How to make sure your cyber insurance policy pays out

Cyber insurance is big business these days. With the ever-present danger of data breaches and cyber-attacks, organizations must be sure that they have the financial backing to respond appropriately. Damages incurred by information security incidents generally aren’t covered in commercial insurance policies, so a specific policy is necessary to help cover the costs of things like forensic investigation, incident response and notification procedures.

Spotlight

The Plexus Groupe

The Plexus Groupe is a progressive, innovative, nationally recognized commercial insurance brokerage and consulting firm with an international reach. We are dedicated to delivering a wide range of expert independent insurance advice and superior service in the areas of property and casualty, employee benefits, retirement plans, personal lines insurance, and technology services.

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Insurance Technology

Are motor claims in Europe about to rebound?

Article | July 15, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to the insurance industry overall, dramatically curtailing business activity, upending the everyday lives of employees and customers, and more. However, companies that derive a substantial portion of their business from motor insurance have enjoyed stronger bottom-line results during the pandemic than in previous years. That’s because when sudden lockdowns kept drivers at home and off the road (see exhibit), claims plunged by 60 to 80 percent almost immediately. As restrictions began to lift, claim volumes subsequently bounced back, although they remain 20 to 30 percent lower than they were before the pandemic. The corresponding drop in payouts for claims was only partially offset by the refunds on premiums that insurers paid to customers to compensate them for traveling fewer miles. Are motor claims in Europe about to rebound? As of mid-2021, motor claims volume remains suppressed—at least for the time being. For insurers, this offers a short-term window to pursue or accelerate strategic initiatives aimed at establishing claims excellence, a key driver of profitability. These initiatives include transforming claims processes to improve customer experience, building digital capabilities, leveraging advanced analytics to improve decision-making, and reducing long-standing sources of leakage. Acting now will help insurers be prepared when vaccination rates across Europe accelerate, economies reopen, and both mobility and motor claims rebound. Even as the pandemic recedes and business returns, insurers are likely to confront three persistent challenges that can be addressed—at least in part—by transforming claims management to improve profitability. Top-line pressure will continue. Pandemic-related top-line pressure will likely continue for the foreseeable future. If history serves as a guide, commercial lines, which suffered from a temporary halt in business activity in the tourism, aviation, entertainment, and local business sectors, may be slow to recover. During the 2008 financial crisis, for instance, commercial lines took significantly longer to recover than personal lines. As for personal lines today, declines in everyday commuting have altered customers’ perceptions of the value of insurance: if they drive less, they expect to pay less. As noted above, some insurers have proactively offered their customers premium paybacks for reduced car usage—a change that could endure. Digital is here to stay. Because of the pandemic, people shifted many everyday activities to remote channels and adopted new digital tools. For example, across Europe, 60 to 70 percent of consumers moved some of their shopping online, and most intend to perpetuate the new habit after the pandemic ends. This shift in customer behavior extended to engagement with insurers. In the United Kingdom, claims notifications filed via digital channels doubled during the pandemic, and insurers received 30 percent more digital inquiries than in the past. However, customers’ growing expectations for an end-to-end digital experience—with 24/7 service, instant feedback, and a user-friendly interface—still place most insurers in the position of playing catch-up. The large majority of customers still prefer to place a call rather than use digital self-service; in Europe, for example, more than 50 percent of claims are initiated when a customer contacts an agent. This preference could indicate that insurers have yet to fully digitize the claims handling process. Inflation will affect claims costs. Insurers anticipate increased pressure on claims costs from multiple sources. First, car repair shops have suffered the knock-on effects of the COVID-19-induced drop in claims volume. Many received government help, but they also responded by increasing labor rates and margins on spare parts. The claims inflation rate currently sits at 4 to 5 percent. Ongoing cost pressure means repair shops are unlikely to reinstate their pre-COVID-19 price levels without some restructuring in the sector. In one scenario, insurers could step into the role of ecosystem orchestrators, significantly consolidating repair volumes and offering strong incentives—including extending insurance services to include maintenance and offering negotiated prices for parts and labor—to repair shops to participate. Meanwhile, insurers can analyze increased volumes of claims data to continually assess the performance of repair shops and then use those insights to guide customers to the best deals. Even before the pandemic, insurers had made strides in improving the bottom line by increasing productivity and optimizing technical excellence, particularly via pricing. Now is the time to tackle claims. Claims organizations can use this period of lower claims volume to plan their strategic investments in advanced analytics transformation, to devise new digital talent strategies, and to improve their understanding of customer needs and expectations. A complete suite of analytics and updated process automation—prerequisites for accurate, end-to-end automation—constitute the backbone of the new claims and customer experience model. The tools are evolving, driving automated decision-making along the entire claims handling process: routing, triaging, liability negotiation, cost estimating, deciding to repair or write off damaged vehicles, cash settlements, and fraud detection. All these areas will increasingly use digital and analytics as opposed to manual labor, changing the entire claims operating model. Responding to customer demands for a seamless claims experience is a top priority. The pandemic has proved that customers are eager for and accepting of new digital experiences. They expect full transparency throughout the claims journey; minimal effort on their part (for example, very little engagement back and forth with the agent to get the claim resolved and receive payment); faster resolution of claims, perhaps including automated payments; and the ability to move seamlessly between the digital and physical worlds. Furthermore, insurers can work to reduce leakage and improve the bottom line. Leakage takes many forms, including replacing rather than repairing a vehicle, offering a luxury replacement vehicle rather than a car that matches the customer’s vehicle class, and incurring costs for in-person loss assessments even in obvious cases for which pictures would suffice. Tackling leakage will entail enabling efficient detection of anomalies, selecting claims for detailed review, and empowering the claims organizations to efficiently close claims that cast no doubt. Accomplishing these critical objectives will entail a shift from a scattered and often siloed approach using unintegrated digital and analytics tools to end-to-end digital- and analytics-enabled claims processes. On the front end, insurers will need to establish tools on par with the top digital services their customers use every day (for example, ride-hailing apps, social media, and digital banks). On the back end, claims organization will need to invest in a suite of analytics engines to support automated decision-making to cut costs. The opportunity starts with claims prevention—using telematics and the Internet of Things to issue safety warnings and damage prevention tips—and continues throughout the claims processing journey, from providing customers with an easy digital first notice of loss interface and improving claims cost accuracy, to digital selection of a repair shop and automated payment processing and invoice checks. This relative lull in activity also gives insurers a good time to provide teams handling claims with the training they need to learn new processes and operate new digital tools. Claims are already rebounding, so the clock is ticking for insurers. Building end-to-end digital and analytics solutions requires significant investment and will take substantial time. For claims organizations, it is critical to act now or risk missing the opportunity to emerge from the pandemic stronger than competitors.

