Isaias Expected
to Approach
Florida This Weekend

Hurricane Isaias is expected to strengthen somewhat, to a strong Category 1 hurricane, as it crosses over the Bahamas Friday and Saturday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) now forecasts Isaias will come extremely close to the east coast of Florida later this weekend. 

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the strongest winds in Florida will be felt from Pompano Beach to Palm Bay, where there’s potential for winds from 58 mph to 73 mph. Miami-Dade and most of Broward are predicted to see winds from 39 mph to 57 mph.

The NHC recently posted hurricane watches from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia-Brevard County line and forecasts two to four inches of rainfall from south-central to southeastern Florida, with potential totals of six inches. There is also the potential for some storm surge, with exact levels dependent on the future track and intensity of Isaias.

Residents are strongly encouraged to prepare for Isaias and other storms during this above-average hurricane season – particularly with the additional challenge of COVID-19.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said South Floridians should “start to examine what other opportunities or options they may have to be out of South Florida.”

Florida has recently experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases. In preparation for the storm, the Florida Department of Emergency Management has closed all state-run COVID-19 testing sites.

“The more that we can do as individuals and focus on the things we can do to reduce the burden on government will be extremely helpful as the mayor, the county administrator are tackling different new challenges and trying to be innovative to the point where we’re not shutting down government completely, but at the same time, we’re not unnecessarily allowing for hazards and exposures to this virus,” Tony said.

Wind-caused property damage is covered under standard homeowners, renters, and business insurance policies. Renters’ insurance covers a renter’s possessions while the landlord insures the structure.

Property damage to a home, a renter’s possessions, and a business – resulting from a flood – is generally covered under FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies, if the homeowner, renter, or business has purchased one. Several private insurers also offer flood insurance.

Private-passenger vehicles damaged or destroyed by either wind or flooding are covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. drivers choose to purchase comprehensive coverage.

Isaias Meets COVID-19: South Floridians Advised to Consider Evacuation

South Floridians should “start to examine what other opportunities or options they may have to be out of South Florida,” Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a virtual press conference as a broad area of low pressure looked increasingly likely to turn into Tropical Storm Isaias.

Tropical storm-force gusts could arrive in Florida as early as Friday night, but Saturday is much more likely, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Miami.  

Tony said the biggest hurdle officials anticipate during the 2020 hurricane season is the ability to effectively maintain social distance while taking in large numbers of people at county storm shelters. Florida has recently experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The more that we can do as individuals and focus on the things we can do to reduce the burden on government will be extremely helpful as the mayor, the county administrator are tackling different new challenges and trying to be innovative to the point where we’re not shutting down government completely, but at the same time, we’re not unnecessarily allowing for hazards and exposures to this virus,” Tony said.

In preparation for the storm, the Florida Department of Emergency Management has said it will close all state-run COVID-19 testing sites at the end of business day today.

The storm knocked out power to more than 300,000 clients across Puerto Rico, according to the island’s Electric Power Authority. Minor damage was reported elsewhere in the island, where tens of thousands of people still use tarps as roofs over homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 impacts likely in Puerto Rico, Florida

A broad area of low pressure called Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 will likely become Tropical Storm Isaias in the eastern Caribbean. If it were to get named, it would be the fifth named storm to form this July. The most Atlantic named storms to form in July on record (since 1851) is 5 in 2005.

The storm has potential to generate flash floods and mudslides in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as it strengthens. Tropical storm-force gusts could arrive in Florida as early as Friday night, but Saturday is much more likely, according to the National Weather Service Miami.

South Florida’s chances for experiencing tropical storm-force winds (speeds of at least 39 mph) stand at 15 percent to 25 percent in the next five days, the weather service said. It also said that “most of the rainfall this week will be over the interior and Gulf coast of southern Florida,” with rain chances increasing for Florida’s east coast on Friday.

Residents of Florida are strongly encouraged to prepare for Isaias and other storms during this above average hurricane season, and especially with the additional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a news conference that the biggest problem officials anticipate is the ability to effectively social-distance while taking in large numbers of people at county storm shelters.

South Floridians should “start to examine what other opportunities or options they may have to be out of South Florida, to push inland or even to push out of the state in advance,” he said.

Click here for Triple-I’s hurricane preparedness tips.

