By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I
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.”
Backgrounder: Captives and Other Risk-Financing Options
Firm Foundation: Captives by State
From the Triple-I Blog: