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Risk Insiders

The Risk & Insurance website is also a self-publishing platform for select risk managers and industry experts.
By: | April 1, 2014

Risk Insiders are an unrivaled group of leading executives focused on the topic of Risk. They share their insights and opinions – and from time to time their pet peeves and gripes – on the Risk & Insurance website.

Each Risk Insider is invited to publish based on their expertise, passion and/or the quality of their writing. The only rules are no selling and no negative competitor mentions.

The topic of Risk is very broad and very complex. By inviting leading industry experts to share their insights we hope to provide a more complete perspective for our readers.

Selection Criteria

Risk Insiders are considered editorial contributors. As such, we are looking for individuals who want to publish their ideas, opinions or insights. Assistance from PR is great but we are not looking for ghost-written articles or corporate marketing perspectives.

Our primary target participants are Risk Managers, CFOs, Workers’ Comp Managers and other professionals responsible for risk mitigation for their companies.

Structure

Risk Insiders are free to write about any event, trend, opinion or other topic that is relevant to risk management or the insurance industry. There are no schedules or deadlines, write when you have something to say. Articles should be concise yet complete.

Some additional guidelines include:

    • Do your own writing (review and editing by colleagues is fine).
    • Original submissions only.
    • Publish 2 times a year, minimum.
    • Write from your own perspective, not your firm’s.
    • Avoid heavy jargon or corporate-speak.
    • Expressing complexity does not provide clarity. Keep it simple.
    • No selling.
    • No competitor put-downs.
    • Be concise but complete. 500 words max.
    • Pictures, graphics, videos, etc. are encouraged but not required.

How to apply

For more information and an application please contact us via riskletters@lrp.com.

Matthew Kahn is the Publisher and Executive Editor of Risk & Insurance. He manages the editorial and sales teams as well as develops new content and platforms. His best risk management lessons come from his frequent aviation experiences as a pilot. Matthew can be reached at mkahn@lrp.com.
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Risk Insider: Tony Boobier

Underwriting ‘Big Risks’

By: | February 24, 2015 • 2 min read
Tony Boobier holds a WW Executive role at IBM, focusing on solutions for Risk and Finance, and was previously IBM Insurance Analytics leader for EMEA. He can be reached at boobier@uk.ibm.com.

The unfortunately named Torch building went up in flames this past weekend.

It looked pretty scary, and that was only seeing it on the video. One hundred and one apartments out of 676 were damaged.

I was full of admiration for the firemen who apparently went up there to do something about it. In my mind, I have pictures of Steve McQueen doing his thing in the Towering Inferno, and wondering how those guys did their thing. It’s hard also not to have 9/11 thoughts as well.

But once the emotion had elapsed, the professional side of me was triggered, but I’ll admit, with some slight jealousy.

Big properties create big risks. But don’t big ideas create big risks as well? And maybe big data presents big risks too.

My insurance background is principally claims management, I came to risk some years later. I couldn’t help but wonder, firstly, what day one reserve they would put on the loss; secondly, how they would do the repair, and thirdly, what poor individual they would send up there to do the assessment.

I remember my wife was rather taken aback after I told her that I had been put in a harness and sent down the middle of a catalyst cracker in an oil refinery to review a major fire, and then later on, in a separate claim, into a cage over the River Thames to look at a collapsed wall.

I also wondered about the underwriter at Oman Insurance Co. OIC is the largest insurance company in the UAE with a gross written premium over $3.25 billion in 2014. They have large underwriting capacities and good reinsurance in place, apparently, so maybe it’s just another day at the office for them. But it’s a big loss, you can’t get away from it.

We’re in unprecedented territory in Dubai, I think.

Big properties create big risks. But don’t big ideas create big risks as well? And maybe big data presents big risks too. What’s the big data equivalent of having 20 percent of your building burn down, and at a couple of hundred meters in the air at that?

What liabilities might this create, and how would an existing or future policy respond? How might we value the loss? Who is good enough to anticipate on day one what the full scale of a major data loss or security failure might really comprise?

We may get some new learning from the recent experience at Anthem Health Insurance where even the details of the executive seem to have been lost to hackers.

I’m increasingly thinking that underwriters need to develop a new competence — that of imagination. I suspect they have always had it, but maybe they might need to step up a gear in their thinking.

Perhaps the underwriters of the future will need to be quite different — as creative as they are actuarial. Underwriters in pony tails and T-shirts? Wouldn’t have happened in my day.

Read all of Tony Boobier’s Risk Insider articles.

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Sponsored: Liberty Mutual Insurance

2015 General Liability Renewal Outlook

As the GL insurance cycle flattens, risk managers, brokers and insurers dig deeper to manage program costs.
By: | February 19, 2015 • 5 min read
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There was a time, not too long ago, when prices for general liability (GL) insurance would fluctuate significantly.

Prices would decrease as new markets offered additional capacity and wanted to gain a foothold by winning business with attractive rates. Conversely, prices could be driven higher by decreases in capacity — caused by either significant losses or departing markets.

This “insurance cycle” was driven mostly by market forces of supply and demand instead of the underlying cost of the risk. The result was unstable markets — challenging buyers, brokers and carriers.

However, as risk managers and their brokers work on 2015 renewals, they’ll undoubtedly recognize that prices are relatively stable. In fact, prices have been stable for the last several years in spite of many events and developments that might have caused fluctuations in the past.

Mark Moitoso discusses general liability pricing and the flattening of the insurance cycle.

