Category Archives: Webinars

Bracing for Another Brutal Wildfire Season

Wildfires in California and across the West are starting earlier and ending later each year.  The ongoing drought worsened last week, with every part of the state in moderate drought or worse.

After a 2020 fire season that Janet Ruiz, Triple-I’s California-based director of strategic communications, called “anything but normal,” this year’s season may be even worse.

Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer, more intense dry seasons that make forests more susceptible to wildfire. The fire season’s length is estimated to have increased by 75 days across the Sierras and seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state.

“Hots are getting hotter”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently expanded a drought emergency declaration while seeking more than $6 billion in multiyear water spending.

“The hots are getting a lot hotter in this state, the dries are getting a lot drier,” he said. “We have a conveyance system, a water system, that was designed for a world that no longer exists.”

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has called for property insurers across the state to play a larger role in boosting wildfire preparedness among homeowners and businesses by providing more wildfire mitigation incentives. He spotlighted eight insurance companies in the state and the California FAIR Plan, which offer discounts to policyholders that have taken adequate steps to harden homes and mitigate wildfire risk.

This group represents only 13 percent of the state market, and Lara hopes the figure will rise significantly this year.

“Insurance companies support and echo Commissioner Lara’s call for mitigation,” Mark Sektnan, vice president of American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), said in a statement on behalf of APCIA, the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC), and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).  “Insurers are working with scientists and modelers to further the science of understanding how to better mitigate wildfire risk and understanding the value of various mitigation programs and efforts. While we cannot stop wildfires, we are learning how to mitigate the risks and are moving towards understanding and quantifying the value of individual and community mitigation. Insurers encourage homeowners, renters and businesses to get their property and finances ready for wildfires, as we are facing another dry, hot summer.”

Mostly caused by people

As much as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, downed power lines, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety provides recommendations for reducing the likelihood of your home catching fire, including noncombustible siding, decking and roofing materials; covered vents; and fences not connected directly to the house. In addition, combustible structures in the yard such as playground equipment should be at least 30 feet away from the house and vegetation 100 feet away.

But given weather, climate, and population trends, more than individual planning and risk transfer through insurance will be required to head off wildfire risk and bounce back from events. Innovation and a resilience mindset on the part of governments, businesses, homeowners, and communities will need to take hold.

Want to learn more about wildfire mitigation and resilience? Register for “Wildfire Ready: How Do You Prepare Your Home and Finances for Wildfires?” on May 20 at 10 a.m. (PT)

Experts discuss social inflation in a Tobin College of Business webinar

Social inflation – increasing insurance claims costs related to legislative and litigation trends – may be spreading beyond the United States, attendees were told at a webinar with the Greenberg School of Risk Management of St. John’s Tobin College of Business.

The webinar, held on February 10, was aimed to help lawyers and claims professionals understand the phenomenon, which is characterized by claims costs rising faster than general economic inflation can explain.

Annette Hofmann, Ph.D., professor of actuarial science at the Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science, pointed out that “though it is largely a U.S. issue, there are signs of social inflation in other countries with potential for further international contagion, albeit not to the same degree as in the U.S.”

She added that the impact of social inflation in the U.S. has been most evident in commercial auto liability insurance.

“Litigation finance, societal attitudes toward corporations and large jury payouts are all behind the phenomenon,” according to James Lynch, Chief Actuary of Triple-I and one of the presenters.

In his presentation, Lynch showed how incurred losses in commercial auto liability have been climbing steeply since 2010.

Lynch said Triple-I studied the link between social inflation and trends in actuarial data (rising loss development factors) by focusing on long-tailed liability lines including Commercial Auto, Medical Malpractice and Other Liability.

He said actuaries look at the pattern of reported losses – the sum of claims experts’ estimates of every known loss. Even if the ultimate amount of claims rises or falls from year to year, the pattern of emergence should stay the same. That hypothesis is at the core of standard actuarial practices.

In this case, it is increasing.

One interesting offshoot of this work is that actuaries can also predict how much in losses will be reported in any 12-month period. The chart on the right shows how actuaries analyzing countrywide data have not been able to do this in commercial auto. And this is not just happening in auto, medical malpractice occurrence, and other liability are seeing the same effect.