Chubb CEO says business interruption policies are a good value and work as they should

Evan Greenberg

In a July 29 earnings call Evan Greenberg, the CEO of Chubb, addressed the lawsuits filed by many businesses over business income (interruption) coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed that even though business interruption (BI) policies do not cover a pandemic, they are a good value and work as intended.

“Standard BI policies, which are an addendum to a fire policy, require direct physical loss or damage to the property, for example, a fire or flood damages the property and prevents the business from operating while repairs are being made.  COVID-19 does not cause physical loss or damage to a property, despite the trial bar’s efforts to influence some government officials in the wording of their civil public shutdown orders,” he said.

Greenberg reiterated the uninsurable nature of pandemics and the necessity for the federal government to take the lead in mitigating pandemic risks. To properly service all policyholders, Greenberg said, the insurance industry must not be distracted by attacks from the legal community.

The comments appear in their entirety below.  

Remarks from Evan Greenberg, Chubb Second Quarter Earnings Call, July 29, 2020

I am going to say a few words about the business interruption issue that I know is on the minds of many.  As you know, the insurance industry is under attack by the trial bar over business interruption claims.  They represent many businesses which purchased BI coverage that does not provide cover for pandemic, and these customers are understandably disappointed and upset.  Plaintiff attorneys are attempting to torture or reverse engineer insurance contract language to conjure up business interruption coverage that for the most part simply doesn’t exist. 

Coverage for a pandemic was never contemplated in standard business interruption policies, and therefore no premiums were ever charged for that risk.  In fact, state insurance regulators, who approve the policies, have been clear that this risk is not covered and that the industry could not cover the massive open-ended tail risk of a global pandemic because it threatens the industry’s solvency.  Without the federal government playing a major role to cover the tail risk, pandemics are simply uninsurable on a broad basis.

Standard BI policies, which are an addendum to a fire policy, require direct physical loss or damage to the property, for example, a fire or flood damages the property and prevents the business from operating while repairs are being made.  COVID-19 does not cause physical loss or damage to a property, despite the trial bar’s efforts to influence some government officials in the wording of their civil public shutdown orders. 

Though it doesn’t cover pandemic, standard BI coverage provides good value for the money.  We estimate the industry pays out about 70 cents in insurance claims for every business interruption protection dollar collected, with most of the remaining amount paid in commissions, premium taxes and other expenses.   For Chubb, in addition to our normal losses this year, we will pay BI claims for policies that specifically covered certain pandemic-related shutdowns such as those for the entertainment industry.

We care deeply about properly supporting and servicing all of our policyholders, and I have particular sympathy for the millions of businesses that have suffered terribly during the pandemic-forced economic shutdowns.  But it would be wrong – in fact, catastrophic and irresponsible – to pay the claims of those who didn’t have coverage, and in fact didn’t pay premiums for the coverage, by using funds that have been properly reserved for the legitimate claims of the vast majority of our P&C policyholders who number over 100 million globally. 

To provide some context, in 2019, Chubb paid $24 billion on approximately four million property and casualty claims.  Again, to pay billions of dollars in uncovered claims by raiding the reserves or capital needed to pay claims on other kinds of policies, such as auto and home, commercial insurance exposures, or respond to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and wildfires, would be irresponsible to the vast majority of our policyholders and to our shareholders.

Beyond the business interruption challenges of the current COVID-19 crisis, the insurance industry has an important role to play in society and in the economy, and that includes fully participating in the development of a prospective future pandemic business interruption solution should crises arise.  Earlier this month, Chubb released its Pandemic Business Interruption Program designed to mitigate the economic disruption and losses in the event of a future pandemic.

Our framework is not the first plan to be introduced. But the public-private partnership framework we developed has important differences from the other leading proposals. By sharing our ideas and approach, we hope to spark and influence a productive debate on a solution that will work for businesses of all sizes, taxpayers, our industry and the economy more broadly.

First and foremost, I believe the industry can and should take pandemic risk along with the government.  This is a peril that can be covered to a greater degree than we do today as long as the tail exposure is covered by the government.  It’s our job to figure out how to do that.  We can do more than simply play an administrative role or we belittle ourselves and we’re less relevant than we can or should be. 

The framework we announced has attributes that we believe will make for a successful program.  It accounts for the different needs of small, medium and, to a modest degree, large businesses. Premiums for small business will be affordable and they will be paid quickly. Larger companies would pay a fair and risk-adjusted price to both the government and insurers for pandemic cover in a program built on free-market principles.  The government gets paid for the use of its balance sheet – it’s not a handout to larger companies.