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Insurance Technology

The economy is slowing down: what does it mean for insurance companies?

Article | August 9, 2022

Since 2010, as countries waded out of the recession of 2008, they enjoyed economic growth. Coupled with technological innovation, the global economy really got a boost. But, mirroring Nature’s cycles, it seems it is now time to hit a plateau and slow down. In this article, we explore why the slowdown could be happening and more importantly, what it means for us in the insurance industry.

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Core Insurance, Risk Management

Boosting the Economy: A Top Policy Priority

Article | August 4, 2022

Americans consider boosting the economy a top policy priority over dealing with COVID-19 as the coronavirus outbreak enters its third year. The decrease in the percentage mentioning the pandemic has been particularly sharp: from 78% last year to 60% this year, dealing with the coronavirus is now seen as a top policy priority. This comes at a time when Americans see various issues as lower priorities than they did a year ago. Republicans and Democrats disagree on the significance of the majority of policy priorities, but for 11 of the 18 issues covered by the survey, the partisan divide has grown significantly. This includes double-digit increases in partisan differences on addressing issues like immigration, the political system, improving the job market, and the criminal justice system. Changing Public Priorities: The Economy, Coronavirus, Jobs The percentage of Americans, particularly Democrats, who see the economy as a significant policy issue has decreased, despite the fact that it still ranks first on the public's list of priorities. From 75% a year ago to 63% now, the percentage of Democrats and independents leaning toward the Democratic Party who believe that improving the economy should be a key priority has decreased. Republicans and GOP learners, meanwhile, have seen almost no change in their opinions (85%top priority then, 82%today). Democrats are also less inclined than they were in January of last year, before President Joe Biden's inauguration, to rank addressing the employment situation as their top priority. 71% of Democrats said jobs should be a primary priority a year ago; today, only around 50%of Democrats agree (49%). The Republicans' slide has been more subdued (from 63% to 55%). As a matter of policy, solving the issues of the poor has lost priority. Democrats continue to prioritise this policy area significantly more than Republicans, although Republicans are now less likely than Democrats to see dealing with the issues low-income families confront as a key concern (25%now vs. 35%then; 58%now vs. 68%then). Additionally, there has been a reduction in the public's opinion that strengthening the political system ought to be a major priority for policy, mostly due to Republican efforts. The proportions of voters in each party who said that reforming the political system should be a high priority were essentially the same as they were the previous year (64%of Democrats and 60%of Republicans). Now, only 40% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats believe that this should be a high priority.

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Insurance Technology

The Influence of AI on Insurance

Article | March 29, 2022

As AI becomes more deeply integrated into the industry, carriers must position themselves to respond to the changing business landscape. Insurance executives are expected to understand the factors driving this shift and how AI in insurance will impact claims, distribution, underwriting, and pricing. They can start to learn the skills and talent they need, embrace new technology in the insurance industry, and build the culture and perspective they need to be successful in the future insurance market with this grip. While there are four types of levers that might help with productivity efforts—functional excellence, structural simplification, business transformation, and enterprise agility—insurers typically focus on the first two. Those levers are the foundation of efficient and effective operations, it isn't easy to leapfrog them. Traditional industry barriers are dissolving while technology advances and customer expectations vary dramatically. Ecosystems, which are groups of services that work together in a single integrated experience, are becoming more common across industries. Platforms that connect offerings from different industries are also becoming more common. In an interview with Media 7, Darcy Shapiro, COO of Americas at Cover Genius, talked about the changing expectations of consumers in the insurance industry. “Consumers expect brands to provide the same high-quality day-to-day experiences directly within the digital platforms they use most. Insurance should be no different.” Darcy Shapiro, COO of Americas at Cover Genius The Increasing Acceptance of Parametric Insurance In contrast to traditional policies, which are paid based on actual