In 2018, extreme weather had a devastating impact on certain states – primarily driven by increasing severity, rather than frequency, of catastrophic events. LexisNexis Risk Solutions‘ recently released, fourth annual Home Trends Report highlights the impact that the 2018 extreme weather events had on insurance losses. A staggering 56% of all catastrophe claims come from just four states: California, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.
States hit by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, the California wildfires and severe hail saw the most catastrophic losses. Claims in these states are also up to 56% from the 36% of claims these states accounted for in 2017. The latest Home Trends Report underscores the growing need for insurers to understand and respond to by-peril loss trends and the potential for climate change and extreme weather to drive these losses.
While fire losses have continued to increase since 2012, catastrophe claims accounted for nearly 40% of fire losses in 2018 – the highest in a decade and a significant jump from the previous high of 15%. As a result of hurricane devastation to North Carolina and Florida, 2018 was also the worst year on record for wind claim severity, up 15% from 2017. Hurricane devastation also led to a costlier September in North Carolina, with loss costs 17 times more than a typical September. While Colorado was unaffected by the hurricanes and wildfires, the state ranked the highest in loss cost overall for 2018, as well as the highest over the six-year period (2013-2018) that the study tracks. In terms of hail, Texas continued to top the nation for claims, representing 29% of total volume.
The report highlights some of the challenges that home insurance carriers face in managing by-peril risks, including increasing severity and unpredictability of weather-related patterns and their impact on catastrophic claims. The report also underscores how it is imperative that home insurance carriers collect, analyze and use aggregated by-peril data to help generate a deeper understanding of the risks associated with a particular location and of how to price future policies accordingly. For the long term, aggregated by-peril data can enable more accurate pricing, a healthier book of business.
If you are interested in learning more about the impact of extreme weather events on insurance losses, click here for the LexisNexis Home Trends Report.
The range of risks facing company executives or directors and officers (D&Os) – as well as resulting insurance claims scenarios – has increased significantly in recent years. With corporate management under the spotlight like never before, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty has identified, in its latest risk report, Directors and Officers Insurance Insights 2020, five mega trends that will have significant risk implications for senior management in 2020 and beyond.
1. More litigation is coming from “bad news” events
Allianz continues to see more D&O claims emanating from “bad news” not necessarily related to financial results, including product problems, man-made disasters, environmental disasters, corruption and cyber-attacks – “event-driven litigation” cases that often result in significant securities or derivative claims from shareholders after a share price fall or regulatory investigation related to the “bad news” event.
Plaintiffs seek to relate the “event” to prior company or board statements of reassurance to shareholders and regulators of no known issues. Of the top 100 US securities fraud settlements ever, 59% are event-driven.
One of the most prevalent types of these events is cyber incidents. Allianz has seen a number of securities class actions, derivative actions and regulatory investigations and fines, including from the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in the last year, and expects an acceleration in 2020.
Companies and boards increasingly will be held responsible for data breaches and network security issues that cause loss of personal information or significant impairment to the company’s performance and reputation. Companies suffering major cyber or security breaches increasingly are targeted by shareholders in derivative litigations alleging failure to institute timely protective measures for the company and its customers.
The Marriott case – where the hotel chain announced that one of its reservation systems had been compromised, with hundreds of millions of customer records left exposed – is a recent example of a cyber breach resulting in D&O claims – one $12.5 billion lawsuit among several filings alleges that a “digital infestation” of the company, unnoticed by management, caused customer personal data to be compromised for over four years.
2. ESG and climate change litigation on the rise
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) failings can cause brand values to plummet. And investors, regulators, governments and customers increasingly expect companies and boards to focus on ESG issues, such as climate change, for example. Climate change litigation cases have been brought in at least 28 countries to date (three-quarters in the U.S.). In the U.S., there are an increasing number of cases alleging that companies have failed to adjust business practices in line with changing climate conditions.
Human exploitation in the supply chain is another disrupter and illustrates how ethical topics can cause D&O claims. Such topics can also be a major focus for activist investors whose campaigns continue to increase year-on-year.
Appropriate company culture can be a strong defense risk-mechanism. Many studies show board diversity helps reduce and foresee risk. Regulators are keen to investigate and punish individual officers rather than the entity, forcing directors into increased personal scrutiny to provide assurance that they did due diligence to prevent such cases from occurring.
