Tag Archives: COVID-19 p/c insurance impact

Social Inflation
and COVID-19

Social inflation” refers to rising litigation costs and their impact on insurers’ claim payouts, loss ratios, and, ultimately, how much policyholders pay for coverage. While there’s no universally agreed-upon definition, frequently mentioned aspects of social inflation are growing awards from sympathetic juries and a trend called “litigation funding”, in which investors pay plaintiffs to sue large companies – often insurers – in return for a share in the settlement.

If the idea of social inflation was controversial before the start of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic lockdown, with some calling it a hoax, the subject must now be looked at through the additional lens of COVID-19’s long-term impact on liability questions, plaintiff expectations, and juror attitudes.

A.M. Best said early in the crisis that COVID-19 could produce a big increase in social inflation. The reason: expectations that businesses would sue their insurers in an attempt to access their business interruption coverage for losses relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Such lawsuits have been and continue to be brought.

Hiscox warns about rising Florida risk

Despite reports of rate increases across the property catastrophe reinsurance sector at the mid-year renewals, a Hiscox executive has warned that these improvements could be offset by rising costs of risk in Florida, Reinsurance News reported

After consecutive heavy loss years, some fairly significant loss creep and low interest rates, coupled with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, reinsurance rates reportedly trended in a positive manner at the mid-year renewals, with rises of 20% – 30%, or more in some instances. While reinsurers will welcome rate increases after a prolonged soft market and subsequent pressured returns, the improvements might not be sufficient to account for the increased risk in the region’s market, according to Ross Nottingham, Chair of North America at Hiscox Re and ILS, a division of global insurer and reinsurer Hiscox.

“Why? Because these increases haven’t yet covered our own view of the increased risk in the Florida market, which suggests that the amount of risk going into these programmes is a lot higher than thought last year,” Nottingham said. “That means you might get a 30 percent increase on the programme, but if you’ve measured the risk to the layer and established that it’s potentially worth 40 percent more in premium than it was last year, the margin has in fact decreased.”

Nottingham said the increases being seen in the Florida market in 2020, while positive, are barely covering the additional risk that is out there as evidenced by the substantial levels of adverse loss development on prior year events.

“And what’s continuing to drive loss creep? The villain of the piece is social inflation – a factor not yet captured in the vendor cat models the industry benchmarks for measuring hurricane risk.”

Nottingham says that in Florida social inflation comes from a variety of sources, ranging from assignment of benefits (AOB) litigation to loss adjustment inflation.

AOB abuse has been mitigated somewhat by recent reform legislation. But Nottingham says this reform is expected to have a limited impact on catastrophic claims being litigated and related inflation of a claim once lawyers start to get involved through other avenues.

“Despite insurers’ best efforts to change their original policy forms or to de-risk in the worst performing areas, it is expected that AOB or equivalent abuse will continue after the next big loss event,” says Nottingham. “Two years ago, the market thought the physical attributes of Irma were akin to a one in 10-year event. The loss now – with the advent of social inflation-fueled loss creep – looks more like the cost of a one in 20-year event, but there is no new science to show the expected vulnerability or hazard has changed.”

Another important element impacting reinsurance rates this year is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which, Nottingham says hasn’t been factored into pricing for the months ahead. Forecasters predict an above-average level of hurricane activity in the Atlantic in 2020, which, coupled with the unprecedented impacts of the virus outbreak, presents unique challenges for the industry.

How Court Lockdowns May Turn Social Inflation Tide

COVID-19 may affect some aspects of social inflation in a different manner, Claims Journal reports.

Speaking at a recent Advisen event – Social Inflation: Truth or Fiction – defense attorney Ellen Greiper reported receiving more than the usual number of phone calls from plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“I have had a flurry of phone calls from plaintiffs who are now willing to take that [settlement] amount I had offered before,” said Greiper, a partner with Lewis Brisbois, Brisgaard & Smith. With courts having been closed as part of the general pandemic lockdown and now slowly reopening, “Those plaintiffs are realizing that they are not going to get a trial for at least two years, no matter what status their case may be and whether it’s discovery or past that. So now they are coming out of the woodwork.”

She added that the plaintiffs are “starting to realize that when we all come back and the jurors don’t have jobs or they’ve been furloughed, they’re not getting $10 million on a cervical fusion. They may realize that’s a ridiculous amount of money.”