Lynch went on to discuss some of the potential reasons behind large jury payouts. One explanation is the darker view of life that people have. Confidence in government has plummeted, incomes and life expectancy have declined, and Google Trends indicates that searches for the word “dystopia” have increased by over 400 percent from 2005 to 2020.

In the meantime, Lynch and another presenter, Julie Campanini of Magna Legal Services, noted that huge amounts of money have been normalized by billion-dollar lottery jackpots, sky-high celebrity net-worth, and news reports of “nuclear” awards verdicts.

Other speakers included:

  • Jonathan E. Meer, partner at Wilson Elser, who spoke about the state of tort reform.
  • Jeff Cordray, a vice president and economist at Christensen Associates, who discussed the importance of determining economic damages, particularly when there is a potential for punitive damages in a case.

To view the slides from the webinar click here.

Triple-I and Milliman forecast: commercial and personal auto and workers comp

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

During an exclusive Groundhog Day webinar presented to Triple-I members by Triple-I and Milliman, experts talked about what the insurance industry can expect in 2021.

Auto Insurance Report editor Brian Sullivan looked at both personal and commercial auto insurance.  “For the first nine months, private passenger auto liability written premium was down less than two percent, but losses incurred were down more than 14 percent with loss ratios likely to be in the mid-50s.”

On the commercial side, Sullivan noted that commercial auto trends aren’t as powerful as those for personal lines. “Things have gotten better in terms of losses, but not that much better; certainly, nothing like personal auto,” Sullivan said.

Jeff Eddinger, senior division executive at the National Council for Compensation Insurance (NCCI), gave an early look at 2020 results for workers compensation insurance. “The pandemic has landed the U.S. economy into a recession. Significant job losses combined with changes in wage and rate levels have put downward pressure on premiums.  NCCI estimates that private carrier net premium written will be down about 8 percent for 2020.” 

Eddinger noted that as the virus began to spread in 2020, so did the concern that COVID claims could overwhelm the system. “Fortunately, that has turned out not to be the case. At the same time, there has been a drop in non-COVID claims, due in part to more remote work and less work-related driving. So far, incurred losses have decreased about 8 percent, in line with the drop in total premium. As a result, the estimated calendar year combined ratio for 2020 is almost unchanged from 2019 at 86. This would be the seventh straight year of underwriting profit for workers compensation.”

The industry is financially strong but continues to face uncertainty, Eddinger warned. “The vaccine rollout has begun, but new cases of the virus in the U.S. have soared to record levels.  In addition to COVID claims, industry leaders are concerned about regulatory activity related to presumptions, the economic downturn and the long-term impact of working from home,” Eddinger said.

To learn about Triple-I membership, visit iiimembership.org

Virtual Triple-I Forum Reviews 2020, Looks Ahead at Risks, Opportunities

Sean Kevelighan, Triple-I CEO

Insurance is a business that promotes and demands resilience, and 2020 was a year-long case study in our industry’s ability to respond rapidly to new challenges from a firm financial foundation. Triple-I’s virtual Joint Industry Forum (JIF) provided many examples from a range of industry and academic leaders, along with insightful discussions about what the industry faces in the near and longer terms.

At the 2020 JIF in New York City, it was clear from our various panels that the industry had a full plate of priorities for the year ahead. Then came COVID-19, and a whole new set of public health and economic concerns was added to the existing exposure mix. The virus brought a strong economy nearly to a halt; while officials assessed and responded to these threats, civil unrest on a scale not seen since the 1990s broke out on the streets of many cities; historic and near-historic weather and wildfire activity descended on communities whose resources were already strained by the pandemic.

And all of the above took place amid the uncertainty created by the most contentious, chaotic election year in modern U.S. history.

Through it all, as this year’s JIF speakers described, the property/casualty insurance industry managed to shine.

“Look at how our companies performed” in the real-time shift to fully remote work, noted Chuck Chamness, President and CEO of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC). “Then look at the dynamic changes in our businesses caused in large part by the pandemic, where we gave back $14 billion in premiums to policyholders and contributed a couple of hundred million dollars-plus in charitable contributions. We really did our job this year.”

David Sampson, American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) President and CEO, added that the “bulk of the industry came together to proactively work with agents and policymakers to create a solution that could work for all stakeholders to provide protection against widespread economic shutdown as a result of a viral outbreak.”

