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MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT IN THE WORKPLACE

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THE NEED BECOMES MORE OBVIOUS; HOW WILL BENEFIT PLANS RESPOND?

By: Thomas A. McCoy, CLU

One lasting effect of the pandemic, a positive one, is that both employers and employees are becoming more aware of the importance of employee mental health. Support for employees’ mental health is looking more and more like the next universal need in employee benefits plans.

Although certain demographic groups have been especially vulnerable to mental stress during the pandemic, mental health needs transcend age, gender, job functions and income levels. These needs were present before the pandemic and will continue after it ends. The pandemic has simply kick-started the mental health conversation.

Jolee Crosby, head of global L&H underwriting and medical reinsurance for Swiss Re, says it is a “good sign” that consumers’ concern about mental health is on the rise. According to Swiss Re research, almost half (44%) of consumers were already concerned about the issue before the pandemic; now an additional 23% are even more concerned.

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Heading Into 2022, P/C Insurers Face ‘Massive’ Political Risks, Economic Uncertainty

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By Mark Hollmer

Property/casualty insurers head into 2022 facing “massive” political risks, an expert with the Insurance Information Institute said on Dec. 2. Economic uncertainty will also continue despite recovery trends.

Some exist due to post-pandemic economic fallout, but many others are longstanding or worsening flashpoints in the U.S. and around the globe, noted Michel Leonard, vice president, senior economist and data scientist, and head of the Economics and Analytics Department at III. He spoke during the III Joint Industry Forum 2021 in New York City.

Those risks, when listed together, are substantial. In the U.S., they include labor dislocation and the midterm elections, the continued institutional deadlock in Congress, worsening socioeconomic inequality and far right domestic radicalization. In the U.S. and around the world, these risks encompass anti-vax radicalization relating to the COVID-19 vaccines, far-left industrial sabotage relating to fossil fuels, and conflict with China over Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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THEY GOT COVID ANYWAY

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They were so careful, for so long. They got covid anyway.

By: Tara Bahrampour

Fareha Ahmed had been cautious since the beginning of the pandemic. She had eaten in restaurants only three times. She and her husband were vaccinated and boosted, and their 7-year-old got vaccinated in November as soon as he was eligible. In mid-December, Ahmed, 39, who lives in Brightwood Park in the District, met a former colleague for an outdoor lunch. A few days later, the family attended an indoor gathering for the first time with other families, to bake Christmas cookies.

Then covid caught up with her.

Two days after the lunch, the colleague tested positive for coronavirus. Ahmed took PCR and rapid tests — both negative — and then for good measure took another PCR test the day of the cookie party; the other participants told her to come over and not worry.

But three days after the party she started feeling ill, and the next day her PCR test came back positive.

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NAVIGATING A HARDENING CYBER INSURANCE MARKET

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With risks increasing, insurers look at the broader book of business regarding cyber

By: Lori Widmer

Even the new kid on the block experiences growing pains. Such is the case with the cyber insurance market, which enjoyed rapid expansion and plentiful availability from its infancy through 2018. However, by 2019, carriers were beginning to feel the pressure stemming from more frequent and severe claims, according to a February 2021 Gallagher Market Conditions paper.

When 2020 sent businesses into remote mode, cyber thieves took advantage of the initial confusion and lax cybersecurity practices. According to an FBI Internet Crime Report, there were 791,790 reported complaints of suspected internet crime in 2020, with over $4.2 billion in reported losses. Global costs of cybercrime are projected to increase 15% annually from 2015 to 2025—from $3 trillion to $10.5 trillion, according to the EY 2021 Global Insurance Outlook.

Increased frequency and severity have many predicting tougher times ahead.

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Private Flood Insurance Market Small But May Grow With New NFIP Rating: AM Best

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October 4, 2021

The country’s flood insurance market is slowly transitioning toward private insurers providing additional options to the federal government’s program for those seeking coverage, according to a new AM Best report.

But private sector carriers are being selective, tending to avoid risks in flood-prone areas and concentrating more on commercial properties than homeowners, an AM Best report shows.

According to Best’s Market Segment Report, “Appetite for Flood Risk Among Private Insurers Still Small,” more than 70% of overall private flood premium has been generated from commercial property exposures.

Also the report finds that private insurers tend to avoid flood-prone areas, noting that Florida experiences tropical systems more frequently than any other state and represents about one third of the total National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insured value.

Yet, Florida represents only about a quarter of the total flood premium, partially illustrating the larger issue that the NFIP is subject to an inherent risk of adverse selection.

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Cyberattacks: Insurers Defend Against Ransomware

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Cyber Insurance

By: TOM DAVIS | October 2021

Key Points

  • Attacks Increasing: Since May 1, there have been at least 37 “significant” international cyber incidents, including the Colonial Pipeline attack that caused a spike in gas prices, according to a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  • Premiums Rising: Cyber premiums have more than doubled since 2016, rising from $1.3 billion to $2.7 billion last year, according to Fred Eslami, senior financial analyst at AM Best.
  • Insurers Are Selective: The cyber activity is so high now, “we can be in a position of saying to clients, ‘If you don’t have these controls in place then you’re not going to get covered for these types of attacks,’” said Tracie Grella, global head of cyber insurance for AIG.

Vishaal Hariprasad, CEO and co-founder of cyber insurer Resilience, didn’t hesitate when President Joe Biden looked right at him and asked: “How can the insurance industry help drive better cyber standards for the country?”