Gauging Pandemic’s Impact on Insurers

While COVID-19’s impact on the insurance industry will require time to fully understand, litigation, legislation, and concerns about pricing and policy language will be with us for some time to come.

“Significant” changes in policy language seen

The majority of respondents to an Artemis re/insurance market survey believe the COVID-19 pandemic will result in “significant changes” to business interruption (BI) policy wordings.

In fact,  the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is conducting a review focused on obtaining legal clarity on policies connected to the pandemic and which claims are valid and which aren’t.

FCA’s Interim CEO Chris Woolard said recently that while some BI policies are paying out for virus-related issues, others remain “within dispute” due to ambiguities in their wordings.

Outside of the 67.6% who stated a belief that COVID-19 will drive “significant changes” in BI policy wordings, 21.6% expect a “moderate amount” of change, while the remaining 10.8% said the effect will be “limited.”

Loss estimates vary

The Artemis survey also shows 67% of respondents expect the industry to face between $80 billion and $100 billion of underwriting losses due to the pandemic. This is roughly in line with Lloyd’s of London’s earlier estimate of a $107 billion global industry impact.

But analysts from investment bank Berenberg said they believe global COVID-19 claims will be more manageable, estimating a range from $50 billion to $70 billion for the total bill. The analysts don’t specify whether this includes both life and non-life insurance claims from the pandemic, but they do point to the estimate from Lloyd’s of London as being too high.

“We estimate $50-70bn for global COVID-19 claims,” Berenberg’s analysts state. “Significantly less than the $107bn estimate reported by the Lloyd’s of London market estimate on 14 May.”

Las Vegas Hospitality Union Sues Employers

Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is suing several employers on the Las Vegas strip over unsafe working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, Business Insurance reported.

The union, representing 60,000 workers, said in a statement it is asking for injunctive relief under the Labor-Management Relations Act based on the “hazardous working conditions” workers face.

The lawsuit alleges casino hotels have not protected workers, their families, and their community from the spread of COVID-19 and that current rules and procedures in place for responding to workers contracting COVID-19 have been “wholly and dangerously inadequate.”

The Culinary Union made a number of requests for policy changes, including daily cleaning of guest rooms, mandatory testing of all employees for COVID-19 before returning to work and regular testing thereafter, adequate personal protective equipment for workers, and a requirement that guests wear face masks in all public areas.

Best Warning on COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Laws

Insurance rating agency A.M. Best has warned that legal efforts in several U.S. states to expand workers’ compensation coverage to allow employees to claim for COVID-19 will have a negative impact on re/insurers, Reinsurance News reports.

The crisis has resulted in many employees now working from home, but a significant part of the workforce still needs to be present and public facing, and this is the group new state laws aim to support. For these workers, some states are looking to shift the burden to the insurer to prove that an employee contracting COVID-19 did not do so while on the job.

“This shift in the burden of proof could lead to significant additional losses to a segment already under pressure and result in increased reserve estimates and higher combined ratios,” A.M. Best said.

Given that assumptions used in pricing and actual loss emergence diverge significantly, these legislative changes will result in an increase in loss estimates and could affect earnings.

Businesses Ask Patrons to Waive Right to Sue

As businesses reopen across the U.S. after coronavirus shutdowns, many are requiring customers and workers to sign forms saying they won’t sue if they catch COVID-19, Associated Press reported.

Businesses fear they could be the target of litigation, even if they adhere to safety precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials. But workers’ rights groups say the forms force employees to sign away their rights should they get sick.

So far, at least six states — Utah, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama — have such limits through legislation or executive orders, and others are considering them. Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are lobbying for national liability protections.

P&C COVID-19 Wrap-up
The Path to Reopening

Just as it has played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the insurance industry will be integral to the economic recovery as businesses and communities reopen. 

Aon forms recovery coalition 

Re/insurance broker Aon has formed a coalition of companies and organizations to focus on aiding social and economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reinsurance News reports

Starting in Chicago, the coalition will create a model and framework to inform criteria and guidelines to help restart the economy worldwide, with the aim of scaling the work to other key geographies, including London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo. The coalition will work closely with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s and Mayor Lightfoot’s offices to ensure alignment with public health and city/state official recommendations. 

The broker believes this will help to assess impact and measurement of efforts, evaluate the latest technologies, and develop guidelines to help navigate the challenges businesses face as society reopens. 

“We have used our expertise to assist clients in maintaining operations and mitigating risk during the pandemic—and believe we have a responsibility to play a larger role in helping the private and public sector navigate the recovery,” said Aon CEO Greg Case. 