Flattening the GL insurance cycle

Any discussion of today’s stable GL market has to start with data and analytics.

These powerful new capabilities offer deeper insight into trends and uncover new information about risks. As a result, buyers, brokers and insurers are increasingly mining data, monitoring trends and building in-house analytical staff.

“The increased focus on analytics is what’s kept pricing fairly stable in the casualty world,” said Mark Moitoso, executive vice president and general manager, National Accounts Casualty at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

With the increased use of analytics, all parties have a better understanding of trends and cost drivers. It’s made buyers, brokers and carriers much more sophisticated and helped pricing reflect actual risk and costs, rather than market cycle.

The stability of the GL market also reflects many new sources of capital that have entered the market over the past few years. In fact, today, there are roughly three times as many insurers competing for a GL risk than three years ago.

Unlike past fluctuations in capacity, this appears to be a fundamental shift in the competitive landscape.

SponsoredContent_LM“The current risk environment underscores the value of the insurer, broker and buyer getting together to figure out the exposures they have, and the best ways to manage them, through risk control, claims management and a strategic risk management program.”
— David Perez, executive vice president and general manager, Commercial Insurance Specialty, Liberty Mutual

Dynamic risks lurking

The proliferation of new insurance companies has not been matched by an influx of new underwriting talent.

The result is the potential dilution of existing talent, creating an opportunity for insurers and brokers with talent and expertise to add even greater value to buyers by helping them understand the new and continuing risks impacting GL.

And today’s business environment presents many of these risks:

  • Mass torts and class-action lawsuits: Understanding complex cases, exhausting subrogation opportunities, and wrangling with multiple plaintiffs to settle a case requires significant expertise and skill.
  • Medical cost inflation: A 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers report predicts a medical cost inflation rate of 6.8 percent. That’s had an immediate impact in increasing loss costs per commercial auto claim and it will eventually extend to longer-tail casualty businesses like GL.
  • Legal costs: Hourly rates as well as award and settlement costs are all increasing.
  • Industry and geographic factors: A few examples include the energy sector struggling with growing auto losses and construction companies working in New York state contending with the antiquated New York Labor Law

David Perez outlines the risks general liability buyers and brokers currently face.

Managing GL costs in a flat market

While the flattening of the GL insurance cycle removes a key source of expense volatility for risk managers, emerging risks present many challenges.

With the stable market creating general price parity among insurers, it’s more important than ever to select underwriting partners based on their expertise, experience and claims handling record – in short, their ability to help better manage the total cost of GL.

And the key word is indeed “partners.”

“The current risk environment underscores the value of the insurer, broker and buyer getting together to figure out the exposures they have, and the best ways to manage them — through risk control, claims management and a strategic risk management program,” said David Perez, executive vice president and general manager, Commercial Insurance Specialty at Liberty Mutual.

While analytics and data are key drivers to the underwriting process, the complete picture of a company’s risk profile is never fully painted by numbers alone. This perspective is not universally understood and is a key differentiator between an experienced underwriter and a simple analyst.

“We have the ability to influence underwriting decisions based on experience with the customer, knowledge of that customer, and knowledge of how they handle their own risks — things that aren’t necessarily captured in the analytical environment,” said Moitoso.

Mark Moitoso suggests looking at GL spend like one would look at total cost of risk.

Several other factors are critical in choosing an insurance partner that can help manage the total cost of your GL program:

Clear, concise contracts: The policy contract language often determines the outcome of a GL case. Investing time up-front to strategically address risk transfer through contractual language can control GL claim costs.

“A lot of the efficacy we find in claims is driven by the clear intent that’s delivered by the policy,” said Perez.

Legal cost management: Two other key drivers of GL claim outcomes are settlement and trial. The best GL programs include sophisticated legal management approaches that aggressively contain legal costs while also maximizing success factors.

“Buyers and brokers must understand the value an insurer can provide in managing legal outcomes and spending,” noted Perez. “Explore if and how the insurer evaluates potential providers in light of the specific jurisdiction and injury; reviews legal bills; and offers data-driven tools that help negotiations by tracking the range of settlements for similar cases.”

David Perez on managing legal costs.

Specialized claims approach: Resolving claims quickly and fairly is best accomplished by knowledgeable professionals. Working with an insurer whose claims organization is comprised of professionals with deep expertise in specific industries or risk categories is vital.

SponsoredContent_LM“We have the ability to influence underwriting decisions based on experience with the customer, knowledge of that customer, and knowledge of how they handle their own risks, things that aren’t necessarily captured in the analytical environment.”
— Mark Moitoso, executive vice president and general manager, National Accounts Casualty, Liberty Mutual

“When a claim comes in the door, we assess the situation and determine whether it can be handled as a general claim, or whether it’s a complex case,” said Moitoso. “If it’s a complex case, we make sure it goes to the right professional who understands the industry segment and territory. Having that depth and ability to access so many points of expertise and institutional knowledge is a big differentiator for us.”

While the GL insurance market cycle appears to be flattening, basic risk management continues to be essential in managing total GL costs. Close partnership between buyer, broker and insurer is critical to identifying all the GL risks faced by a company and developing a strategic risk management program to effectively mitigate and manage them.

Additional insights



For more information about how Liberty Mutual can help you manage the total cost of your GL program, visit their website or contact your broker.

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Liberty Mutual Insurance. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including general liability, property, commercial automobile, excess casualty, workers compensation and group benefits.
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