Our framework has incentives for broad participation by the industry. And by committing insurance industry capital and providing opportunity for increased risk-sharing over time as direct and secondary markets develop, the pandemic burden shouldered by the government will ultimately be lessened to a degree.

This is an important issue for our nation.  We look forward to contributing to the dialogue as policymakers work to refine the most effective solution.

Electric vehicle sharing programs: What to know before you ride

The proliferation of electric ride-sharing services throughout the U.S. is fueled by demand for affordable and green transportation options. Vehicles ranging from e-scooters, electric bicycles and mopeds are easily accessible via apps.

But regulators have to  balance the popularity of the sharing programs with public safety, as injuries and even a few fatalities have occurred.

Riders also need to be aware of the insurance issues surrounding these programs.

A ride-share company’s insurance policy might not cover a user in the event of an accident. Many companies require users to assume all liability arising out of their vehicle’s use.

That means if you’re driving a one of these vehicles and get in an accident:

  • You may have to pay out of your own pocket to repair property damage.
  • You may have to pay your own medical bills if you’re injured. You may also be able to use your health insurance.
  • If you injure a pedestrian, you could be held liable for their injuries.
  • If you damage another person’s vehicle or other property, you could be held liable for repairs.
  • That’s why it’s important to read the company’s user agreement, so you know your responsibility as a rider.

As for your own insurance, whether you’re covered depends on the specifics of your policies. You should speak to your insurer or agent. Expert opinion and wording are critical.

Medical costs to treat injuries sustained while operating an e-scooter or moped are addressed under the injured person’s health insurance. If the person was injured while using the vehicle for work-related purposes, the person could be eligible for workers compensation benefits.

Whether a user’s personal insurance would cover any third-party liability arising out of an accident they caused or contributed to varies by policy.

Homeowners: A standard homeowners policy will typically not cover liabilities arising out of the use of a motor vehicle, usually defined as any self-propelled vehicle. Homeowners policies also exclude any liability arising out of a motor vehicle rented to an insured. Renters insurance also will not cover vehicle-related liability.

Personal auto: The coverage on a personal car insurance policy generally does not extend to a rented electric vehicle. That means if you’re involved in an accident while driving such a vehicle, your car insurance policy will probably not pay for medical bills or property repairs (yours or another person’s). Similarly, if you have an insurance policy for your own moped, it likely will not cover you when you rent one.

Personal liability umbrella: Personal liability umbrella policies (PLUP) offer an extra layer of protection when an insured exhausts the limits of their underlying homeowners or auto policy. Such policies can also provide coverage for perils that are excluded from the underlying insurance policies. For example, unlike an auto policy, a standard PLUP doesn’t usually exclude vehicles with fewer than four wheels and therefore may provide some coverage for electric vehicle liabilities.

The bottom line is: check with your insurer or agent about your coverage.

Insurance Careers Corner: Q&A with Rahel Abraham, ClimaGuard

By Kris Maccini, Social Media Director, Triple-I

Triple-I’s “Insurance Careers Corner” series was created to highlight trailblazers in the insurance industry and to spread awareness on the career opportunities within the industry.

This month we interviewed Rahel Abraham, CEO of ClimaGuard, a Houston-based start-up that provides protective coverings for cars (and personal belongings) to prevent valuable losses from flood damage. Rahel shared her inspiration for creating ClimaGuard, her experiences as a first-time entrepreneur, and how she prepped her business for hurricane season, amid a pandemic.

Name: Rahel Abraham

Current Role: Founder & CEO, ClimaGuard

Years at Company: 2 years

Tell me about ClimaGuard. What led you to start the company in 2018?

The idea of ClimaGuard came about a month after Hurricane Harvey. This event was a historical devastation – not only were residential homes flooded, but many businesses and vehicles were flooded also. I lost my car, and there was a shortage of rental vehicles. Living in Houston, I depend on my mobility – being vulnerable post the hurricane was a challenge. I realized that I needed help, and so did many of my neighbors.

Shortly after the storm, a friend and I thought of an idea to produce a protective covering. As more hurricanes hit, we realized that flood mitigation wasn’t going to be solved overnight, but that we could come up with a way to help people safeguard themselves in real time. My background prior to ClimaGuard was in Engineering, so I knew that I had the background to create a product that would work.

