A Framework for Defining a Role for Insurers in “Uninsurable” Risks: Insights from COVID-19

Link: https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/JIR-ZA-40-10-EL.pdf

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RETHINKING UNINSURABILITY While many have viewed insurability as a binary choice with respect to a risk (i.e., insurable or uninsurable), insurability is more appropriately considered on a continuum, ranging from easy-to-insure, such as automobile or life insurance, to difficult-to-insure, such as pandemic, loss of the electrical grid, and other extreme catastrophic risks.

FRAMEWORK The role of private and public sectors in dealing with risks that are difficult-to-insure should be to develop strategies that enable a greater degree of insurability. To do so, the framework suggests that policymakers consider three fundamental options in dealing with the insurance industry:

Status Quo (SQ) –This option (SQ) contemplates a similar dynamic to that experienced with COVID-19, wherein businesses, nonprofits, and local governments found limited (if any) insurance coverage for their losses and ex post relief programs funded by the government.

Service Provider (SP) – This option (SP) contemplates an administrative, non-risk-bearing role for the insurance industry while the entire cost of claims would be publicly financed.

Service and Risk (SR) –In addition to its role as a service provider as characterized by SP, this option (SR) would expect insurers to commit capital – in an amount that does not threaten their financial viability – to cover a specified layer or other defined element of losses.

Author(s): Howard Kunreuther, Jason Schupp

Publication Date: 2021

Publication Site: NAIC

NHTSA Releases Initial Data on Safety Performance of Advanced Vehicle Technologies

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/initial-data-release-advanced-vehicle-technologies

Report for Level 2 ADAS: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/2022-06/ADAS-L2-SGO-Report-June-2022.pdf

Report for Levels 3-5: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/2022-06/ADS-SGO-Report-June-2022.pdf

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Today, as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to increase roadway safety and encourage innovation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published the initial round of data it has collected through its Standing General Order issued last year and initial accompanying reports summarizing this data.

The SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems summary report is available here, while the SAE Levels 3-5 automated driving systems summary report is available here. Going forward, NHTSA will release data updates monthly.

These data reflect a set of crashes that automakers and operators reported to NHTSA from the time the Standing General Order was issued last June. While not comprehensive, the data are important and provide NHTSA with immediate information about crashes that occur with vehicles that have various levels of automated systems deployed at least 30 seconds before the crash occurred.

“The data released today are part of our commitment to transparency, accountability and public safety,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Administrator. “New vehicle technologies have the potential to help prevent crashes, reduce crash severity and save lives, and the Department is interested in fostering technologies that are proven to do so; collecting this data is an important step in that effort. As we gather more data, NHTSA will be able to better identify any emerging risks or trends and learn more about how these technologies are performing in the real world.”

Publication Date: 15 June 2022

Publication Site: NHTSA

Recent Trends in Heat-Related Mortality in the United States: An Update through 2018

Link: https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/wcas/13/1/wcas-d-20-0083.1.xml

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-20-0083.1

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Much research has shown a general decrease in the negative health response to extreme heat events in recent decades. With a society that is growing older, and a climate that is warming, whether this trend can continue is an open question. Using eight additional years of mortality data, we extend our previous research to explore trends in heat-related mortality across the United States. For the period 1975–2018, we examined the mortality associated with extreme-heat-event days across the 107 largest metropolitan areas. Mortality response was assessed over a cumulative 10-day lag period following events that were defined using thresholds of the excess heat factor, using a distributed-lag nonlinear model. We analyzed total mortality and subsets of age and sex. Our results show that in the past decade there is heterogeneity in the trends of heat-related human mortality. The decrease in heat vulnerability continues among those 65 and older across most of the country, which may be associated with improved messaging and increased awareness. These decreases are offset in many locations by an increase in mortality among men 45–64 (+1.3 deaths per year), particularly across parts of the southern and southwestern United States. As heat-warning messaging broadly identifies the elderly as the most vulnerable group, the results here suggest that differences in risk perception may play a role. Further, an increase in the number of heat events over the past decade across the United States may have contributed to the end of a decades-long downward trend in the estimated number of heat-related fatalities.