loss incurrence, metric insurance has been around for a while, providing payouts when a specific event exceeds an agreed-upon threshold. Previously being used specifically for natural disaster coverage and supplied to countries and large corporations, parametric insurance is making a comeback today. Advancements in sensor technology, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI in insurance) create broader information indexes on various levels, which opens up parametric risk applications in novel ways. A reinsurance company recently introduced a parametric water-level insurance product to shield businesses from the financial consequences of high or low river water levels. The program considers measured water levels at specific river gauges and agrees to pay a fixed amount for each day that the index remains below a predetermined threshold value. Other new-generation parametric solutions include terrorism protection for cities and airports, protection for retailers when transit strikes cut down on pedestrian traffic, and help for hotels when there are outbreaks. The advantages of parametric insurance include faster delivery and avoiding lengthy claims investigations. Furthermore, since parametric products have less uncertainty than traditional insurance, premiums can be significantly lower. In terms of technology, parametric insurance is best suited to blockchain technology, with smart contracts that pay out automatically when certain parameters are met. A Flood of Data from Connected Devices Fitness bands, home assistants, smartwatches, and other smart devices are rapidly becoming a part of our daily lives. In addition, smart clothing and medical devices will soon join the fray. Sensor-equipped equipment has long been common in industrial settings, but the number of connected consumer products is expected to skyrocket in the coming years. Existing gadgets (such as automobiles, fitness trackers, home assistants, smartphones, and smartwatches) will continue to grow. In contrast, new and expanding categories (such as clothing, eyewear, home appliances, medical devices, and shoes) will join them. According to analysts, interconnected devices will reach one trillion by 2025. The data generated by these devices will result in a flood of new data that carriers can use to understand their customers better, resulting in new product categories, more customized pricing, and an increase in real-time service delivery. The insurance industry can mine the data generated by these smart devices to better understand their customers’ preferences. This information can also assist insurers in developing new and more personalized product categories. The Rise of the Insurance Ecosystem According to McKinsey, insurance ecosystems will generate 30% of global revenue by 2025. With an expanding array of data sources and a data-driven culture, many insurers will soon be able to plug into and exploit data from complementing firms. These agreements are evolving to involve traditional insurers as well as technology companies. For example, an insurance firm in Europe teamed up with a smart-home technology vendor to improve its home insurance. The latter's technology can detect smoke and carbon monoxide, preventing losses. In addition, a global initiative of a major reinsurance company is developing an ecosystem for InsurTech start-ups and digital distributors. Recent McKinsey research also shows that the insurance business has been having a hard time making efficiency gains for a long time. Moreover, the operating expense disparity between the best and worst performers in P & C and life has widened over the last decade. Functional excellence, structural simplicity, business transformation, and enterprise agility are four productivity levers that insurers often focus on. Those levers are essential to efficient and productive operations. Ecosystems, which are groups of services that work together, are formed across industries and platforms that connect offerings from different sectors. Insurers may use ecosystems to integrate their products into seamless client experiences. Ecosystems are essential in today's interconnected world, whether you want to build direct relationships with customers or work with companies that act as the customer interface. Advancements in Cognitive Technology Cognition is a critical component of AI in insurance. AI cognitive technologies mimic how the human brain functions. In addition, new technology may make it easier to process huge amounts of data, especially from active insurance products that are linked to specific people. Carriers can constantly learn and adapt to the world thanks to cognitive technologies. As a result, it can enable insurance companies to introduce new product categories and engagement techniques and respond in real-time to changing underlying risks. In addition, convolutional neural networks and other deep learning technologies, which are currently used primarily for image, audio, and unstructured text processing, will be used in various applications in the future of insurance industry.

