Insurance Journal - The New York Stock Exchange indicated that it would not resume trade on Wednesday. Reuters reported that U.S. stock markets had been shut down in the wake of terrorist attacks on New Yorks World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon near Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11. European stock markets, and especially insurance shares, were particularly hard hit following the terrorist attacks. At the same time that insurance stocks were falling, oil stocks were gaining, according to Reuters. Overall, the insurance sector reportedly dropped 11 percent, while Swiss Re fell 15.7 percent, Axa plummeted 13.3 percent, and Royal & Sun Alliance dropped 14.44 percent.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
National Underwriter - Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which had offices in both towers of the World Trade Center, has established an emergency call room at its midtown Manhattan headquarters. Marsh employees who have left the World Trade Center should call the following number immediately: (212) 345-6000. Chicago-based Aon Corp., which also had employees working in the World Trade Center complex, is asking WTC employees who are able to call to check in at a toll-free telephone number--866-256-4154--as soon as possible. "We are collecting information on the safety of our employees, and would like to get home contact information for all of our employees," Aon said in a statement. Aon is putting news updates about its situation for employees at 866-946-4357.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
National Underwriter - The Florida Bar is considering whether control by insurance companies over the defense of lawsuits against insureds constitutes the unlicensed practice of law. The bar association's Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL) held a public hearing on the issue in Orlando on June 22, 2001. The hearing stems from complaints from defense attorneys about non-lawyer insurance adjusters who direct defense strategy much in the way that non-physician clerical workers try to control how HMO physicians can treat patients. The adjusters decide when defense attorneys can hire expert witnesses, take depositions and engage in court hearings, say the attorneys, who also object to insurer demands that legal bills be sent to outside fee auditors.
Wednesday, August 29, 2001
National Underwriter - "The bad news is that there is a whole new world of [privacy] compliance and you have to figure out the rules," said attorney Scott Sinder in a recent panel discussion. "The worse news is that it's only the beginning." Mr. Sinder, a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Collier Shannon Scott, PLLC, reflected the views of his fellow insurance experts on the topic "Privacy: The Raging Consumer Issue." The CPCU Society and the Insurance Institute of Canada's Chartered Insurance Professional Society presented the wide-ranging discussions on notice issues and the practicalities of implementing privacy mandates in a live satellite broadcast from Washington, D.C. on May 17.
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Claims Magazine - Sometimes we are wise to be scared. Self-preservation demands a healthy respect for danger. If the following doesn't concern you, you're already on your way to career extinction. "They (insurance companies) are all alike! If my agent can't save me some money, I find one who can. Insurance is just a commodity." Sound familiar? Are we not working in a price-sensitive market, a very price-sensitive market? These three sentences have more to do with the endless "soft market cycle" than capacity, investment income, and abundant competition all put together. We are awash in a sea of undifferentiated services and competitors. Don't misread this. There is certainly significant disparity between the best and the worst in every aspect of P&C insurance and claims-related services.
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
National Underwriter - Despite improvements in pricing from a hardening property-casualty market, underwriting discipline is the key for insurers looking to make up ground lost to the years in a soft market. This was the observation of one executive during an online panel discussion conducted as part of the two day "Producers Forum Online," out of King of Prussia, Pa. "Price increases will not solve all of the problems the [insurance] business is dealing with," said Bruce Connell, executive vice president, group underwriting officer for XL Insurance in Bermuda. Insurers will have to take a closer look at their business and pay more attention to their underwriting to make up ground lost during the more than a decade long soft market, said Mr. Connell.
Monday, August 20, 2001
Claims Magazine - Those with their ears close to the ground will have heard a pounding noise reverberating through the halls and boardrooms of automobile insurance companies across the U.S. That racket has brought about a major shift in the way glass losses are being handled. Simply put, the glass networks are on the way out, and the independent, impartial call centers are in. This same shift is occurring, just as dramatically, in the auto collision arena. The early rumbles were the well documented abuses of glass networks trying to lower costs by directing as much business as possible to their own glass shops. Competitors responded by meeting lower costs in some cases and increasing costs in others. This hot and cold response enveloped the industry - driving up overall costs for carriers, while imposing inconveniences and safety risks - and started the finger-pointing that may carriers have described as the friction costs of networks.
Monday, August 13, 2001
Technology Decisions - As a result of mergers and acquisitions, some insurers have found themselves working with multiple claims systems. That gives these consolidated insurers a choice: continue maintaining multiple systems or somehow standardize on a single system. Either option includes costs that must be evaluated carefully. However, there is another option-alternative applications. For many insurers, this new wave of technology has proven to be less costly and easier to implement. If you continue to use disparate systems ("Option 1" in the diagram), youll avoid transition costs but end up incurring in higher maintenance costs and less flexibility: Adjusters must be trained on the various systems in order to handle the claims of multiple subsidiary companies; your IT costs-and time-escalate when supporting multiple systems, especially if they run on different hardware
Thursday, August 02, 2001
National Underwriter - The fundamental, rapid changes in our industry, combined with an unusually competitive job market, may mean that some of your employees are looking for other professional opportunities. Successful leaders know the value of retaining good employees and fostering their development. Further, they know that strong, positive leadership includes an interest in the professional development of employees. A recent research study of over 300 organizations by Watson Wyatt, a leading global human resources consulting firm, shows that establishing a balance between workforce cost management and attraction and retention of top talent is the most important challenge to an organizations future success. The study also shows that your workforce is the most significant factor in revenue generation and cost control.
Thursday, July 26, 2001
Technology Decisions - The insurance industry is finding itself at a crossroads when deciding what path with its technologies. You know you can use it to improve your existing business functions and eliminate redundancies. You know the technology exists to improve services for buyers and sellers, adjusters and agents, and policyholders. But there is only so much you can do to smooth processes, streamline business functions, and use technology to make incremental business improvements. What path will bring greater efficiency, better return on investment, and improved customer service? The answer could lie in claims e-marketplaces based on open systems.
Thursday, July 26, 2001