APCIA, NAMIC, and Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America proposed to Congress a Business Continuity Protection Plan (BCPP) that would allow businesses to buy revenue-replacement coverage for up to 80 percent of payroll and other expenses in the event of a pandemic through state-regulated insurance entities, with aid coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which would run the program.

Our industry also faced a literal existential threat in the form of efforts to require insurers to pay billions in business income (interruption) claims for which not one penny of premium had ever been paid. Thanks to industry leaders stepping up to educate policymakers and the media, much of this threat – though, by no means all of it – seems to have faded. Triple-I’s Future of American Insurance & Reinsurance (FAIR) campaign played a critical role in informing policy discussions on business interruption coverage, the uninsurability of pandemic risk, and the need for federal involvement to mitigate the financial impact of future pandemics.

Throughout this year’s virtual JIF, the emphasis on innovation is a consistent thread. Peter Miller, President and CEO of The Institutes, observed that the pandemic and its attendant operational and economic stresses forced the industry into innovation overdrive. He cited a member of The Institutes’ board saying 2020 “caused them to do 10 years of innovation in one,” adding that board members have told him work-from-home alone has saved their companies “one hundred-plus million dollars a year.”

Whether discussing the industry’s response to climate change and extreme weather or how to communicate the importance of risk-based pricing to policymakers, innovation is at the heart of solving every challenge (and seizing every opportunity) our industry faces. Peter emphasized the importance of using innovation strategically across the entire value chain – not just to solve specific problems as they emerge.

In addition to the panelists I mentioned above, the conversations featured a cross section of industry leaders, Triple-I subject-matter experts and non-resident scholars. If you weren’t able to attend, you can view and watch the panels here.

One Year. Two Forums. We’re Virtual in January and In Person in June

2021 is already looking brighter. Triple-I is presenting not one, but two, Joint Industry Forums in 2021! We’re kicking off the year with our virtual forum—Virtually Together: Insuring Our Way Forward—on Jan. 28. Then we’re making plans to gather in June in Washington, DC.

Registration for our first virtual Joint Industry Forum is complimentary. Plus, attendees to the virtual Forum receive a discounted registration for the in-person event.

Our virtual Forum focuses on the industry’s shared work to insure and protect. We have three sessions on tap for the day featuring dynamic industry thought leaders.

Trade Winds Navigation: More Rough Waters or Smooth Sailing Ahead?

Climate Change Risk & Resilience: Facing the Facts

CEO Perspectives

Confirmed Speakers (with more to be announced soon!)

• Tim Adams, President and CEO, Institute of International Finance

• Charles Chamness, President and CEO, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

• Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Insurance Information Institute

• Peter Miller, President and CEO, The Institutes

• Frank Nutter, President, Reinsurance Association of America

•David Sampson, President and CEO, American Property Casualty Insurance Association

Register today

Resilience Town Hall: Looking Back and Ahead

It’s become commonplace to say COVID-19 has “changed everything” and that we’re now figuring out how to live within “the new normal.” But listening to five experts in yesterday’s Resilience Town Hall, I was repeatedly struck by how much 2020 – with its pandemic and record-breaking hurricanes, wildfires, and civil unrest – has uncovered holes in our “old normal” existence that have long needed fixing.

The town hall – the last this year in a series presented by Triple-I and ResilientH2O Partners in partnership with the Resilience Accelerator –  brought these experts together to discuss lessons learned from 2020 and predictions for 2021. 

“Disasters can and will happen,” said Carlos Castillo, chief development officer at Tidal Basin Group, who previously led resilience efforts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “The challenge is for people to recognize that they can happen to them and there are things they can do about them.”

Castillo spoke about FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. In 2020, BRIC made $500 million available on a competitive basis for disaster mitigation programs. While that amount won’t solve the nation’s disaster worries, Castillo said, the idea was to encourage public and private entities to provide matching funds for efforts that would make a real difference.

COVID-19 has made even more federal money available to states and localities and spurred projects that might not be obviously pandemic-related at first glance. Castillo cited one state that is applying for federal funds to fix its roadways to improve access to healthcare facilities. Such improvements would benefit the state and its people not just during a pandemic but in all kinds of emergencies.