Initial coalition members include: Abbott, Accenture, Allstate, Beam Suntory, BMO Harris, CDW, CNA, ComEd, ConAgra, Exelon, Fortuna Brands, Hyatt, JLL, McDonald’s, Mondelez, Morningstar, Motorola Solutions, Sterling Bay, Ulta Beauty, United Airlines, Walgreens, Whirlpool, and Zurich. 

S&P panelists wary of post-COVID-19 headwinds 

A panel of property and casualty insurers at the S&P Global Ratings’ Annual Insurance Conference  raised concerns about the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reinsurance News reports

S&P analysts currently believe COVID-19 related losses will total between $15 billion and $30 billion for the U.S. P&C market alone over the next two years. 

The panelists agreed that coverage for pandemic-induced business interruptions and losses will be a complicated issue for the industry to face, even though viruses are generally not a covered peril for commercial properties. 

“I never envisioned managing through a global pandemic,” said Christopher Swift of The Hartford.  

“Clearly the challenge is how you are operating both internally and externally,” said W. Robert Berkley, Jr., of WR Berkley. “It calls for flexibility, but also for the ability to plan amid uncertainty.” 

Panelists said workers’ compensation claims due to COVID-19 illnesses could be an inflection point, though, as states scrutinize policies given the rising number of these claims. If coverage is expanded, insurers will need to evaluate this risk and price accordingly. 

Moderator Kevin Ahern, managing director and analytical manager, S&P Global Ratings, noted that the U.S. P&C market faces many headwinds, not just those related to COVID-19. These include competitive pressures, the pricing/underwriting/reinsurance environment, and evolving regulatory and legislative developments. 

Iowa Legislature approves COVID-19 liability shield 

Legislation headed to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk would provide liability limitations on potential COVID-19 lawsuits for a broad range of businesses and organizations — among them restaurants, retail establishments, meatpacking plants, churches, medical providers and senior care facilities — provided they followed public health guidance, Business Record reported
 
Senate File 2338, the COVID-19 Response and Back-to-Business Limited Liability Act, would prohibit individuals from filing a civil lawsuit against a business or health care organization unless it relates to a minimum medical condition (a diagnosis of COVID-19 that requires in-patient hospitalization or results in death) or involves an act that was intended to cause harm or that constitutes actual malice. 
 
The legislation would protect tenants, lessees and occupants of any premises — including any commercial, residential, educational, religious, governmental, cultural, charitable or health care facility — in which a person is invited in and is exposed to COVID-19.   

However, liability would extend to anyone who “recklessly disregards a substantial and unnecessary risk that the individual would be exposed to COVID-19,” or exposes the individual to COVID-19 through an act that constitutes actual malice or intentionally exposes the individual to COVID-19. 

The provisions, which would be retroactive to Jan. 1, also shield health care providers from liability for civil damages “for causing or contributing, directly or indirectly, to the death or injury of an individual as a result of the health care provider’s acts or omissions while providing or arranging health care in support of the state’s response to COVID-19.” 

Ill. workers comp measure becomes law 

Legislation signed into law in Illinois will provide worker compensation benefits for front-line and essential workers who contract COVID-19 on the job under certain conditions, Business Insurance reports

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed H.B. 2455, which will provide death benefits for first responders who were presumably infected with COVID-19 on duty and also revises state code to expand unemployment benefits and enhance sick pay and leave for workers who contract the virus. 

Under the law, employers can rebut claims under certain conditions, including if they can demonstrate the workplace was following current public health guidelines for two weeks before the employee claims to have contracted the virus; provide proof the employee was exposed by another source outside the workplace; or that the employee was working from home for at least 14 days before the claimed injury. 

The law also says first responders, including police officers and firefighter who die after testing positive for COVID-19 or its antibodies, are entitled to death benefits. However, the virus must have been determined to have been contracted between March 9 — the first day of Illinois’ governor-mandated stay-at-home order — and Dec. 31, 2020. Under the law, the date of contraction is either the date of diagnosis with COVID-19 or the date the first responder was unable to work due to symptoms that were later diagnosed as related to COVID-19 infection, whichever occurred first. 

IRC Study: Social Inflation
Is Real, And It Hurts Consumers, Businesses

“Social inflation” is the name used to describe growth in liability risks and costs related to litigation trends. A new white paper by the Insurance Research Council  (IRC) examines this phenomenon and shows that insurers’ losses across several business lines have accelerated rapidly in recent years – much more rapidly than economic inflation alone can explain. 

