Crypto Crime Hit Record $14 Billion in 2021, Research Shows

LONDON — Crime involving cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of $14 billion last year, blockchain researcher Chainalysis said on Thursday, a record that comes as regulators call for more powers over the fast-growing sector. Crypto received by digital wallet addresses …
Source: Journal USA Crypto Crime Hit Record Billion in 2021, Research Shows

Virginia Officials Defend Response to Snowy Gridlock on I-95

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) –A winter storm that started as rain — meaning roads couldn’t be pretreated — followed by an unusually heavy snowfall and plunging temperatures resulted in the stranding of hundreds of motorists along a stretch of one of …
Source: Journal USA Virginia Officials Defend Response to Snowy Gridlock on I-95

Philadelphia Fire Kills at Least 13, Including 7 Children

PHILADELPHIA (AP)–A large fire tore through a two-unit house early Wednesday in Philadelphia, killing 13 people, including seven children, and sending two people to hospitals, fire officials said. They warned the numbers could grow as firefighters inspected the rowhome, where …
Source: Journal USA Philadelphia Fire Kills at Least 13, Including 7 Children

Two Key Decisions Regarding COVID-19 Related Business Losses

Law360 reports that more than five thousand civil lawsuits have been filed by businesses seeking to recoup pandemic-related losses under their commercial policies. This new wave of litigation has called upon courts across the country to determine whether commercial policyholders have a right to recover for business losses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just last month, two federal courts reached conflicting decisions in similar suits brought by commercial policyholders against their insurers. The rulings, issued one day apart, highlight the challenges litigants will face in pursuing lawsuits of this nature on either side of the docket. In Studio 417, Inc., et al. v. The Cincinnati Ins. Comp., the plaintiff-insureds brought a class action against their insurer after their for pandemic-related business losses were denied. The respective policies each contained the same relevant language, which obligated the insurer to cover “direct ‘loss’ unless the ‘loss’ [was] excluded or limited”. A “Covered Cause of Loss” was defined as “accidental [direct] physical loss or accidental [direct] physical damage”. However, the policies were silent as to what constituted a “physical loss” or “physical damage”.
Source: The Claims Page – USA Two Key Decisions Regarding COVID-19 Related Business Losses

Diversity Pays Off

The racial reckoning of recent months has raised the bar for business leaders. It is no longer enough for them to simply understand that a diverse group of employees, managers, executives and board members creates better results. They need to have the commitment and motivation to act as well as the fortitude and patience to improve the work environments they oversee. Whether it is diversity in age, ethnicity, religion, identity or gender, companies that support a diverse and inclusive culture will find greater success than those that do not. And the data proves it. Articles from McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) highlight how revenue, profit and performance are impacted by diversity and inclusion (D&I), and these numbers are significant. According to BCG, companies with diverse management teams experienced a 19% increase in revenue, compared to others with less diversity. McKinsey also reports racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to perform better. When D&I intersect with one another, good things happen.
Source: The Page – USA Diversity Pays Off

Tesla Insurance Could Potentially Be America’s Biggest Auto Insurer

Tesla Insurance – the auto insurance offshoot of Tesla Inc. – could become one of the largest auto insurers in America, if the unit’s valuation by chief executive Elon Musk is to be believed. In a recent quarterly earnings call, Musk dropped hints that he sees Tesla Insurance taking up a good portion of the company’s car business. “Obviously, insurance is substantial. So, insurance could very well be, I don’t know, 30%, 40% of the value of the car business, frankly,” he said. Thirty per cent (30%) may not sound like much, but a report from CleanTechnica puts the figure into perspective. As of July, Tesla’s value exceeded almost every company in the S&P 500, the clean technology news portal noted, with the company’s market cap currently sitting at $391.95 billion. If Tesla Insurance was 30% of the company’s current market cap, it would easily take the top insurer spot from State Farm, which has a market cap of $42 billion.
Source: The Page – USA Tesla Insurance Could Potentially Be America’s Biggest Auto Insurer

Australia’s Extreme Wildfires Predicted To Worsen

Thousands of tourists and residents evacuated parts of Australia on Friday as hot temperatures and strong winds were expected to worsen wildfire conditions over the weekend. “This is a ferocious fire that is still out there, and the climatic conditions are going to be very difficult to contain in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference Friday. At least 19 people have died, dozens are missing and more than 1,400 homes have been lost in the country’s wildfires, which have been burning since October. Authorities have said this season’s fires are the worst in Australia’s history and that the crisis is likely to last for months. Hundreds of fires are active across the nation with more than 12 million acres of land scorched.
Source: The Page – USA Australia’s Extreme Wildfires Predicted To Worsen

What Is Social Inflation, And Why Is It Hurting Insurance?