Securities class actions, most prevalent in the U.S., Canada and Australia, are growing globally as legal environments evolve and in response to growing receptivity of governments to collective redress and class actions. Significantly, the E.U. has proposed enacting a collective redress model to allow for class actions, while states, such as Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K., have established collective redress procedures. The pace of U.S. filing activity in 2019 has been only marginally slower than record highs of 2017 and 2018, when there were over 400 filings, almost double the average number of the preceding two decades.
Shareholder activism has increased. Approximately 82% of public company merger transactions valued over $100 million gave rise to litigation by shareholders of the target company threatening that the target company’s board will have breached its duties by underpricing the company, should the merger succeed.
4. Bankruptcies and political challenges
With most experts predicting a slowdown in economic growth, Allianz expects to see increased insolvencies, which may potentially translate into D&O claims. Business insolvencies rose in 2018 by more than 10% year-on-year, owing to a surge of over 60% in China, according to Euler Hermes. In 2019, business failures are set to rise for the third consecutive year by more than 6% year-on-year, with two out of three countries poised to post higher numbers of insolvencies than in 2018.
Political challenges, including significant elections, Brexit and trade wars, could create the need for risk planning for boards, including revisiting currency strategy, merger and acquisition (M&A) planning and supply chain and sourcing decisions based on tariffs. Poor decision- making may also result in claims from stakeholders.
5. Litigation funding is now a global investment class
These mega trends are further fueled by litigation funding now becoming a global investment class, attracting investors hurt by years of low interest rates searching for higher returns. Litigation finance reduces many of the entrance cost barriers for individuals wanting to seek compensation, although there is much debate around the remuneration model of this business.
Recently, many of the largest litigation funders have set up in Europe. Although the U.S. accounts for roughly 40% of the market, followed by Australia and the U.K., other areas are opening up, such as recent authorizations for litigation funding for arbitration cases in Singapore and Hong Kong. Next hotspots are predicted to be India and parts of the Middle East. Estimates are that the litigation funding industry has grown to around $10 billion globally, although some put the figure much higher, in the $50 billion to $100 billion range, based on billings of the largest law firms.
The state of the market
Although around $15 billion of D&O insurance premiums are collected annually, the sector’s profitability is challenged due to increased competition, growth in the number of lawsuits and rising claims frequency and severity. Loss ratios have been variously estimated to be in excess of 100% in numerous markets, including the U.K., U.S. and Germany in recent years due to drivers such as event-driven litigation, collective redress developments, regulatory investigations, pollution, higher defense costs and a general cultural shift, even in civil law countries, to bring more D&O claims both against individuals and the company in relation to securities.
The increased claims activity, combined with many years of new capital and soft pricing in the D&O market has resulted in some reductions in capacity. In addition, there has also been an increase in the tail of claims. Hence, there is a double impact of prior-year claims being more severe than anticipated and a higher frequency of notifications in recent years. As for claims severity, marketplace data suggests that the aggregate amount of alleged investor losses underlying U.S. securities class action claims filed last year was a multiple of any year preceding it.
Despite rising claim frequency and severity, the industry has labored under a persistent and deepening soft market for well over a decade before seeing some recent hardening. Publicly disclosed data suggests D&O market pricing turned modestly positive in 2018 for the first time since 2003. However, D&O rates per million of limit covered were up by around 17% in Q2 2019, compared with the same period in 2018, with the overall price change for primary policies renewing with the same limit and deductible up almost 7%.
From an insurance-purchasing perspective, Allianz sees customers unable to purchase the same limits at expiration also looking to purchase additional Side A-only limits and also to use captives or alternative risk transfer (ART) solutions for the entity portion of D&O Insurance (Side C). Higher retentions, co-insurance and captive-use indicate a clear trend of customers considering retaining more risk in current conditions.
As insurance executives look out for the industry’s next wave, they will see a paradox of great risk and opportunity. The most serious threats — societal megatrends, disruptive technology advancements and intensifying competition from both new and traditional players — also hold the greatest potential for growth and transformation.
As the strategic evolution of the industry accelerates, the most effective response for insurers is to harness the power of change and thoughtfully design their futures. They must develop their vision for the future and adjust their strategic and tactical plans to realize that vision.