Some have tried to downplay the importance of social inflation and even cast doubt on its existence. The IRC study draws from a range of industry and scholarly resources to show that it does exist and hurts individuals and businesses who rely on insurance. 

Among the drivers the IRC examines are: 

  • Shifts in public sentiment about litigation 
  • Increasing numbers of very large jury verdicts  
  • Tort reform rollbacks 
  • Legislative actions to retroactively extend or repeal statutes of limitationIncreased attorney advertising and involvement in liability claims 
  • Proliferation of class actions  
  • Emergence and growth of third-party litigation financing

Using loss data published by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the IRC documents loss trends in several key insurance lines, including commercial and personal auto insurance and product liability coverage. The report notes that loss trends reflected in the data “are consistent with anecdotal observations and concerns about the impact of social inflation on insurance claims costs.” 

The IRC draws extensively from scholarly and industry resources to document the trends referenced above and link them to rising claims and losses that in turn lead to more expensive insurance for businesses and consumers. While the analysis is based on data and trends that predate the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRC notes that state efforts to impose business interruption coverage for economic losses under insurance policies that specifically exclude bacteria and virus-related losses are a current example of the forces that drive social inflation. 

Social Inflation: Evidence and Impact on Property-Casualty Insurance is a valuable resource that explains the causes and impacts of social inflation. It can be downloaded from the IRC website. 

Further reading: 

Florida’s AOB Crisis: A Social-Inflation Microcosm 

Florida Dropped From 2020 “Judicial Hellholes” List 

COVID-19 Wrap-up: Pandemic Complicates Hurricane Preparation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an above-normal hurricane season in terms of the total number of storms. Its  2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook calls for 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic adds a layer of difficulty to hurricane preparedness, particularly when it comes to evacuation plans. Florida state officials anticipate the challenge of preparing shelters with social distancing measures in place and have asked FEMA for guidance. New Orleans is advising residents to plan to include hand sanitizer and face coverings in their emergency home kits and go-bags.

Likewise, the impending hurricane season subjects managing pandemic response and reopening the economy in its wake to additional uncertainty.

COVID-19 to Increase Hurricane Losses, Widespread Events the Most Artemis, May 26, 2020

Hurricane Season Gets A Little More Complicated With Coronavirus, Bloomberg Green, May 25, 2020

What Happens if a Hurricane Hits During the Pandemic? New York Times, May 24, 2020

COVID-19 to Increase Hurricane Losses, Widespread Events the Most Artemis, May 26, 2020

Global Risk and Insurance Impacts

The European Commission should create a European Union-based resilience framework to provide insurance cover for catastrophes, such as pandemics and huge cyberattacks, the Federation of European Risk Management (FERMA) said Tuesday.

Reuters reports that the proposed framework would involve public-private partnerships and could respond to events that create hefty business losses without physical damage.

Commercial prices climb

Prices for commercial insurance are rising at rates not seen for almost two decades, compounding pressure on businesses that are already struggling to deal with the coronavirus crisis, The Financial Times reports. Industry experts say that prices for some types of cover are doubling as insurers attempt to repair some of the damage the crisis has inflicted on their balance sheets.

Insurers are facing a double hit from coronavirus, the FT says. Claims from customers could pass $100 billion in total, while there has also been a hit to reserves from volatile financial markets.

French ruling puts coronavirus claims on global menu

Reuters reports that AXA will meet the bulk of business interruption claims from some restaurant owners in France after losing a court case seen as a potential precedent for coronavirus-related disputes across the world.

A Paris court ruled last week that AXA should pay a restaurant owner two months of revenue losses caused by the virus pandemic. AXA had argued its policy did not cover business disruption caused by the health crisis.

Business Interruption Coverage: Policy Language Rules

Whether business interruption coverage in property policies applies to COVID-19-related losses has become one of the dominant insurance debates during this pandemic. Lawsuits have been filed – some even before insurers have denied a claim – seeking to establish that policyholders are entitled to coverage for losses sustained during the current shutdowns. 

The debate often focuses on a simple phrase in the insurance policy: “direct physical loss or damage.” Business interruption coverage can apply to losses stemming from direct physical loss or damage. Losses that didn’t come from direct physical damages aren’t covered.

