Winter 2017

Where does an idea begin? And how can a concept be nursed through a promising infancy into reality, and then kindled into a profitable innovation? Even when a questioner is armed with relevant pools of data, responses for such seemingly simple questions themselves often point to other open-ended questions.

Verisk Review Expert Panel: Terrorism

By Daniel Gray, Shane Latchman and Jonathon Green

Following a battery of lethal attacks in New York, Paris, Brussels, and other major urban centers, global terrorism is taking a toll on people and places once considered beyond the reach of such extreme violence. As the threat of global terrorism continues to rise, managing risk from terrorism has become an essential part of business. Verisk Maplecroft’s Terrorism Intensity Index (TII) enables organizations to identify and monitor terrorism risks to human security and international assets.

In the world of satellite technology, what goes up also tends to stay up—although next-generation advances are now sending key information about severe storms back down. That satellite, known as GOES-R, is bringing sharper insights about lightning and other factors that shed light on the timing, track, and intensity of storms. But what goes into a forecast, and how do forecasters predict the weather? In preparation for GOES-R, AER has been working for the last seven years on technology designed to improve forecasting substantially for decades to come.

Wood Mackenzie recently completed its Global Upstream Cost Survey and published a perspective entitled “Cost management in upstream oil and gas: Has upstream kicked its cost problem?” The survey demonstrates that many in the industry have made progress on costs over the last two years. Considerable cost reductions have been achieved, but there are significant concerns about whether the actions are truly sustainable.

At least twice in 2016, well-known publications have questioned the longevity of social media analytics. Forbes published an article entitled “Is the era of social media analytics coming to an end?” and Entrepreneur posted an article called “This is why social media analytics are essentially worthless.” While this was happening, social media data was reportedly being used to help facilitate voter targeting operations during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaigns, and some of the world’s largest banks were exploring social media in lieu of traditional credit histories.

Data Analytics, Law, and Ethics

By Hernan L. Medina

With winds picking up along Florida’s coast, the forecast for a tropical storm was rapidly becoming more serious. That developing storm—soon to be known as Hurricane Hermine—was closely tracked by AIR Worldwide, a leading provider of predictive models, which issued an alert to insurers. Using its exposure database and hundreds of probability-weighted storm scenarios, AIR was able to provide information about exposures and anticipated property damages. In previous storms, early warnings and related information helped insurers plan how to deploy resources and handle storm claims more effectively. Just nine hours later, on September 2, 2016, Hurricane Hermine made landfall about 23 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida.

Just about a year ago, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced the Commercial Repayment Center (CRC) as an additional contractor in helping with its conditional payment recovery processes against workers' compensation, liability (including self-insurance), and no-fault claims payers. As part of this, CMS also made fundamental changes about when it seeks actual reimbursement from claims payers.

Cyber risk may be the fastest-growing segment of the insurance market. It may also present the most dynamic risk out there, raising some significant challenges for many risk managers, insurers, and IT personnel attempting to build better defenses against cyber threats. Yet, in part because of its rapid growth, cyber has also become a space open to innovative products and cutting-edge expertise. Still in its infancy, underwriting for cyber risks has changed dramatically in scope and context from some of the earliest policy products of just a decade ago.

The potential impact of slavery and human trafficking on brand reputation might seem remote to many companies. But the tens of millions of workers trapped in webs of debt, threats, illegality, and physical coercion are inherently part of the global economy. Slavery and human trafficking can lurk in commodity production and low-value manufacturing, to name a few; in the subcontracted workforce of the emerging markets; and in economic subsectors of Europe and North America.

Call it a “perfect cyber storm”—the whirlwind of variables that can come together in a connected world and lead to a wholly unexpected loss. For many insurers and reinsurers, the increasing frequency, types, and complexity of cyber attacks, the growing amount of information stored and sent digitally, and the expanding Internet of Things can coalesce to make cyber risk even more challenging to manage. Unlike the very mature property insurance market—where standard terms and policy form language have evolved over time—today’s immature and diverse cyber risk market can create problems for many insurers and catastrophe modelers alike.



Scott StephensonDoing the Right Thing

Verisk Analytics Chairman, President, and CEO Scott Stephenson spoke to A.M. Best about why doing the right things in a time of declining profits can mean the difference between success and survival for insurers.

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