ClimaGuard protective coverings can be used for other purposes outside of automobiles. I have a client who used it to protect a grandfather clock that was passed down through generations. I wanted the covering to be large enough to fit a car, but easy enough to use for quickly packing other valuable items in the home – sofas, electronics, tables, etc.

As CEO, what’s top of mind as you look to grow your business?

There are two goals that are top of mind: 1.) Spread awareness about flood risks, and 2.) Encourage and empower at-risk communities to proactively mitigate. Education in creating awareness for disaster planning and mitigation is vital to the growth of ClimaGuard. Whatever life looks like post-event – whether it’s running for home supplies, shopping for groceries, or accessing temporary living (hotel) – you need mobility, and, more importantly, peace of mind throughout the event.

It wasn’t until I got flooded that I understood the challenges post-flooding, and the financial costs to recover. I was fortunate to have a support system, but I know individuals who are still trying to recover three years after Harvey. I’m focused on preparing individuals and communities to get back up and running as soon as possible.

Being a woman and Black-owned business, what challenges have you faced in growing the company?

I didn’t know anyone personally who ran a successful product-based company, or any start-up, in general. I quit my job to pursue my business, so my cash flow was limited. I relied on my savings in the beginning, because I didn’t know how to seek funding. I was concerned that I would lock my business into a situation that would prevent it from thriving, if I didn’t partner with the right people. Because I didn’t have the network here, I went overseas to build partnerships, understand manufacturing, and learn how to create opportunities.

What activities have you been involved in to help build networking and partnerships?

Prior to COVID-19, I was part of an accelerator program called DivInc out of Austin, Texas. Austin is a great community for start-ups, and I wanted to be in the mix among entrepreneurs who were also starting from the ground up. After completing that program, I began outreach specifically to dealerships and the insurance industry. These two markets have proven to be good partnership opportunities for ClimaGuard. With insurance, my goal is to touch on the fleet business, the rental car space, and the commercial and residential customer base. With the dealerships, I am seeking access to the residential and commercial buyers who are invested in protecting their assets.

[ClimaGuard is currently a participant in Triple-I’s Resilience Accelerator]

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in seeking opportunities and overcoming challenges? 

Just like your ingenuity led to an idea that solves a real problem, that same creative thinking will lead you to solutions to overcome your challenges. Your path is your own, and you don’t need millions of dollars to make your start-up successful. You do not need a proven track record to show you are capable. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so don’t burn yourself out.

2020 is expected to be one of the worst hurricane seasons on record and the pandemic will bring about new challenges in disaster prep. How have these challenges impacted your business? How are you preparing for the season?

Currently, the nation is highly focused on COVID-19. The lack of attention to this hurricane season concerns me, however we are living in very unusual and uncertain times. Many of us, myself included, are taking things day by day. I’m trying to be observant of the climate and the emotional health of our communities. In terms of preparedness during hurricane season, I know that hurricanes and flash flooding only allow a few days of notice before hitting an area. I’ve ensured that ClimaGuard inventory is ready, and I’m prepared to ship units (with the available supply) through a local fulfillment business in Houston. ClimaGuard’s mission is to prevent loss from natural disasters, and we’re ready this season and preparing for next season. Our goal is increase inventory next year as we develop more opportunities with partners and retailers.

Triple-I Chief Economist: P/C Industry Strong, Despite Surplus Drop

Despite its largest-ever quarterly decline in policyholder surplus, the property/casualty insurance industry remained profitable in the first quarter of 2020 and remains financially strong, according to a commentary by Triple-I’s senior vice president and chief economist, Dr. Steven Weisbart.

Dr. Steven Weisbart

Policyholder surplus – the amount insurers hold in reserve to ensure that they can keep their promises to pay policyholder claims – dropped by $75.9 billion in the quarter as the stock market suffered a major downturn, according to a report by Verisk, a data and analytics provider, and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect many insurers and will likely impact underwriting results for the second quarter and the rest of the year.

“Thanks to continued premium growth and positive investment results, the industry turned in a profitable first quarter,” Weisbart says. “Most of its investment income comes from high-quality corporate and municipal bonds, which are not as volatile as investments in stock.”

The industry’s combined ratio – a widely used profitability metric – was 94.9 in the first quarter of 2020, compared with 95.6 for the same period in 2019. A lower ratio indicates better performance.