Michael Menapace, Esq.
Wiggin and Dana LLP

 “A property policy may, for example, pay to repair the damage caused by a fire and may cover the loss of business during the reconstruction period,” writes Michael Menapace, a professor of insurance law at Quinnipiac University School of Law and a Triple-I Non-Resident Scholar. “But here’s the rub.  Are the business interruptions related to COVID-19 caused by physical damage to property?”

Insurers say no, arguing that “damage to property” requires structural alteration like one would find in a typical claim, where, say, a fire destroyed the interior of a building or wind damaged windows and furniture.

The virus, on the other hand, leaves no visible imprint. Left alone, it can’t survive long and, after it has perished, whatever it was attached to is as good as before. Even if some remediation is needed – like cleaning metal surfaces – insurers might argue that this is no different from cleaning dirt off a surface. They cite cases in which judges have ruled there’s no physical damage from mold if the mold can be cleaned off.

Departing from common sense

Others depart from this common-sense, legally recognized definition. Some plaintiffs’ attorneys argue that if coronavirus is not direct physical damage then insurers would not have created an exclusion for viruses in the first place. Many insurers added exclusions for losses from viruses and communicable diseases after the SARS outbreak in 2003. 

Policy language, Menapace says, controls whether COVID-19 interruptions are covered. Some policies have standard terms and exclusions, some provide “all-risk” coverage – covering loss arising from any fortuitous cause except those specifically excluded – and others are variations on these types.

“The threshold issue will be whether the insureds can prove their business losses are caused by ‘physical damage to property’,” he writes. 

In past cases, where there is direct physical loss to property – such as contaminated food that couldn’t be sold or a building rendered useless by asbestos contamination – courts have found business interruption coverage was triggered. But when an earthquake caused a power loss in two factories, courts found the only injury was a shutdown of manufacturing operations that didn’t constitute “direct physical loss or damage.” 

What About Current Claims?

Are business interruptions related to COVID-19 the result of the government restrictions, or are they due to the physical loss to their property?  Menapace writes that many of the current claims would seem not to trigger the standard coverage in a commercial business interruption policy, but he cautions that this might not always be the case.

A true “all-risk policy,” he writes, “generally would not distinguish between business interruption losses due to government action or direct physical loss because all-risk policies cover all losses except those specifically excluded.”

But most commercial property policies aren’t true “all-risk policies”; instead, they typically cover business interruption losses “caused by direct physical damage to property” at or near the insured premises. 

“That will be difficult burden for policyholders to meet,” Menapace says.

Some policies exclude coverage for losses resulting from mold, fungi, or bacteria.  Because COVID-19 is a virus, that exclusion might not apply. Other policies exclude viruses, diseases, or pandemics. 

“If a policyholder believes it may have a claim,” Menapace advises, “it should provide prompt notice to its insurer(s) so it does not risk a denial based on late notice. Likewise, once the claim has been made, it is essential that the insured cooperate with the insurer, including providing timely proof of loss.”

Resources:

Business Income (Interruption): Key Facts

The True Cost of Rewriting Business Income (Interruption) Policies

Triple-I Briefing: Surplus Is Key to Insurers Keeping Policyholder PromisesISO Excluded Coronavirus Coverage 15 Years Ago

Economy Starts Reopening Amid New Pandemic Projections

Business interruption insurance and liability issues remain on the front burners as governments begin gradually “reopening the economy” amid scary new projections about the pandemic.

Trump Says Task Force Will Wind Down (The New York Times, May 5, 2020)

Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus Death Toll More Than Tripled in New Projection (Lehigh Valley Live, May 5, 2020)

Models Project Sharp Rise in Deaths as States Reopen (The New York Times, May 4, 2020)

D.C. Business Interruption Insurance Move on Hold

A measure that would make it easier for small businesses in Washington, D.C. to claim coronavirus-related damages under business interruption insurance policies is on hold after six of the 12 D.C. Council members raised concerns about its legality and the costs it could impose on insurers.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson struck the language from a broader pandemic emergency bill to allow for more debate. Councilman Charles Allen had spearheaded the measure after many small businesses have seen their insurers deny such claims.

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association estimates local businesses could claim losses of hundreds of millions of dollars each month.

“These numbers dwarf the premiums for all relevant commercial property risks in the key insurance lines for D.C., which are estimated at $16 million a month,” David Sampson, the association’s president and CEO, wrote in a statement. “We oppose constitutionally flawed legislation that retroactively rewrites insurance contracts and threatens the stability of the sector, to the detriment of all policyholders.”