Certainly, these recommendations apply to three of the top issues the industry faces — climate change, the rise of new ecosystems and operating models and more inclusive insurance. These are just a few of the trends and scenarios we explore in our recently released report titled, NextWave Insurance: personal lines and small commercial.
Climate change is arguably the biggest challenge facing humanity today. For insurers, it also presents an array of new uncertainties that make pricing risk harder than ever. The potential impact of climate change on the insurance sector is staggeringly large. Just consider these numbers:
$219 billion: combined global insurance losses from natural disasters, 2017–18 (Swiss Re)
90%: proportion of natural disaster costs that can be attributed to weather-related events in an average year (Munich Re)
Five times: total economic losses caused by hurricanes in 2017, relative to the average of the previous 16 years (Aon Benfield)
As storms grow more severe, insurers have a clear opportunity to offer increased protection to families, businesses and communities. Only 30% of catastrophic losses were covered by insurance between 2009 and 2018, according to Aon Benfield. It also estimates that there is a $180 billion global protection gap for weather-related risks. Of course, insurers must be able to accurately model and price the risk of climate change if they are to collect more premium dollars. They must also understand the potentially detrimental impact of pricing customers out of the market and increasing the underserved community.
As societies around the world come to terms with the implications of global climate change, it’s clear that the insurance industry has a leading role to play in managing risk and offering protection.
The earlier that firms grapple with and understand these complex climate-related risks, the more likely they are to derive value from them. Instead of waiting for perfect information, firms should take a flexible approach to this fast-moving topic and embed climate-related considerations into their decision-making.
The rise of ecosystems:
Today’s insurance marketplace is hypercompetitive, with extremely tight margins, slow (if any) growth and high operating costs. The industry’s current economics are unsustainable, which means insurers need to rethink their business models.
Ecosystems, which entail multiple companies partnering to offer specialized, but complementary, services in mutually beneficial ways, are one way for them to enhance the value of their offerings. Ecosystems can take many forms — strategic partnerships, alliances, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. The cloud, artificial intelligence and new data sources are key to enabling the development of ecosystems and other new business models.
Early adopters and forward-looking insurers can capture market share by defining their role in the ecosystem relative to other types of entities (e.g., sharing platforms, social media, insurtechs, data providers, customer associations and business services). By connecting with insurtechs, leaders can rapidly add innovative technologies and enhance business processes and customer experiences.
Ecosystems and other new operating models will spark innovation and change multiple parts of the business. Direct, digital and embedded sales will become dominant channels for growth, and ecosystems can help position insurers to capture their fair share of revenue. Subscription models will make insurance more deeply woven into consumers’ everyday lives, clarifying the value insurers deliver.
Ecosystems are one example of how insurers will change both what they deliver and how they deliver it. And the industry appears ready to adopt these models; a full 76% of insurance executives view partnerships and ecosystems as determinants of a future competitive advantage, according to Swiss Re. Small and mid-tier carriers that lack focus and differentiation may find it hard to make the required investments in people and technology, while achieving their financial targets.
More inclusive insurance:
Insurers are well-positioned to help protect the many underinsured consumers and businesses around the world. They must find ways to engage younger consumers — so-called “generation rent” — sooner. As these consumers wait longer to purchase vehicles (which they may never do), buy homes, get married and have children, their first interactions with insurers happen later in life.
Insurers must innovate with technology to engage and support the underinsured and other underserved markets. It’s worth noting how insurers in emerging markets exhibited great creativity in using mobile phones to provide microinsurance, asset-based coverages and embedded insurance purchases in their efforts to connect to the underinsured. These approaches are likely to succeed with the underserved and underinsured segments in mature markets, too. As carriers use greater amounts of information and advanced analytics, they need to be sensitive to pricing customers out of the market.
Seizing opportunity while navigating risk
The fundamental question to ask is: Will growth opportunities outweigh the threats in the next wave of insurance? Insurers’ actions and investments in the next five to 10 years will determine if they maximize the upside of these opportunities or struggle with the downside.
The views expressed by the presenters are their own and not necessarily those of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.
A growing number of policymakers, advocates and experts predict that extreme weather may lead to higher costs for home and flood insurance.
Some analysts are even predicting that the effects of climate change may make home insurance and flood insurance unaffordable for many Americans.
Home insurance companies charge higher premiums to cover property associated with higher risks. Added insurance costs could lead to lower home prices.