Social inflation is one of the latest buzzwords in insurance. It is used by insurers to describe the rising costs of insurance resulting from things like increasing litigation, broader definitions of liability, more plaintiff-friendly legal decisions, and larger compensatory jury awards. While the core components driving social inflation have been evident for some time, their impacts on the insurance industry have only really started to come to a head in the past couple of years. “Probably one of the biggest drivers of social inflation is the general anti-corporate sentiment that exists, reaching back to the financial crisis,” said Mike Hudzik, managing director, head of casualty underwriting, US & Canada, Swiss Re. “It seems like it’s a long time ago in our rear-view mirror, but it really created an environment that continues to gain momentum today. Since that time, there’s been a greater division or separation of wealth, and there’s just generally a feeling that someone needs to pay when there’s some kind of damage or injury sustained, regardless of negligence.”
Source: The Claims Page – USA What Is Social Inflation, And Why Is It Hurting Insurance?

Beat The Waiting Game: Tips For Getting Stalled Claims Moving Again

“Well? We’re waiting!” goes the infamous line groaned by Judge Smails to Ty Webb in “Caddyshack” while he waits to find out how much money his golf bet is going to cost him. Many insurance clients utter this same frustrated groan to professionals handling their stalled loss payouts. For the professionals, we’re waiting, too—for medical records, for a demand, for the claimant to finish treating, for the attorney to return phone calls, for a full moon—we’re always waiting for something in this industry, aren’t we? The good news is that we don’t have to wait anymore, and neither do our clients. There are strategies to get past the blockades that seem to be anchored to circumstances over which we have no control.
Source: The Claims Page – USA Beat The Waiting Game: Tips For Getting Stalled Claims Moving Again

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis Gets Third Degree On Insurance Claims

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who oversees insurance regulation in the state, faced tough questioning Tuesday over the thousands of unpaid still lingering after Hurricane Michael and other storms. The Panhandle Republican spoke before reporters at the Associated Press’ Legislative Planning Session, held before each year’s Legislative Session. After choking up over the damage in his native Bay County, Patronis got into testy exchanges over how much he was actually doing to help push insurers to more speedily get money to policyholders in need, including those whose homes still need repair. That spilled over into an impromptu question-and-answer gaggle with a handful of reporters outside the meeting room, when he was asked what legislative proposals he would put forth to help thousands of Floridians needing help. “At the end of the day, there is no reason why a policyholder should have to deal with seven different adjusters,” he said. “And when you still have 16,000 open, nobody’s doing OK.”
Source: The Claims Page – USA Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis Gets Third Degree On Insurance Claims

Utahn Reports Truck Stolen After Losing It While Drunk

A local man is in jail for allegedly filing a false insurance claim after losing his truck while intoxicated. Joseph Michael Harrington, 41, of Washington City, faces one second-degree felony count of filing a false or fraudulent insurance claim, along with two misdemeanor charges for providing a written false statement and for reporting a fraudulent emergency to police, fire or medical, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest. The incident began on Oct. 5 when St. George Police officers were dispatched to one of the lookouts on Red Hills Parkway near 900 East shortly after 1 a.m. on a report of a carjacking involving a Toyota Tundra. At the time of the incident, the man told police he had been sitting in his pickup when an unknown person hit him over the head with a rock before taking his vehicle. He provided vague details of the incident in the report later filed with police.
Source: The Page – USA Utahn Reports Truck Stolen After Losing It While Drunk

Insurers Refuse To Inhale The Liability Risk Of Vaping

It’s hard to believe it today, but cigarettes were once lauded as a good thing. “Give your throat a vacation,” one 1930s advertisement reads. “Smoke a FRESH cigarette.” For the first half of the 2oth century, cigarette manufacturers flourished. Then, in 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued a definitive report that linked smoking cigarettes with lung cancer. Everything changed. Not overnight, of course, but over the course of the next 50 to 60 years, cigarette smoking has waned with only 14% of the population considered regular smokers. Health risks are printed on the label. Images of disease-ridden smokers are plastered across boxes. We, as a society, know the risks. But now we have e-cigarettes.
Source: The Page – USA Insurers Refuse To Inhale The Liability Risk Of Vaping

Helicopter Pilot Killed In Crash Landing On Manhattan High-Rise

A helicopter crashed on top of a building in Midtown Monday afternoon. It happened around 1:45 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Numerous emergency responders rushed to the scene at 787 Seventh Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets. The pilot of the helicopter was killed. Sources tell CBS2 the pilot radioed before the crash that he was in trouble. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that a helicopter made a “forced” or “emergency” landing on top of the building. Officials later described the incident as a “hard landing” at a high rate of speed.
Source: The Page – USA Helicopter Pilot Killed In Crash Landing On Manhattan High-Rise

Will Cyber Risk Be 9/11 All Over Again?