Lloyd’s Syndicate Slams ‘Direct Physical Loss’ Claim in COVID Suit (Business Insurance, May 6, 2020)

Coalition Proposes Recovery Fund to Help Businesses During COVID-19 (Property/Casualty 360, May 5, 2020)

A.M. Best: BI Insurers Face ‘Existential Threat’ if Forced to Cover COVID-19 (Best’s Insurance News & Analysis, May 5, 2020)

Utah Governor Signs Bill Shielding Businesses, Property Owners from Coronavirus-Related Suits (The Salt Lake Tribune, May 4, 2020)

Managing Risk as Businesses Reopen After COVID-19 (Property/Casualty 360, May 4, 2020)

U.K. Companies to Shun Business Interruption Insurance (Financial Times, May 3, 2020)

Care Homes Seek Shield From Lawsuits

Faced with 20,000 coronavirus deaths and counting, the nation’s nursing homes are pushing back against a potential flood of lawsuits with a sweeping lobbying effort to get states to grant them emergency protection from claims of inadequate care.

The Associated Press reports that at least 15 states have enacted laws or governors’ orders that explicitly or apparently provide nursing homes and long-term care facilities some protection from lawsuits arising from the crisis. And in the case of New York, which leads the nation in deaths in such facilities, a lobbying group wrote the first draft of a measure that apparently makes it the only state with specific protection from both civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.

Feds Consider Relaxing Infection Control in U.S. Nursing Homes (USA Today, May 5, 2020)

1,700 More Nursing Home Deaths From COVID-19 Now Reported in New York (CNY Central, May 5, 2020)

The Grim Post-COVID-19 Future for Nursing Homes (Forbes, May 4, 2020)

Data Shows Reach of COVID-19 in Illinois Nursing Homes: At Least 286 Deaths (Chicago Tribune, April 19, 2020)

Navigating COVID-19
And Its Aftermath

As the federal and state governments discuss plans for “reopening the economy,” it’s important to recognize and plan for the fact that the impacts of the virus and our responses to it will be playing out for some time to come.

Were auto insurers too quick to give back?

Despite record-low vehicle miles traveled, Digital Insurance reports, severe and fatal crashes in U.S. cities have increased since COVID-19. There have been more speeding and more severe and deadly crashes than before the business shutdowns and sheltering in place instituted in response to the pandemic.

In New York City, traffic volume decreased between 78% and 92% compared to January, but there was a 57% increase in speeding violations in the 10 days following the governor’s stay at home orders. And there were six deadly crashes from March 2 to April 8, which is more deadly crashes than the same time period in any of the previous five years.

Numbers like these suggest the auto insurers that have returned more than $10 billion to policyholders through premium relief – on the premise that fewer cars on the road would mean fewer crashes and claims – might have acted prematurely.

A.I. to enforce social distance, limit liability

Reuters reports that stores and other workplaces eager to avoid spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 are equipping existing security cameras with artificial intelligence software that can track compliance with health guidelines including social distancingA. and mask-wearing.

The software will allow them to show not only workers and customers, but also insurers and regulators, that they are monitoring and enforcing safe practices.

“The last thing we want is for the governor to shut all our projects down because no one is behaving,” said Jen Suerth, vice president at Chicago-based Pepper Construction, which introduced software this month to detect workers grouping at a project in Illinois.

In other COVID-19 reporting:

Automobile Insurance

Detroit Car Makers Target May 18 U.S. Restart Date (The Wall Street Journal, 4/27/20)

Expect an Increase in Auto Insurance Adaptations (Property/Casualty 360, 4/27/20)

Liability and Litigation

The Legal Fight Between Insurers and Businesses Is Expanding (The Wall Street Journal, 4/29/20)

Fearing Raft of Lawsuits, Businesses Seek Shield From Pandemic Liability (The New York Times, 4/29/20)

Most Firms Neglected Pandemics in Annual Risk Assessments: Study (Insurance Journal, 4/28/20)

Marine Insurance

Insurance Considerations for Cargo Owners During COVID-19 (Property/Casualty 360, 4/28/20)

Workers Compensation

Calif.: Immigrant Workers Eligible for COVID-19-Related WC Benefits (Property/Casualty 360, 4/28/20)

States Aim to Expand Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 (The Wall Street Journal, 4/27/20)

Employers plot strategies for bringing workers back onsite (Business Insurance, 4/24/2020)

From the Triple-I Blog:            

SOME WAYS TO THINK ABOUT VIRUS’S IMPACT ON AUTO INSURER PROFITABILITY

ARE LIFE INSURERS DENYING BENEFITS FOR DEATHS RELATED TO COVID-19?