Author(s): Scott C. Sheridan1, P. Grady Dixon2, Adam J. Kalkstein3, and Michael J. Allen4

Publication Date: Published-online: 14 Dec 2020

Print Publication: 01 Jan 2021

Publication Site: Weather, Climate, and Society

Murder-Suicides By Pilots Are Vexing Airlines As Deaths Mount

Link: https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/murder-suicides-by-pilots-are-vexing-airlines-as-deaths-mount-3074762

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For decades, commercial airline travel has gotten progressively safer. But one cause of deaths has stubbornly persisted: pilots who intentionally crash in murder-suicides.


Preliminary evidence suggests the crash of a China Eastern Airlines Corp. jet in March may be the latest such tragedy, a person familiar with the investigation said. If confirmed, that would make it the fourth since 2013, bringing deaths in those crashes to 554.

So as aircraft become more reliable and pilots grow less susceptible to errors, fatalities caused by murder-suicides are becoming an increasingly large share of the total. While intentional acts traditionally aren’t included in air-crash statistics, they would be the second-largest category of deaths worldwide if they were, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. By comparison, 1,745 people died as a result of pilot error, mechanical failures or other causes on Western-built jets from 2012 through 2021.

Author(s): Alan Levin, Bloomberg

Publication Date: 17 June 2022

Publication Site: NDTV

A Resilient Future

Link: https://theactuarymagazine.org/a-resilient-future/

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If we consider how risk events unfold in reality, they usually occur through a sequence of interacting factors (see Figure 1). For example: A control does not quite work as intended because the usual supervisor is not available, and coincidentally a staff member has unintended access to a system from which they are able to extract personal information. On any other day, those conditions might have been different and resulted in another outcome. The reality, therefore, is that risks emerge as a result of a complex series of interactions among a large number of factors, and small changes in conditions can lead to significantly different risk outcomes.

Risk events also often involve active participants who learn and adapt their behaviors accordingly. Cyber is a good example—the attacker generally is trying to outthink their adversary and stay one step ahead. All of this means that past performance is not necessarily a reliable predictor of the future. There are too many things that can be subtly different, leading to hugely different outcomes.

Author(s): Neil Cantle

Publication Date: May 2022

Publication Site: SOA

Biological and Psychobehavioral Correlates of Credit Scores and Automobile Insurance Losses: Toward an Explication of Why Credit Scoring Works

Link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4138424

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The most important new development in the past two decades in the personal lines of insurance may well be the use of an individual’s credit history as a classification and rating variable to predict losses. However, in spite of its obvious success as an underwriting tool, and the clear actuarial substantiation of a strong association between credit score and insured losses over multiple methods and multiple studies, the use of credit scoring is under attack because there is not an understanding of why there is an association. Through a detailed literature review concerning the biological, psychological, and behavioral attributes of risky automobile drivers and insured losses, and a similar review of the biological, psychological, and behavioral attributes of financial risk takers, we delineate that basic chemical and psychobehavioral characteristics (e.g., a sensation-seeking personality type) are common to individuals exhibiting both higher insured automobile loss costs and poorer credit scores, and thus provide a connection which can be used to understand why credit scoring works. Credit scoring can give information distinct from standard actuarial variables concerning an individual’s biopsychological makeup, which then yields useful underwriting information about how they will react in creating risk of insured automobile losses.

Author(s): Patrick L. Brockett and Linda L. Golden

Publication Date: originally 2007

Publication Site: jstor, The Journal of Risk and Insurance

Cite: Brockett, Patrick L., and Linda L. Golden. “Biological and Psychobehavioral Correlates of Credit Scores and Automobile Insurance Losses: Toward an Explication of Why Credit Scoring Works.” The Journal of Risk and Insurance, vol. 74, no. 1, 2007, pp. 23–63. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4138424. Accessed 22 May 2022.

Are Seat Belts Making You Less Safe?

Link: https://fee.org/articles/are-seat-belts-making-you-less-safe/

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In the 1960s, the federal government—in its infinite wisdom—thought that cars were too unsafe for the general public. In response, it passed automobile safety legislation, requiring that seat belts, padded dashboards, and other safety measures be put in every automobile.