Combined ratios for insurers writing commercial lines coverage (excluding mortgage and financial guaranty) deteriorated 1.3 percentage points, to 97.7 percent. Personal lines insurers’ ratio improved 2.7 percentage points, to 92.2 percent. Insurers writing balanced books of business posted a combined ratio of 95.8, 1.3 percentage points better than in the prior year’s first quarter.

Property/Casualty Insurance Industry Suffered Largest-Ever Drop in Surplus in the First Quarter of 2020

Insurers Face Multiple Challenges as Impacts of COVID-19 Continue to Unfold

The surplus for the private U.S. property/casualty insurance industry dropped by $75.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020—its largest-ever quarterly decline—as the stock market suffered a major downturn, according to Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK), a leading data analytics provider, and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA). Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect many insurers and will likely impact underwriting results for the second quarter and the remainder of the year.

The surplus fell to $771.9 billion as of March 31, 2020, from the record-high $847.8 billion at the end of 2019. This drop was mostly driven by a decline in valuations of insurers’ investments. While the decline set surplus back to mid-2018 levels, traditional leverage ratios remained below their long-term averages.

Other industry results remained steady or improved from a year earlier. Net income after taxes in first-quarter 2020 was $17.9 billion, essentially the same as in first-quarter 2019. The net underwriting gain in the first quarter was $6.3 billion, a 19.9% increase from a year earlier. Net written premiums increased to $164.4 billion in first-quarter 2020 from $154.7 billion in first-quarter 2019—a 6.2% increase.

While having no apparent effect on first-quarter underwriting results, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruptions have affected many insurers, and the impact goes beyond the investment losses reported in the first quarter. Based on what is already known about the first half of 2020 and on available forecasts, significant changes are expected in insured exposures as well as in the amount and mix of claims. Verisk research estimates that personal auto insurers have offered more than $13 billion in policyholder rebates and credits. MarketStance, a Verisk solution, estimates that at least 1 million insured businesses in the United States will fail in 2020, and direct written premiums in commercial lines will decrease 2.8%.

“The historic drop in industry surplus in the first quarter was concerning for many insurers, as it began to show the impact of COVID-19 on their results,” said Neil Spector, president of ISO. “But the impact of COVID-19 on the industry is just beginning to unfold. Will personal auto insurers see the reduction in losses matching the policyholder rebates and credits offered this spring? To what extent will commercial lines premiums be affected by the challenges facing the economy? How will insurers adapt and continue to serve their customers efficiently in our new normal?”

Verisk recently created an online resource page at verisk.com/insurance/covid-19/ to help insurers learn about new regulations, read about critical insights, and discover new products being created to address the effects of COVID-19. It also recently launched a web page that provides strategies for personal lines insurers in the new normal: verisk.com/newnormal.

“Property/casualty insurers started the year with solid net written premium growth, but that was the calm before the storm,” said Robert Gordon, senior vice president for policy, research and international at APCIA. “By the end of the first quarter, insurers experienced their largest-ever quarterly surplus decline as the stock market suffered its largest drop since 1987 and interest rates reached a record low. While the industry remains safely capitalized, many individual insurers face potentially significant unknown coronavirus liability exposures, as well as political and regulatory threats of mandated retroactive and prospective COVID-19 coverage.”

View the full report from Verisk and APCIA here.  

About Verisk 
Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK) is a leading data analytics provider serving customers in insurance, energy and specialized markets, and financial services. Using advanced technologies to collect and analyze billions of records, Verisk draws on unique data assets and deep domain expertise to provide first-to-market innovations that are integrated into customer workflows. Verisk offers predictive analytics and decision support solutions to customers in rating, underwriting, claims, catastrophe and weather risk, global risk analytics, natural resources intelligence, economic forecasting, and many other fields. Around the world, Verisk helps customers protect people, property, and financial assets.

Headquartered in Jersey City, N.J., Verisk operates in 30 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s S&P 500® Index and part of the Nasdaq 100 Index. For more information, please visit www.verisk.com.

About APCIA
Representing nearly 60 percent of the U.S. property casualty insurance industry, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. APCIA represents the broadest cross section of home, auto, and business insurers of any national trade association. APCIA members represent all sizes, structures, and regions, which protect families, communities, and businesses in the U.S. and across the globe. For more information, visit www.apci.org.