FAQs ABOUT COVID-19’S IMPACT ON WORKERS’ COMP

CORONAVIRUS WRAP-UP: PROPERTY AND CASUALTY (4/27/2020)

Accounting Rules
NAIC Working Group Approves Flexible COVID-19 Accounting Rules
Automobile Insurance
How the Coronavirus Could Change U.S. Personal Auto Insurance
Business Interruption
Travelers, Insured Law Firm Spar Over Civil Authority Business Income Loss Claim
States Seek to Force Insurance Companies to Pay Those With Business Interruption Policies
Covid-19 Business Interruption Existential Threat, Reinsurance Capital Availability Key: Willis Re
Credit Insurance
Governments should backstop trade credit
Litigation
The Race Is on to Lead Business Interruption Insurance Litigation
What Won’t Cure Corona: Lawsuits
6 Types Of Employment Lawsuits To Expect In The Wake Of COVID-19
Editorial: Stopping a Lawsuit Epidemic
Kudlow: Businesses shouldn’t be held liable for employees and customers getting coronavirus
Corporate America Seeks Legal Protection for When Coronavirus Lockedowns Lift
Profits & Losses
Coronavirus Costs Weigh on Travelers’ Profit
Coronavirus Will Be Largest Event in Insurance History, Says Chubb CEO
Coronavirus To Be Largest Industry Loss Ever: Chubb’s Greenberg & Lloyd’s Neal
Covid-19 P&C Insurance Industry Loss Estimated $40bn – $80bn: Dowling
Chubb Classifies Covid-19 as a Catastrophe Event
Covid-19 Claims Manageable, But Reinsurers Face Formidable Challenges: Willis Re
Specialty Lines
Companies Can Expect Higher D&O Rates, Lower Limits: Experts
Lack of Adequate Insurance Puts Healthcare Workers At Risk of Malpractice Lawsuits
Workers Compensation
States Easing Path to Workers Compensation Benefits for Coronavirus Workers
Changing Virus Guidance Creates Balancing Act For Essential Employers
Employers Pushing Back as States Expand Work Comp to Cover COVID-19
Workplace Safety For COVID-19 Essential Workers
From the Triple-I Blog:
TRIPLE-I CEO AMONG PANELISTS DISCUSSING BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE LEGISLATION
INSURERS RESPOND TO COVID-19 (4/24/2020)
CORONAVIRUS WRAP-UP: LIFE AND HEALTH INSURANCE (4/22/2020)
CORONAVIRUS WRAP-UP: DATA AND VISUALIZATIONS (4/20/2020)

CORONAVIRUS WRAP-UP: PROPERTY AND CASUALTY (4/22/2020)

Automobile Insurance
Erie Insurance Offering $200M dividend to Auto Insurance Customers Amid Pandemic
If Miles Driven Are Down, Why Are U.S. Auto Crashes Up?
Business Interruption
Federal Lawsuits Target Insurers Over COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
Covid-Fueled Supply Chain Disruption a Crunch Point for Insurance Claims
Businesses Contemplating Reopening Fear Lawsuits From Sick Patrons
Cannabis
20 Ways to Address Marijuana Reform Amid COVID-19
Directors & Officers
Top Exec With Coronavirus a Reportable Event? It All Depends
Financial and Business Impact
A.M. Best Forecasts Hit to Insurer Capital from Equity Exposures
Fraud
Pandemic Has Scam Artists Out in Full Force
Litigation
‘Act of God’ Disputes Are on Upswing
Travelers Hits Back With COVID-19 Claims Denial Suit
Fed-up Nurses File Lawsuits, Plan Protest at White House Over Lack of Coronavirus Protections
Travel Insurance
Impact of Covid-19 on Corporate Travel, Recovery & Way Forward
Cruise Ship Virus Losses May Hit Marine Liability Insurers
Workers Compensation
CA Virus Comp Costs Projected to Reach as High as $33.6B
Employers May Exclude Payroll to Employees Not Working for Workers’ Comp: NCCI
COVID-19 Presumptions May Lead to Billions in Workers’ Comp Losses