The workers' compensation sector is shifting to an online environment during the coronavirus pandemic, and the vast amount of claimants' personal data handled by the sector creates a need to strengthen security controls and employee training, according to experts. Nikki Ingram of Zurich North America noted that data breaches frequently start with employees, as "it's easier for the unsophisticated attacker to go after the human element," although sophisticated phishing attacks are also a source of concern.
The state of Pennsylvania has prohibited agents and brokers from engaging in face-to-face life insurance sales as part of its efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Those who do no comply with the order risk losing their insurance license.
APCIA President and CEO David Sampson said a Massachusetts bill that would require insurers to cover coronavirus-related business interruption claims is "constitutionally flawed" and "threatens the stability of the sector, to the detriment of all policyholders." Laura Meyer Gregory, partner at Sloane and Walsh, said the bill's constitutionality is questionable and that the measure "would likely bankrupt some insurers and cause others to discontinue writing insurance policies."
The insurance industry is poised for an adjustment period of 12 to 15 months as it adapts to increased technology usage for remote work, with exposures also likely to shift and commercial and homeowners among the lines where a rebound is ultimately likely, writes Ryan Kottenstette of Cape Analytics. Long-term changes could emerge in risk-underwriting processes and a range of insurance products, Kottenstette writes.
Coronavirus-related claims against company executives have begun to emerge, creating concerns among insurers in the directors-and-officers liability market. The pandemic is likely to drive D&O liability premiums higher and result in lower amounts of coverage offered, said Christine Williams of Aon's Financial Services Group.
Deaths related to distracted driving in Washington state have fallen since the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act took effect in 2017, a Washington Traffic Safety Commission study found. In 2019, such deaths declined by 33 compared with 2016's total of 155, according to the study.
The two people who recently stepped down from the wildfire victims committee participating in Pacific Gas and Electric's Chapter 11 proceedings said they will work to defeat the utility's plan to emerge from bankruptcy. Half of a proposed $13.5 billion settlement would be paid in PG&E stock, which the two opponents said would pose more risks for the victims than other creditors.
The New Mexico State Forestry Division will use satellites that can track temperature changes in its efforts to detect and fight wildfires. The system will provide officials and crews with real-time alerts and map information via text messages.
A Minnesota bill would make first responders and health care workers eligible for workers' compensation if they contract COVID-19, which would be presumed to be a work-related infection. A similar bill in Louisiana would provide benefits for workers the state has deemed essential.
A payout at death is just one of the benefits life insurance offers, writes Ralph Dittrich of Crump Insurance Services. Other selling points of various policies include cash value accumulation, tax-free withdrawals and loans, and protection from market volatility.
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