Hundreds of New York City firefighters were climbing the stairs in the World Trade Center when it collapsed, taking the lives of 2,700 people in September 2001. Many parts of the story are well known. One part haunts us today with respect to cyber risk. In an April Risk & Insurance® story, editor Dan Reynolds reminded us of the difficulty of helping people understand cyber risk, particularly when mass media simplifies issues and social media spreads unfounded opinions and assumptions. Reynolds points out that the motivation of underwriters is to pay legitimate . Many of the electronic communication platforms create the opposite impression.
Source: The Claims Page – USA Will Cyber Risk Be 9/11 All Over Again?

Protocols Weren’t Followed Before Tiger Attack

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Longtime procedures involving the handling of potentially dangerous animals were not followed in April when a Topeka Zoo employee was attacked and injured by a tiger , according to a report released Thursday. The report detailing …
Source: Journal USA Protocols Weren’t Followed Before Tiger Attack

US Storms In May Will Cost Insurers Billions: Aon

Insurers are on the hook for a multibillion-dollar payout as a result of severe convective storms across much of the United States in May including more than 362 tornadoes — the highest tally for this month since 2015, according to a report Thursday from Aon PLC. No fewer than seven outbreaks of severe convective storms swept across central and eastern parts of the U.S. in May, and the overall impact will be in the billions of dollars, according to Aon PLC’s global catastrophe recap. “Severe convective storms have resulted in at least US$10 billion in U.S. insurance payouts annually since 2008, and we are likely headed towards a 12th consecutive year,” Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said in the statement.
Source: The Page – USA US Storms In May Will Cost Insurers Billions: Aon

Opioid Manufacturer Insys Files for Bankruptcy after Kickback Probe

Drugmaker Insys Therapeutics Inc filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday amid mounting expenses driven by a U.S. Justice Department probe into it paid doctors bribes to prescribe a powerful opioid medication. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing marked a first …
Source: Claims Journal USA Opioid Manufacturer Insys Files for Bankruptcy after Kickback Probe

Brush Fire Evacuation Closes 2 Southern Calif. Amusement Parks

LOS ANGELES — A brush fire raging along a Southern California riverbed prompted the evacuation of two nearby amusement parks on Sunday, but no homes were threatened and no serious injuries were reported, authorities said. The blaze erupted at about …
Source: Journal USA Brush Fire Evacuation Closes 2 Southern Calif. Amusement Parks

70% Of Workers’ Comp Billing Disputes End Badly For California Payers

A performance report on the first five years of California’s independent bill review program reveals that adjusters’ billing decisions rarely align with how the state workers’ comp system sees things. According to the latest report from the California Dept. of Industrial Relations’ Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC)¸ more than 70 percent of workers’ comp bills submitted to the state for bill review adjudication are decided in favor of the medical provider disputing the amount remitted by payers. That means that in seven out of 10 cases¸ not only are payers on the hook for additional medical costs¸ they also have to pick up the tab for the review fee.
Source: The Claims Page – USA 70% Of Workers’ Comp Billing Disputes End Badly For California Payers

How Insurers Can Turn Their Salvage Into Social Purpose

If your client has filed a claim after experiencing a major event like a flood or fire¸ it’s likely that contractors have removed salvageable materials that are still usable. For example¸ in the event of a kitchen flood¸ contractors may place a large bin outside and start taking apart the flooring and cabinets that had been damaged. But in this case¸ the flood would have likely damaged flooring and lower cabinets¸ so why throw the upper cabinets in a bin destined for the landfill when they can be repurposed? One large Canadian insurer has taken a unique approach to divert such salvageable materials from landfills. Since 2014¸ The Co-operators has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Canada for the insurer’s ReClaim program¸ which provides Habitat for Humanity ReStores with good quality materials salvage from a home claim.
Source: The Page – USA How Insurers Can Turn Their Salvage Into Social Purpose