A report shows the percentage of Texas employers without workers' compensation coverage increased from 22% in 2016 to 28% in 2018, and experts say small companies are the most likely to forgo coverage because of costs and a low number of employee injuries. PCI's Trey Gillespie said a strong economy could be one factor behind the recent Texas data, one example being that "[s]ubcontractors have historically opted out so they can bid lower to get jobs."
This year's Camp and Woolsey fires have generated claims totaling $9.05 billion in insured property losses, said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who took emergency action to let insurers use out-of-state adjusters. PCI's Mark Sektnan said California's insurance market remains healthy and that insurers will continue to write policies in affected areas, adding that "[p]rices may be a little higher, but we're not hearing that there's an availability crisis."
The 2018 hurricane season showed how insurers are enhancing claims management and customer service through technology, as the use of multiple platforms to communicate with customers has limited claims cycle times, said Wesley Todd of CaseGlide. Technology is creating a "leveling of the playing field" among insurers of all sizes "because of drones, because of virtual adjusting apps, because of satellite imagery and because of the instantaneous ability to communicate with policyholders via social media," Todd said.
Ken Pimlott, director of California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the state should examine whether to prohibit home construction in fire-prone areas. Pimlott also suggested using technology such as automated warnings via phone, as well as more traditional emergency sirens when fires threaten.
A study published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research indicates that lightning can help scientists evaluate volcanic activity before it is visible. The study looked at satellite imagery and data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, and found that lightning rates were highest at certain points while an eruption was occurring.
Insured losses emerging from Hurricane Michael's damage have risen to $4.3 billion, with about 131,500 claims filed as of Dec. 7, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. About two-thirds of the claims are closed, and slightly more than half have been paid, the regulator said.
Women face a retirement gap fueled by earning less and living longer than men, writes Michael Ross of Cornerstone Financial Group. To help bridge that gap, he suggests benefits advisors offer tailored advice to female employees that acknowledges their specific obstacles.
Peel Hunt analysts said 2018 is on track for catastrophe losses close to the insurance industry's $50 billion 10-year average. Fourth-quarter losses are poised to hit $26 billion after hurricanes and wildfires in the US, the analysts report.
An estimated 15% of homeowners in Alaska are insured against earthquakes, says Lori Wing-Heier, director of the state's Division of Insurance. Mortgage lenders don't mandate such coverage, which Tracey Parrish of Alaska Pacific Insurance Agency said can have deductibles near 20% of a dwelling's value, and the state has placed a moratorium on earthquake insurance sales for several weeks.
The US property/casualty insurance industry is well-capitalized, according to A.M. Best, which said 81.1% of the sector's rated entities have excellent or superior issuer credit ratings. The industry "remains resilient following the operating challenges of 2017, when the segment reported the worst combined ratio in some time," the rating firm said.