“As insurance rates rise commensurate with increasing risk related to weather hazards, and property taxes rise to cover the costs of climate mitigation and adaptation, real estate values for properties in vulnerable areas will fall,” predicts Donna Childs, author of the book “Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses.”
“The insurance premiums and property taxes for these properties become higher,” Childs said.
Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, observes that natural disaster risks have affected home prices. Blomquist notes that home price appreciation in cities with the highest flood risk was half that for the U.S. housing market overall during the past decade. It’s been one-third that for cities with the highest hurricane surge risk.
“The broader market has also outperformed appreciation in cities with the highest wildfire risk during the last decade, although the gap is much narrower,” Blomquist said.
Climate change top insurer issue
Many insurance experts consider climate change as one of the most pressing issues. That concern may lead to higher insurance costs for homeowners.
The riskier the property, the more an insurer charges. The result — more climate change-related claims means:
Higher insurance costs
Insurers becoming stricter about who even gets coverage
“It could limit coverage availability in vulnerable areas that have not taken appropriate mitigation/adaptation measures,” warns Childs, founder and CEO of Prisere, a software developer providing technical assistance and training for climate and disaster resilience.
Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions, was recently affected personally when an insurer rejected him for a homeowners policy in California. The reason: wildfire risk.
Teta said the community suffered a small fire three years earlier, but no structures were destroyed. However, the insurer was still concerned about potential risk.
“Insurance companies are outright rejecting entire ZIP codes because of wildfire risk, even in areas they previously wrote policies in,” Teta laments.
One likely byproduct of climate change is more forest fires. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions said research shows that climate change, particularly earlier snow melt, leads to hot, dry conditions and more fires in the summer. The U.S. Department of Forest Service forecast that an average annual one-degree Celsius increase would increase the median burned area by as much as 600% in some forests.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that insured losses from the 2018 Butte County “Camp Fire” will ultimately reach between $8.5 billion and $10.5 billion.
Home insurance typically covers wildfire damage. However, if your area is prone to forest fires that spread to homes, your insurer may exclude covering that damage. Look through the exclusion section in your home insurance policy, so you know if wildfire damage is excluded from your coverage.
About 90% of natural disasters in the U.S. are tied to flooding, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There is a lack of consensus on whether climate change is leading to more flooding. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently said that it’s tricky to connect the effects to flooding.
However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in its special report on extremes that it’s becoming clearer that climate change “has detectably influenced several of the water-related variables that contribute to floods, such as rainfall and snow melt.”
Flooding complicates things when it comes to insurance. Home insurance doesn’t usually cover flood damage. Instead, you need a separate insurance policy for flooding that comes from outside your home.
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administers flood insurance. Federal flood insurance is available “where the local government has adopted adequate floodplain management regulations under the NFIP — and many communities participate in the program.”
Avoiding coastal areas and flood zones won’t necessarily protect you from flooding. III indicates that 20% of flood claims come from areas with low to moderate flood risk.
“Recovering from just one inch of water inside your building can cost about $27,000,” Janet Ruiz of the III explains.
Insurers are bracing themselves for more flooding claims in the coming years. More flooding claims will result in higher rates and can even affect home purchase prices. Those who own homes in higher-risk areas are seeing their values increase at a lower rate than the national average.
Here’s how flooding claims have increased in recent years.
Despite the increase in claims and average flood claim amounts, flood insurance policies are purchased less frequently today than they were a decade ago. In 2009, insurance companies sold 5.7 million flood insurance policies. In 2017, the number dipped to slightly more than 5 million.
Tornadoes, hurricanes and climate change
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says some areas, such as the North Atlantic, have seen more hurricanes over the past three decades. Scientists predict Category 4 and 5 hurricanes will increase in the coming years, though the overall number of hurricanes may decrease.
“Although scientists are uncertain whether climate change will lead to an increase in the number of hurricanes, warmer ocean temperatures and higher sea levels are expected to intensify their impacts,” according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
States prone to hurricanes feature hurricane deductibles. If your home gets damaged in a hurricane, you’ll have to pay a hurricane deductible after filing a claim. These deductibles are different from regular home insurance deductibles.
Depending on an area’s risk, hurricane deductibles are based on a percentage of a home’s insured value. It’s usually between 2% and 5%, but Florida allows insurers to charge up to 10%.
