Insurance & “The New Normal”

Credit for all photos in this post: Don Pollard

By Tasha Williams, Senior Research Writer

At Triple-I’s 2021 Joint Industry Forum (JIF) on Thursday, December 2, CEO Sean Kevelighan challenged attendees to ponder a question: “What do we know about the new normal?”

In his opening presentation and a sit-down with NBC correspondent Contessa Brewer, Kevelighan shared insights on how the emerging post-pandemic reality is transforming how the world manages risk. Panel discussions highlighted critical issues facing the industry, including cyber risk, runaway litigation, and cultivating resilience in a world that will continue to face unprecedented natural and economic threats.

Kevelighan and other experts from across academia, media, and industry described how the pandemic fallout, along with other evolving threats to communities and businesses, demanded innovation at breakneck speed.

“Insurance is at the center” of this change, said Kevelighan. The industry has the opportunity to continue its role as the “leading voice in terms of creating more resilience.”

Peter Miller, president and CEO of The Institutes, took the stage later to speak about how the insurance world can optimally position itself for the benefits and hurdles of the coming year.  

Technology, he said, can be a valuable tool to “provide a much clearer picture of risk.” He opened the door for cooperation with a call to action: “If you have an issue collaboration idea, give me a shout.”

Technology and collaboration as critical ingredients for success in the new paradigm was a recurrent theme throughout the forum.

Dale Porfilio, Triple-I’s chief insurance officer, moderated a panel on cyber risk. This peril continues to grow, driving profits – but also premiums – upward. Panelists estimated $28 billion in cyber premiums by 2026.

Chris Beck, managing director at Milliman Inc., Catherine Mulligan, global head of cyber for Aon, and Paul Miskovich, global business leader for Pango Group, shared their thoughts on how the market could be stabilized, with the government playing a pivotal role as legislative enforcer and data aggregator.

Dr. Michel Léonard, Triple-I vice president and senior economist, shared insights on the economic challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for insurance and risk managers. In 2021, industry growth lagged U.S. growth, with 1.10 percent for insurance versus 5.8 percent for overall U.S. growth.

Leonard believes that recovery, albeit uneven, will continue and growth will be strong – just not enough to make up for the contraction. He said he doesn’t expect overall pre-pandemic levels to return until 2024.

Re-imagining risk management in the new normal also requires finding effective ways to address two elephants in the room: the talent gap and “runaway litigation”.

Frank Tomasello, executive director of the Institutes Griffith Foundation, moderated a panel that explored the impact of litigation trends on claims expenses and, ultimately, policyholder premiums.

A panel featuring representatives from State Farm, Swiss Re, and The Hartford discussed the challenges of recruiting and retaining talent amid the Great Resignation. The rising generations – millennials and Gen Z – have different career goals and expectations for their employers, such as more diverse workplaces.

As Deepi Soni, executive vice president and CIO at The Hartford, put it: “We said oil is gold. We said data is gold. Talent is diamond.”

More JIF 2021 coverage

Insurers Focusing on Retention and Recruitment

As Cybercriminals Act More Like Businesses, Insurers Must Think
More Like Criminals

Runaway Litigation Drives Up Costs, Premiums, JIF Panelists Say

JIF C-Suite Panel: Finding Opportunity Amid Evolving Risks