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Spotlight

The Plexus Groupe

The Plexus Groupe is a progressive, innovative, nationally recognized commercial insurance brokerage and consulting firm with an international reach. We are dedicated to delivering a wide range of expert independent insurance advice and superior service in the areas of property and casualty, employee benefits, retirement plans, personal lines insurance, and technology services.

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Auto Insurance Rates Are on the Rise - Here’s Why

capitalgazette | May 22, 2019

Auto insurance rates have been climbing up at a steady rate lately, and this is becoming more and more obvious to the average person. In fact, some people have started to get worried about the situation and the implications it holds for the future. And the worst part is, many of those people have a very poor understanding of the auto insurance market and how it works, and as a result have no idea what's causing these changes. Understanding the current market dynamics is important if you want to get the best deal on your own insurance, and it's even more important if you're planning any big purchases of this type in the future. You have to make sure that you can get the best deal on your future insurance plans.

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Aquiline to Acquire Relation Insurance Services in California

Aquiline Capital Partners LLC | February 22, 2019

Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm investing in financial services and technology, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Relation Insurance Services from private equity firms Parthenon Capital and Century Equity Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

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Auto-Owners Insurance snaps up regional insurer

Capital Insurance Group | February 20, 2019

Auto-Owners Insurance, a multi-line property and casualty insurer operating through independent agencies in 26 states, has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Capital Insurance Group (CIG). CIG is a regional property and casualty insurer serving the western United States. The company insures personal lines and a wide range of commercial and agricultural businesses in California, Washington state, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.

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Auto Insurance Rates Are on the Rise - Here’s Why

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Aquiline to Acquire Relation Insurance Services in California

Aquiline Capital Partners LLC | February 22, 2019

Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm investing in financial services and technology, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Relation Insurance Services from private equity firms Parthenon Capital and Century Equity Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

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