Whether your home policy covers you for hurricane damage depends on the fine print. You may need to get a windstorm rider to cover hurricane damage, such as lost siding, shingles or shattered windows.
Combating climate change and rate hikes
Childs said taking preventive actions can lower risks. “For example, when I purchased my home, the land on the western side slopes downward at a 30-degree angle, and the basement windows are flush with the ground, with the result that water would come downhill, creating the risk of water intrusion into the basement,” Childs said.
Childs trenched this area and inserted a serrated pipe that connects to the sewer system. She also made a significant energy retrofit that reduced her utility bills by 40% and protects against the risk of extreme heat.
Childs said home buyers should factor in climate risks when purchasing a home, including figuring out whether to buy flood insurance, even if you’re not in a high-risk area.
When buying a home:
Shop around for insurance and know what you’re buying. If you need additional coverage, ask the insurer about riders and other coverage.
Take precautions to protect your home. If you’re building a new home, talk to the builder about the materials being used. If you live along the coast, check on storm shutters. Explore fire-suppression systems. All of these additions could lead to lower rates and even home insurance discounts.
You can’t completely safeguard against climate change-related weather damage. But it’s wise to take precautions and know how you’re covered to minimize later problems.
You can find the original article published here on Insure.com.
Non-standard insurance is no longer exceptional. The nature of risk is ever-evolving as the way we live continues to change. Factors such as climate change are becoming a much bigger issue and have significant implications both for insurance providers and homeowners.
The evidence of this shift is all around us. Just a couple of weeks ago, Lloyd’s of London announced that it had seen steep losses over the last two years due to natural catastrophes. This announcement followed the news that hundreds of Whaley Bridge residents were forced to evacuate their homes after extreme rainfall threatened to burst a nearby dam. Even MPs have come forward recently suggesting that companies are going to have to be more forthcoming about the risk their assets face as a result of climate change. The insurance market is going to have to adapt.
Climate issues aren’t new; the U.K. heatwave of 2018 led to increased subsidence, while the growth of flood plains has had a similar effect, with more and more homes being pulled into the non-standard category. In fact, just looking at the shop-around market, the non-standard category saw year-on-year growth of 9.3% from 2018 to 2019, compared with the 2.7% growth in the standard market.
But it’s not all down to climate change; the rise of non-standard is also largely due to the changing nature of housing stock. A 19th century family villa comes with very different risks to a new-build flat. Seemingly innocuous factors such as whether the house has multiple occupants, serves as a work-living space, houses a lodger or takes Airbnb guests, changes the profile once again.
Additionally, the nation’s embrace of loft conversions and extensions – invariably flat-roofed – is altering the national risk profile at scale. The current economics of home-buying suggest that renovating will remain at least as popular as buying, and that the rate of second (and thus frequently empty) home ownership will grow.
Unfortunately, many homeowners only discover their non-standard status when they apply for home insurance. These consumers naturally expect exactly the same services as their standard counterparts. They don’t want to be treated differently; they expect instant quotes, competitive prices, online transactions and easy self-serve options, and insurers who can’t deliver risk losing customers.
It seems that insurance providers have found it too hard to meet the needs of this new category without risking their loss ratios. Consequently, most insurers only have an underwriting footprint of 60% to 70%. Now that non-standard is rapidly becoming the new normal, this is no longer sustainable.
The good news is that the rise in non-standard can be supported by two major technology trends. The first, aggregator distribution, democratizes the process of getting a quote and gives consumers a more complete view of their options, leading to an increased underwriting appetite for non-standard markets. This results in a virtuous circle, in which the number of brands prepared to quote online for non-standard is growing, increasing the viability of aggregators as a distribution route for non-standard products, which has increased customer engagement, in turn.
The second trend is set to have an even bigger impact: the technical ability to manage, process and analyze previously unthinkable volumes and varieties of data. Advanced analytics, machine-learning techniques and smart predictive algorithms give a much more detailed and accurate risk profile – leading to more precise and cost-effective quotes, which is positive for both insurers and the consumer.
Climate change may be accelerating changes in the insurance market, but there are many reasons why non-standard is on the rise, bringing different risk dynamics with it. Standard price and risk modeling are struggling to respond, and a more complex set of underwriting rules is required. While not every underwriter will have the technological tools to cope, and not every organization will choose to be competitive in this market, for those that do, they will face both attractive margins and a growing consumer audience.