At least 18 deaths have resulted from Hurricane Michael, which hit the Florida Panhandle last week and caused widespread property damage in the Southeast, and officials say the death toll could increase as dozens of people have yet to be found. Some estimates of Michael's damage put insured losses at $5 billion to $8 billion, and experts say insurers are equipped to absorb the losses.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has instructed state Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to put any property insurance rate increases on hold for 90 days in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Scott also called for the 90-day reversal of any policy nonrenewals or cancellations that occurred just before Michael hit, to give policyholders additional time to find new coverage.
Workers' compensation costs in New York, at 181% of the median amount nationwide, are the highest in the US, according to a study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. California, which typically takes the No. 1 spot, now has workers' compensation costs at 169% of the median figure, while New Jersey ranked third at 167%.
Uber is not planning to make a foray into the insurance industry but does intend to be an "intelligent purchaser" of coverage for its drivers, said Curtis Scott, Uber's global head of insurance. The ride-sharing company has formed partnerships with carriers to provide supplemental commercial coverage for its drivers' personal auto insurance policies.
Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said residents in areas affected by Hurricane Michael did not adequately heed evacuation orders and often lacked sufficient insurance, "the first line of defense." Brock also said stricter building codes and revisions to the National Flood Insurance Program are necessary.
The Santa Ana winds have emerged for the first time in 2018, heightening Southern California's wildfire risk as wind gusts could reach 75 mph in mountainous areas. Low humidity and warm temperatures are also factors that increase the region's wildfire threat.
The deadline to approve or deny a rate increase sought by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has been postponed from Oct. 15 to June 16, 2019, by Gov. Greg Abbott. Such an increase would be unfair to people in coastal areas still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, Abbott said in a letter to state Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan.
Uninsured flood losses are a major public policy crisis that to be a national priority, after roughly 85% of communities affected by Hurricane Florence didn't have flood insurance and 80% of those hit by Hurricane Harvey didn't, says Jessica Hanna, PCI senior vice president. "A 2018 University of London study found that nearly 70% of global losses in the last 10 years from natural catastrophes were uninsured," writes PCI executive Nat Wienecke.
The strong growth in insurance mergers and acquisitions in 2018 will likely carry over to 2019, according to a report from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Driving M&A going forward will be auto-related deals, due to the uncertainty of driverless and ride-share technology.
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