Insurance crisis looms over homeowners and insurers in California

While the world watches the Australian bushfires ravage the country, it’s not the only region that’s felt the brute force of the fiery catastrophe. The past year may not have been California’s worst wildfire season on record – that title went to 2018 – but still, in late October, fires broke out throughout the state and led to the evacuation of more than 200,000 people as well as a declaration of a state of emergency, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Meanwhile, between January 01 and November 22, 2019, the National Interagency Fire Center reported 46,706 wildfires (compared to 52,080 wildfires over the same period in 2018) and about 4.6 million acres burned, compared to 8.5 million acres the previous year.

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Life Insurance

illumifin Acquires AmeriLife's Administrative Partners of America

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

illumifin, a leading third-party insurance administration and technology provider, today announced it has acquired Administrative Partners of America (APA), the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) of AmeriLife, a national leader in developing, marketing, and distributing life and health insurance, annuities, and retirement planning solutions. As one of the largest independent marketing organizations (IMO) in the U.S., AmeriLife and APA administer approximately 230,000 policies that generate $3.1 billion of premiums in life insurance, annuities and Medicare Supplement products annually. APA employs nearly 200 associates in Clearwater, Florida, and Salt Lake City, Utah, all of whom will transition to illumifin as part of the sale. Peter Goldstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of illumifin, commented, "This is our second life and annuities acquisition that complements our existing TPA business and further transforms illumifin. We are constantly identifying new opportunities that will enhance our value proposition and make us a key strategic partner to our clients. AmeriLife has a solid platform with key client overlap that strengthens our relationships and opens the door for significant expansion opportunities. We are very excited to build a partnership with AmeriLife to help support their future growth efforts." Scott R. Perry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AmeriLife, added, "illumifin is a great home for our TPA operations, and APA's customers will benefit greatly from access to a broad set of capabilities and scalable services across all lines of business. We're equally as excited to begin a new era of partnership with illumifin, and – together with our carrier partners – introduce new products to market, fuel our collective growth, and continue transforming our industry for years to come." illumifin was formed by Abry Partners, a leading Boston-based private equity firm, and Hoplon Capital, an asset manager focused on digital transformation and disruption. About illumifin illumifin provides third party administration and technology services to individual and group insurers. The company, launched in 2021, blends insurance industry knowledge, technology leadership and operational execution to prepare insurers for the digital future. illumifin is a diverse, passionate and empowered team of insurance specialists committed to the growth and success of its customers. With illumifin, there's a brighter future. About AmeriLife AmeriLfe's strength is its mission: to provide insurance and retirement solutions to help people live longer, healthier lives. In doing so, AmeriLife has become recognized as a leader in developing, marketing, and distributing life and health insurance, annuities, and retirement planning solutions to enhance the lives of pre-retirees and retirees across the United States. For more than 50 years, AmeriLife has partnered with top insurance carriers to provide value and quality to customers served through a distribution network of over 300,000 insurance agents and advisors and 120 marketing organizations and insurance agency locations nationwide. About Abry Partners Abry is one of the most experienced and successful sector-focused private equity investment firms in North America. Since its founding in 1989, the firm has completed over $90 billion of leveraged transactions and other private equity or preferred equity placements. Currently, the firm manages over $5 billion of capital across its active funds. About Hoplon Capital Hoplon pursues proprietary investments focused on the digital economy that are disruptive in their respective end markets including insurance, financial services, IT and consulting services, healthcare, digital infrastructure and media industries.

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Insurance Technology

AgentSync Launches API to Streamline Insurance Producer Onboarding and Compliance