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Swiss Re Estimates Hurricane Ida Could Cost Insurers $30 Billion

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Hurricane Ida to be in the range of $28–30 billion

October 5, 2021

On an industry level, Swiss Re now estimates that total insured market losses from Hurricane Ida to be in the range of $28–30 billion, excluding federal flood insurance losses.

Hurricane Ida, the second-most intense hurricane on record to hit the state of Louisiana, also caused extensive wind and flood damage across the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic parts of the U.S. After making landfall on August 29, 2021, the category 4 hurricane caused wide-ranging power outages and severe infrastructure damages particularly in Louisiana, before triggering exceptional flash flooding and storm surges in the Northeastern regions of the country.

Swiss Re estimated its own preliminary claims burden from Hurricane Ida at approximately $750 million.

The estimates may need to be adjusted as the claims notification and assessment process continues.

Photo: Lyndell Scott walks past the debris of his gutted home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, La.,

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‘Long COVID’ presents comp conundrum

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By: Louise Esola | September 01, 2021

Long-term health issues following a COVID-19 diagnosis will likely affect workers compensation claims acceptance, management and disability indefinitely, experts say.

Under the catch-all phrase “long COVID,” symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, joint or muscle pain, and difficulty concentrating. At least one study (see box) found 55 possible long-term effects of COVID-19.

“Navigating a patient through long COVID or long-hauler syndrome really is uncharted territory,” said Kathy Galia, senior vice president and general manager of clinical solutions for Paradigm, which provides managed care for injured workers, during a webinar in July.

While no official number is available, some organizations estimate that up to 80% of COVID-19 patients will experience one or more long-term, persistent symptoms.

“We’re in the long haul,” said Beth Burry-Jackson, Richmond, Virginia-based senior vice president of case management for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., of the complicated scenario of managing COVID-19 claims with long-term symptoms.

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9/11 attacks: Industry remembers 20 years on

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Scenes of chaos, tragedy, humanity and strength still resonate

By: Louise Esola | September 1, 2021

The insurance industry had a large presence in the World Trade Center, and Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, began like any other morning in lower Manhattan. People had gotten their coffee on the way from the trains. They took the elevators up. They chatted with colleagues and made plans for lunch. Meetings were in session or about to begin.

But some were running late. They had doctor or dentist appointments, or they missed the train. Had gotten called to a meeting in another city. A child was sick. Or they were stuck in New York’s infamous morning commute.

Chance and circumstance determined the fate of so many people in the industry when, a short while later, lives ended and many more were changed when al-Qaida terrorists flew hijacked planes into the iconic Twin Towers.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Business Insurance interviewed industry professionals who survived the attacks, who could have been there, who should have been there, and who can’t forget.

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Henri to leave Northeast Monday night, flood watches remain in effect

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Flood watches are in effect from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Hampshire.

By Meredith Deliso, Max Golembo, Melissa Griffin, Julia Jacobo, Marlene Lenthang, Ivan Pereira, Morgan Winsor, and Samantha Wnek

Henri continues to churn across the Northeast where heavy rain and flooding are still possible through Monday night.

Flood watches remain in effect from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Hampshire.

The storm made landfall as a tropical storm in Rhode Island early Sunday afternoon, bringing wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour and a storm surge of up to 4 feet to the surrounding regions. Over 9 inches of rain was recorded in Brooklyn, New York. Henri weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday night and will leave the Northeast by Monday night.

Aug 23, 12:14 pm
Tornado confirmed in Massachusetts

A tornado touched down near Marlborough, Massachusetts, Monday as Henri veered away from the Northeast.

Aug 23, 9:18 am
Biden approves emergency declaration for Vermont after New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island

The White House announced Monday that President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Vermont due to Henri, following his previous approvals for New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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State, Federal Regulatory Enforcement a Focus as Cyber Crime Grows

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Ransomware attacks are on the rise and cyber risks continue to mount

By: Elizabeth Blosfield | August 4, 2021

As ransomware attacks are on the rise and cyber risks continue to mount, experts say there has been “a paradigm shift in cybersecurity enforcement.”

That’s according to Matt Levine, a partner in Phillips Nizer’s litigation department in its New York office, in the most recent episode of The Insuring Cyber Podcast. Levine has experience in criminal, civil and regulatory litigation and previously served as the first executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).

New York led the charge as the first state to apply GDPR-like cybersecurity regulations for its financial services industry with DFS’ cyber rules – often referred to as Part 500 – implemented under a phased two-year timeline beginning in March 2017.

The regulation aims to protect New York’s financial services industry from the threat of a cyber attack and is the first cybersecurity regulation of its kind in the U.S.

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Sharp rise in lower tier catastrophe claims triggers policy changes, mitigation strategies

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Severe convective storms and wildfires have caused increasingly large insured losses over the past few years due to increased frequency and severity.

By: Matthew Lerner | July 12, 2021


A dramatic supercell over Lubbock, Texas in May of 2021. This storm previously produced a tornado and was beginning to weaken./ Reuters

While traditional windstorm catastrophe losses continue to be a major source of claims, the so-called secondary perils losses are reaching levels akin to moderate hurricane events, experts say.

Insurers continue to focus on loss prevention and risk engineering to combat the rising secondary peril losses but have also begun to make defensive moves.

Secondary perils caused $57.4 billion or 71% of worldwide insured losses from natural catastrophes in 2020, with the main drivers being severe convective storms and wildfires in the United States and Australia, according to a March report by Swiss Re Ltd.

From 1990 through 2020, aggregate U.S.

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