Contact:

Joe Madden for Verisk
Joseph.Madden@verisk.com
201-232-4486

Jeffrey Brewer for APCIA
jeffrey.brewer@apci.org
847-553-3763

Loretta Worters for I.I.I.
lorettaw@iii.org
212-346-5575

Close call for Hawaii as Hurricane Douglas passes

Hurricane Douglas brought heavy rain and 90 mph winds to parts of Hawaii on Sunday July 26 as the Category 1 storm passed north of Maui and Oahu, avoiding a direct hit. Some bands of heavy rain with gusty winds did affect both islands.

Although landfalling hurricanes are rare in Hawaii, residents are still advised to know what to do before, during and after a hurricane.

Hawaii homeowners and renters insurance policies usually provide coverage for almost all standard perils (e.g., fire, explosion) and liability; however, some policies exclude hurricanes.

In Hawaii, homeowners and renters generally purchase hurricane and flood insurance policies separately to protect their property from those specific natural disasters and supplement their homeowners and renters insurance policies.

“In addition to encouraging consumers to buy the appropriate coverage, the Triple-I has been outspoken about the need to bridge the flood insurance coverage gap and build more resilient communities through its Resilience Accelerator,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Insurance Information Institute. “In fact, the average take-up rate for flood insurance in the entire state of Hawaii is 12.6 percent, which is an alarming recovery gap for citizens.”

Only a flood insurance policy, available through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and some private insurers, can protect a homeowner, renter, or business from flood-caused property damage. Most U.S. natural disasters involve flooding, and standard homeowners, renters, and business policies do not cover flood-caused damage.

An auto insurance policy’s optional comprehensive provision covers wind, hurricane, and flood-caused property damage to vehicles. 

COVID-19 and Workers Compensation: Impact Will Become Clearer … Eventually

By John Novaria

The impact of COVID-19 on workers compensation will come down to several fundamental questions in the coming months: Who’s at work? Who’s going back to work? And under what circumstances?

Experts addressed these questions during a webcast jointly sponsored by Triple-I and the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). The discussion was moderated by Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications, Triple-I.

While they agreed it’s too early to know all of the impacts of the virus on workers compensation, several important themes are emerging.

Sean Cooper, practice leader and senior actuary, NCCI, said the economy has experienced sudden job losses, compared to the Great Recession of 2008-09, when they were spread out over a period of time, and the nature of those jobs is much different.

“Back then you saw construction and manufacturing impacted greatly, while this time it’s hospitality, leisure and travel,” he said.

Cooper explained some of the varying impacts of COVID-19 on overall workers compensation claims: while COVID-19 claims will have an upward influence on claims, social distancing could put downward pressure on frequency. He also noted telehealth could put downward pressure on the cost of claims.

NCCI files rates and loss costs for every job classification in 38 states, and submits those to regulators for approval in each state. The organization has taken several actions and made several changes to reflect COVID-19.

“We began collecting payroll for furloughed workers so that payroll wouldn’t be used in premium calculations,” said Jeff Eddinger, senior division executive, NCCI. “We are also tracking legislation in each state that affects compensability presumptions.”

Triple-I chief economist Dr. Steven Weisbart pointed out that the last recession was a lengthy one – lasting 19 months – and this one in contrast is unique because it largely depends on a virus and society’s ability to successfully combat it.

Weisbart said he believes the nation will emerge from this pandemic with a different type of economy.

“Telecommuting will be one of the new norms,” he said. “People are recognizing they can do most jobs at home, and companies don’t have the expense of renting office space.”

Weisbart also thinks there will be some additional conversion to robotics and machine jobs, and the number of jobs performed by people may well shrink. He says these types of changes in the workplace will make some difference over time in the types of jobs available and skills required.

Until now, few would have considered a pandemic a likely workers compensation catastrophe. Eddinger noted that traditional methods for calculating the impacts don’t work for low frequency, high severity events.

“NCCI has engaged a modeling firm to evaluate if a pandemic catastrophe provision would be appropriate for future rate filings,” he said. “After 9/11 we applied terrorism models in all 38 of our states, but that was more straightforward because compensability applied to all workers; if you were at work during an event you were covered.”

Watch the highlights: Webcast Highlights Video

Watch the full webcast: Impact of COVID-19 on Workers Compensation Insurance

Additional Resources: 

Media Coverage:

Latest research and analysis