial sector is much more highly capitalized, has more liquidity, than it had before the crisis. Our assessment of risk to stability in the current environment is moderate.”

Quarles acknowledged that certain global events (particularly recent threats to trade openness) could impact the financial sector. The Fed, however, is alert to it. Quarles remains optimistic. “The hope is that a lot of these current events, current issues, will be way stations on the way to a more stable, more politically-supported open economy. It’s in everyone’s long term interest.”

In other words, the hope is that the economy is more resilient to shocks than it had been in the past.

Much Ado About AI at I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum

By Lucian McMahon

You’re familiar with the buzzwords by now. Internet of things. Blockchain. Artificial intelligence.

At the 2019 I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum, a panel on artificial intelligence and insurance cut through the buzz. How can AI be used to help build resilient communities? And how can the insurance industry leverage AI to better help customers address risk?

Pictured left to right: Andrew Robinson, Sean Ringsted, Ahmad Wani, Kyle Schmitt, James Roche

New products, more resilience

Regarding resilience, Ahmad Wani, CEO and co-founder of One Concern, said that AI is being used to harness vast troves of data to identify, on a “hyperlocal level,” the impact of a whole range of hazards. His company is already doing just that, partnering with local governments and insurance companies to better plan for future losses. “We don’t need to wait for disasters to happen to prioritize the response, we need to make changes and to act now before the disaster,” Wani said.

Sean Ringsted, executive vice president, chief digital officer and chief risk officer at the Chubb Group, also pointed out that insurers are already expanding their product offerings thanks to AI and big data. Contingent business interruption, for example: the sheer volume of data can now allow insurers to effectively analyze supply chain risks and price them accordingly.

Transparency and fairness are top of mind

But as Ringsted said, “it’s not all good news and roses.” What sorts of concerns should insurers and the public have about using AI?

Kyle Schmitt, managing direct of the global insurance practice at J.D. Power cited consumer concerns with the data and algorithms used for AI-enabled products. Consumers are deeply concerned with the security and privacy of any data they share with insurers. Per Schmitt, consumers also worry about the fairness of AI products, when algorithms instead of people are making decisions in an opaque way.

This is the so-called “black box problem” of AI, in which complex algorithms will arrive at answers or decisions without anyone being able to explain how they did so. Ringsted stressed that, for AI to be a viable tool, its mechanisms will need to be explainable to regulators and the public.

James Roche, vice president, personal lines product development at ISO, echoed this sentiment: social responsibility requires both robust data stewardship and strict control over AI outputs to ensure that outcomes are fair and within ethical standards.

From a consumer perspective, ensuring ethical use of AI is critical. Schmitt said that at the end of the day consumers are open-minded, “but they just want some ground rules.”

I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum: CEO Conversations


Pictured left to right: Sampson, McChrystal, Parrillo, Watkins

 

One of the most interesting parts of I.I.I.’s Joint Industry Forum conference was the CEO Conversations, a panel discussion moderated by David Sampson, President and CEO of American Property Casualty Insurance Association. The panelists were: Sandy Parrillo, President and CEO, Providence Mutual; Hank Watkins, President, Lloyd’s America and four-star General Stanley McChrystal who was also the event’s  keynote speaker.

The panel discussed some of the top challenges and opportunities facing the insurance industry today. It’s well known that insurers are concentrating on recruiting new talent, but Sandy Parrillo also pointed out the value of keeping “vintage workers” engaged and helping them adapt to different styles of work. Parrillo also spoke about the need to involve and get buy-in from all levels of employees when rolling out a new product.

Hank Watkins spoke about the insurance gap which poses a significant threat to global prosperity, especially in developing nations such as earthquake-prone Ecuador, as one of the top challenges to our industry. And on the positive side, Watkins gave Jumpstart Recovery’s earthquake coverage as an example of an innovative new product. Jumpstart is a surplus lines insurance broker using Lloyd’s capacity. It offers earthquake insurance in California with payment that’s triggered by an earthquake of a pre-specified intensity without the traditional claims handling process.

General McChrystal brought the conversation back to leadership. He recalled the characteristics of one of the most important leaders in his career – a tough commander who did not have much positive feedback to give when his subordinates did a good job. However, when McCrystal failed at a task, the commander surprised him by saying “I thought you did great!” Being given the freedom to fail means you can try different things and ultimately succeed.

I.I.I. Joint Industry Forum: Talent and leadership keynote


Gen. McChrystal delivers JIF keynote speech

Each year the I.I.I. hosts a conference called the Property/Casualty Joint Industry Forum. This unique event assembles key figures from the business, policymaking and media spheres to explore topics of vital interest to our industry.

This year we were fortunate to have four-star General Stanley McChrystal as keynote speaker. General McChrystal was the commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and International Security Assistance Force.  He shared crucial lessons on leadership which he acquired while leading the effort against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al Qaeda used smartphones and the internet to coordinate attacks; they were “lightning fast and constantly changing.” The elite JSOC was daunted by the terror group; “we were losing” said McChrystal. In order to beat Al Qaeda some of the old rules had to be thrown out, and radical new leadership techniques had to take root. Here are some of the lessons corporate leaders can take away:

  • Violate the chain of command. Giving everyone in your organization the information you normally only give the C-suite leads to “empowered execution”. In our fast-paced world there is not always time to let everything trickle down a long chain of command.
  • Give employees the freedom to use their own judgement. “Execute the order, but if the order is wrong, execute the order we should have given you.” Don’t allow “just following procedure” to be an excuse for actions that are wildly inappropriate for the situation.
  • Think of the role of leader as akin to that of a gardener. A gardener does not grow plants, only plants can do that. Instead, a gardener feeds, weeds and protects the plants thereby allowing them to do what they do best. By enabling the organization you will be sure to see a positive outcome, concluded McChrystal.

WCRI Annual Issues and Research Conference

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is holding its 35th Annual Issues and Research Conference on February 28th at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown in Phoenix, AZ. Anyone working to improve workers’ compensation systems or seeking to manage a changing environment would benefit from attending.

Some of the highlights from the conference agenda include:

  • A keynote address by world-renowned economist Alan Krueger on the future of work, the impact of technology on the economy, and how the opioid epidemic has affected the labor force participation rate
  • The latest research on opioid prescribing to injured workers
  • A panel discussion of Washington State’s community-based program that brings together medical providers, employers, and injured workers to help ensure timely, effective, and coordinated services
  • The challenges and opportunities of telemedicine
  • A discussion of some of the latest findings and trends seen across WCRI’s core benchmark studies, including WCRI’s 18-State CompScope™ Benchmarks reports, a multistate benchmarking program that measures the performance of a growing number of state workers’ compensation systems

Past attendees have said that the WCRI’s is the one conference that offers an “independent point of view that covers the entire spectrum of works compensation” and that it is “a great place to learn and a great place to network.”

Click here to learn more about the conference agenda or to register.

 

The Insurance Information Institute’s 37th Annual Property/Casualty Joint Industry Forum

Next Thursday (1/17) the I.I.I. will be proud to host the 37th Annual Property/Casualty Joint Industry Forum, an annual gathering of insurers, reinsurers and other industry leaders.

The event allows top executives in the insurance industry to network, exchange vital knowledge, and discuss emerging trends that will impact the future of the industry.

With this year’s theme of ‘Leading the Way Forward,’ insurance leaders will provide helpful insight on how the industry is paving the way into the future.

JIF 2019’s formal agenda will feature panel discussions, keynote addresses and the first-ever JIF Town Hall addressing flood and catastrophe resilience.

We will be hosting retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as speakers to discuss their personal experiences with adversity and resilience. Additionally, Randal Quarles, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, will join Sean Kevelighan, CEO of the I.I.I., to discuss current issues of the day.

Panel discussions will cover a wide array of insurance topics, including:

  • Economic Impact – How a charged political environment will affect regulatory environments, international alliances and trade partnerships, and the likely ramifications of heightened political risk for insurers and reinsurers.
  • Artificial Intelligence’s Risks, Ethics, and Opportunities – The benefits, drawbacks and ethical concerns as insurance seeks to manage risk in what some are calling the “Fifth Industrial Revolution.”
  • Talent and Leadership – McChrystal will share candid observations on innovative leadership and insights he gained while developing and implementing successful strategies including the creation of a comprehensive counterterrorism organization that has revolutionized the way military agencies interact and collaborate.
  • Resilience Town Hall – In this inaugural JIF Town Hall session, experts share perspectives on national and regional efforts to build community resilience in disaster-prone areas.

 

 EVENT DETAILS:

WHEN:

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET

  • Registration: 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET
  • Forum: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET
  • Reception: 5:30 pm – 7:00 p.m. ET

 

WHERE:

Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, 9th Floor, New York City, NY

Media room will be in the “Jolson Room” on the 9th floor

 

For more information visit https://iii.swoogo.com/2019jif/registration. Registration is open to executives at P/C and life insurance companies, reinsurance companies, intermediaries and other related service organizations, including: CEOs; presidents; public and government affairs executives; insurance trade association leaders; regulators; and state and federal government representatives. Interviews with I.I.I. spokespeople and panelists are available upon request.