This matters because, as Castillo put it, “the pandemic has shown us the importance of our logistics systems. Suddenly, everybody’s competing for masks, gowns, gloves, and respirators. It’s a matter of life or death.”

Public-private partnership

Public-private collaboration was a prominent theme. Rich Sorkin, CEO and cofounder of data and analytics company Jupiter Intelligence, said that only three years ago resilience was “almost the exclusive province of the public sector.”

But by the start of 2020, he said, climate change and its impacts were among the top priorities identified by many commercial entities, “especially in financial services.”

COVID-19 interrupted that immediate focus.

“Executives were distracted dealing with disruptions in their own internal workflows and with changes in the economy,” Sorkin said. Nevertheless, he noted several positive developments, including BRIC and the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment – an effort by insurers, investors, asset managers, analytics firms, and regulators to understand the return on investment in resilience and communicating it to financial markets.

Sorkin said he expects 2021 to be a “breakthrough year for the private sector from a resilience perspective.”

Richard Seline, co-founder of the Resilience Innovation Hub, reinforced Sorkin’s prediction, stating that “the private sector no longer leaves it to the government to be the driver of solutions.”

Behavioral change

Dr. Michel Léonard, CBE, Triple-I vice president and senior economist, pointed out that the insurance industry has continued to provide coverage throughout 2020 on economically viable terms for consumers and businesses.

“One of the reasons we’ve been able to maintain this ecosystem,” he said, “has been our work with regulators and commissioners – and increasingly with consumers, to be able to drive behavioral change.”

Léonard and the other speakers discussed the complexity of bringing about such change – the role of regulations and incentives, the importance of data-driven decision making, and getting consumers to engage in the sort of cost-benefit analysis usually associated with professional risk managers.

 “Whether it’s building codes or pre-emptive risk mitigation, it costs money,” Léonard said, “Whether it’s new construction or public or private, you have to have people ultimately say, ‘It’s worth the money’.”

He added that technology – such as telematics for cars and smart-home systems – is providing data that can support arguments for change.

Eleanor Kitzman, founder of Resolute Underwriters and a past insurance regulator for Texas and South Carolina, described the fragmentation and politicization that can make such change difficult.

 “We’ve got a real lack of alignment – not among interests, because the interests are aligned – but of incentives,” she said. “I’m focused on windstorms at a residential level, but also on the impact it has on communities.  These storms devastate communities, and some of them never come back. And it’s so avoidable.”

Latest “Lightning Round” Highlights Resilience Hack-a-Thon Winners

Last week’s Lightning Round III: Products and Services for Disaster and Risk Mitigation featured presentations by four teams of entrepreneurs who have developed products to boost societal resilience and mitigate natural disaster risks. This was the third time this year that Triple-I and its Resilience Accelerator, ResilientH20 Partners and The Cannon, have connected entrepreneurs with leading insurance innovation specialists and investors.

The first two presentations were by prize-winning teams from 2020’s Hack-for-Resilience competition, which was hosted by Wharton Risk Center and Triple-I’s Resilience Accelerator. The teams presented:  

  • Air.ly:  An app that identifies locales near wildfire zones where individuals afflicted with respiratory issues, or other health complications, can find fresh-air recreation opportunities. It won the prize this year for the Best Overall Hack-for-Resilience.
  • Insura: An app that uses a home’s location and historical loss data to recommend mitigation and maintenance activities that could reduce a homeowner’s insurance premiums.  It won this year’s prize for the Best Application of Insurtech.

Ami Nachiappan, a Junior at New York University, presented on behalf of the four-member Air.ly team.

“For many with sensitive respiratory systems, the wildfires’ smoke has created difficulty breathing and dizziness,” she said, pointing out that this can be the case hundreds of miles from fire locations and long after the blazes have been extinguished.

Air.ly provides “a comprehensive visualization of real-time air-quality data across the U.S.,” as well as well as recommending locations for safe outdoor recreation activities. Existing weather apps that display air-quality information lack “call to action options and cautionary warnings,” and recreation apps like Yelp lack real-time weather and air-quality information.

This fragmentation, Nachiappan said, is what sets Air.ly apart.

Savan Patel, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke for the four-member Insura team. Insura is a third-party “gamification platform” for home improvement products modeled after applications that seek to reduce automobile accidents and claims by influencing driver behavior.