PR Newswire | January 29, 2024

AgentSync today announced the launch of its first commercially available ProducerSync API for carriers, MGAs, and agencies to manage producer and adjuster licensing and appointment validation without the paperwork. The ProducerSync application programming interface (API) acts as a menu, allowing insurance businesses to draw from a selection of National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) data on licensing, appointing, and personal information for producers. AgentSync humanizes and contextualizes the data so end users have actionable information from the industry source of truth without hours of manual research. "ProducerSync API represents a key step in our long-term strategic vision. By streaming accurate and comprehensive data to our customers' existing systems, ProducerSync API drives better business decisions," said Jenn Knight, Co-Founder and CTO of AgentSync. "We're focused on building modern technology that unlocks value for our customers, and highly flexible and adaptable products like ProducerSync API do exactly that by leveraging current data for better all-around business outcomes." The ProducerSync API uses REST API architecture, making it lightweight, scalable, and flexible, and is the first of AgentSync's planned suite of APIs to be available to the wider insurance market. It joins a family of modern business solutions the company uses to connect the industry. "Our first product, Manage, has had strong customer adoption by delivering superior business data with a modern user interface and comprehensive features for compliance and producer management," said Knight. "ProducerSync API builds on this vision, giving customers programmatic access to NIPR data elements in a way that is highly modular and reusable for a variety of use cases." Insurance runs on data, but maintaining the accuracy and quality of producer data across ecosystems is, historically, a challenge for all stripes of insurance organizations. With ProducerSync API, users can have confidence in their data while reducing maintenance, driving down business risks, enabling better-informed decisions, and eliminating inefficiencies with a scaled, secure solution. About AgentSync AgentSync builds modern insurance infrastructure that connects carriers, agencies, MGAs, and producers. With customer-centric design, seamless APIs, automation, and unparalleled service, AgentSync's solutions provide data intelligence and streamlined onboarding and compliance management processes that reduce costs, increase efficiency, and get producers ready to sell in hours instead of weeks. Founded in 2018 by Niranjan "Niji" Sabharwal and Jenn Knight, and headquartered in Denver, CO, AgentSync has been recognized as one of Denver's Best Places to Work, a Forbes Magazine Cloud 100 Rising Star, and as an Insurtech Insights Future 50 winner, and was ranked 65 in Forbes – America's Best Startup Employers 2023.

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Core Insurance

NAIC Members Approve Model Bulletin on Use of AI by Insurers

NAIC | December 06, 2023

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Membership voted to adopt the Model Bulletin on the Use of Artificial Intelligence Systems by Insurers during the 2023 Fall National Meeting. The bulletin reflects the work of the NAIC Innovation, Cybersecurity, and Technology (H) Committee, chaired by Maryland Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane. Michael Conway, Commissioner of the Colorado Division of Insurance, and Doug Ommen, Commissioner of the Iowa Insurance Division, are co-vice chairs of the committee. "This initiative represents a collaborative effort to set clear expectations for state Departments of Insurance regarding the utilization of AI by insurance companies, balancing the potential for innovation with the imperative to address unique risks," said Commissioner Birrane. As the insurance sector navigates the complexities of AI, the NAIC's Model Bulletin on the Use of Artificial Intelligence Systems by Insurers provides a robust foundation to safeguard consumers, promote fairness, and uphold the highest standards of integrity within the industry. [Source -PR Newswire] The H Committee, comprised of representatives from 15 states, began drafting the bulletin in 2023 with the goal of establishing comprehensive regulatory standards to ensure the responsible deployment of AI in the insurance industry. The bulletin addresses critical issues related to the usage of AI, such as potential inaccuracies, unfair biases leading to discrimination, and data vulnerabilities. While not a model law or regulation, the AI model bulletin serves as a guiding document, fostering uniformity among state insurance regulators regarding expectations for insurance carriers deploying AI. The bulletin comprises four key sections, each addressing crucial aspects of AI usage by insurers. It emphasizes the importance of responsible governance, risk management policies, and procedures to ensure fair and accurate outcomes for consumers. The bulletin reminds insurance carriers that decisions impacting consumers that are made or supported by advanced analytical and computational technologies, including AI, must comply with all applicable insurance laws and regulations, including unfair trade practices. The bulletin also sets forth state insurance regulators' expectations on how insurers should govern the use of such technologies by or on behalf of the insurer to make or support such decisions, including the creation and implementation of a written AIS Program, commensurate with an assessment of the risk in accordance with the guidelines established by the NAIC's 2020 Principles of Artificial Intelligence, and to ensure that decisions impacting consumers made or supported by AI are accurate and do not violate unfair trade practice laws or other applicable legal standards. The bulletin also advises insurers of documentation that a state Department of Insurance may request during an investigation or examination. The initial draft was presented to the working group on June 29, 2023, and subsequently exposed for public comment periods, allowing for extensive input from industry stakeholders, consumers, and legislators. The process involved two exposure periods, with the first public comment period ending on Sept. 5, 2023, and the second ending on Nov. 6, 2023. The review process also included in-person comments during the 2023 Summer National Meeting in Seattle, WA, and during the 2023 Fall National Meeting in Orlando, FL. Significant updates were made to the model bulletin based on the feedback received. These updates addressed concerns raised during the review process, including a shift in focus toward outcomes, revisions to key definitions aligned with National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) standards, and updates to language on third-party contracting and testing and validation protocols. Commissioner Birrane expressed gratitude for the collaborative efforts of the H Committee, drafting groups, and all stakeholders involved. The completion and adoption of the model bulletin mark a significant step forward in adapting regulatory frameworks to the evolving landscape of AI in the insurance industry. About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.

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