In addition to the hack-a-thon winners, two established businesses – members of the Resilience Innovation Hub “portfolio of disaster risk-mitigation innovation” presented their products:

  • Thermal Gate™ 2.5:  An artificial intelligence-based system that screens and detects individuals who have an elevated body temperature before they enter venues that are open to the public.
  • Mesh++ : A just-in-time WiFi community network that requires no external power or wiring to generate broadband access for first-responders, citizens, and preparedness interests.

All four presentations can be viewed below:

Lightning Round Webinar Showcases Cutting Edge Disaster Mitigation Technologies

Four entrepreneurial teams who have developed products to boost societal resilience and to mitigate natural disaster risks will present them during a free Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) event on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m., ET.

Billed as the Lightning Rounds for Resilience and Pre-Disaster Mitigated Innovations, it is the third time this year the Triple-I and its Resilience Accelerator, ResilientH20 Partners and The Cannon, have connected entrepreneurs with leading insurance innovation specialists and investors. Pre-registration is required.

The first of the day’s two panels will feature the web-based apps developed by the prize-winning teams from 2020’s collegiate Hack-for-Resilience III. The Triple-I and the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania honored these two student entrepreneurial teams in September 2020.

  • Air.ly:  The app identifies locales near wildfire zones where individuals afflicted with respiratory issues, or other health complications, can find fresh air. It won the prize this year for the Best Overall Hack-for-Resilience.
  • Insura: The app uses a home’s location and historical loss data to recommend mitigation and maintenance activities which could reduce a homeowner’s insurance premiums.  It won this year’s prize for the Best Application of Insurtech.

“We’re excited to spotlight the outstanding work of talented students who have accepted the challenge to build and empower the resilience movement. Products like Air.ly and Insura are proof today’s brightest young minds are creating the tools that will better allow people to navigate through, and prepare for, natural disasters,” said Michel Leonard, PhD, CBE, Vice President and Senior Economist, Triple-I.

Two established businesses – members of the Resilience Innovation Hub “portfolio of disaster risk-mitigation innovation” -will present their products and services during the event’s second and final panel:  

  • Thermal Gate™ 2.5:  The artificial intelligence (AI) based system screens and detects individuals who have an elevated body temperature before they enter venues which are open to the public.
  • Mesh++ : The just-in-time WiFi community network requires no external power nor wiring to generate broadband access for first-responders, citizens, and preparedness interests.

Click here to register.

Is Your Business Ready for Disaster? National Preparedness Month Webinar

September 16, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

This year’s National Preparedness Month theme of “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today” has never been more appropriate. Join the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) during National Preparedness Month for a live webinar on how to prepare for severe weather, COVID-19 interruptions, and other forms of disaster that can have a significant impact on small businesses.

The webinar will showcase small businesses as they share their stories of preparing for and successfully recovering from disaster. In addition to these stories, the webinar will also cover what small business loans are available after a disaster, what tools are available to help businesses prepare, and what you need to know about insurance coverage.

SPEAKERS

Gail Moraton, CBCP – Business Resiliency Manager at IBHS

Alison Bishop, Internal Operations Manager at Spry Health, Inc. (https://spryhealth.com/)

Alejandro Contreras – Director of the Office of Preparedness, Communication and Coordination in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA)

Janice Jucker – Co-Owner at Three Brothers Bakery, Houston, TX – 2018 Phoenix Award Winner for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery (https://3brothersbakery.com/)

Loretta Worters – Vice President, Media Relations at Triple-I

From hurricanes to wildfire, tomorrow’s webinar with IBHS, Triple-I and Small Business Administration will cover all disasters and how you can prepare your business.

Register now at: http://bit.ly/npm-webinar

Webinar: Wildfires are here—be CA wildfire ready with tips to protect property and finances

With another catastrophic wildfire season again underway in California, join this press conference to hear from fire science and insurance experts on practical steps homeowners and renters can take to reduce their risk from wildfires. Learn where to start and what actions communities need to take first to continue to adapt to wildfire and stay protected.

Register now to join experts from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Triple-I, the Insurance Institute for Business Home and Safety and the National Fire Protection association on September 3, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. PT. Register now