Although well-intended, auto accidents actually increased after the legislation was passed and enforced. Why? As Lansburg explains, “the threat of being killed in an accident is a powerful incentive to drive carefully.”

In other words, the high price (certain death from an accident) of an activity (reckless driving) reduced the likelihood of that activity. The safety features reduced the price of reckless driving by making cars safer. For example, seatbelts reduced the likelihood of a driver being hurt if he drove recklessly and got into an accident. Because of this, drivers were more likely to drive recklessly.

The benefit of the policy was that it reduced the number of deaths per accident. The cost of the policy was that it increased the number of accidents, thus canceling the benefit. Or at least, that is the conclusion of University of Chicago’s Sam Peltzman, who found the two effects canceled each other.

His work has led to a theory called “The Peltzman Effect,” also known as risk compensation. Risk compensation says that safety requirements incentivize people to increase risky behavior in response to the lower price of that behavior.

Author(s): Joshua Anumolu

Publication Date: 13 July 2017

Publication Site: FEE

Seat Belt Usage and Risk Taking in Driving Behavior

Link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44633774

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This study tested the hypothesis that seat belt usage is related to driver risk taking in car-following behavior. Individual vehicles on a Detroit area freeway were monitored to identify seat belt users and nonusers. Headways between successive vehicles in the traffic stream were also measured to provide a behavioral indicator of driver risk taking. Results showed that nonusers of seat belts tended to follow other vehicles closer than did users. Users were also less likely than nonusers to follow other vehicles at very short headways (one second or less). The implications of these findings for occupant safety in rear end collisions are discussed.

Author(s): Buseck, Calvin R. von, Leonard Evans, Donald E. Schmidt, and Paul Wasielewski

Publication Date: 1980

Publication Site: jstor, originally published in SAE Transactions, vol 89

Cite:

von Buseck, Calvin R., et al. “Seat Belt Usage and Risk Taking in Driving Behavior.” SAE Transactions, vol. 89, 1980, pp. 1529–33. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44633774. Accessed 21 May 2022.

Why driving needs to feel less safe

Link: https://ctmirror.org/2022/04/18/why-driving-needs-to-feel-less-safe/

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Motor vehicle fatalities in Connecticut have risen dramatically since the pandemic, echoing a trend that we’ve seen across the country. About 300 people are killed annually on Connecticut’s streets by motor vehicles, and about 100 times as many people (roughly 30,000) suffer injuries severe ePnough to warrant hospital admission.

Nationally, these figures are roughly 40,000 deaths and 3.4 million injuries per year. The U.S. is an outlier among developed countries in the number  of deaths that we tolerate on our roads, with a death rate 2 to 3 times that of similarly wealthy countries. The human cost of this carnage leaves no one untouched: almost everyone knows at least one person killed by a vehicle, not to mention millions of others who suffer from life-altering consequences like paralysis and traumatic brain injuries.

If we truly care about saving lives and preventing injuries, we need to change the mindset by which we view the act of driving.

Author(s): Dice Oh

Publication Date: 18 April 2022

Publication Site: CT Mirror

Looking Beyond Sex

Link: https://theactuarymagazine.org/looking-beyond-sex/

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With nonbinary genders recognized on legal documents, customers are beginning to ask for forms and applications to include nonbinary options as well—so they’re not forced into a false selection. Even so, a person still could make an inaccurate selection. A customer falsely selecting a nonbinary gender is slightly less risky for the insurance company than selecting a false binary gender, as nonbinary rates are likely to fall somewhere between male and female to ensure they’re not discriminatory.

In the end, providing false information on an insurance application is fraudulent activity regardless of the question. Many of the states that include nonbinary gender markers on birth certificates and/or driver’s licenses already require the individual to sign an affidavit stating that they are not changing their gender marker for a fraudulent purpose. The benefits of including options for nonbinary customers and the potential for more accurate risk evaluations hopefully will outweigh a possible increase in fraudulent activity.

Author(s): Erin Sheriff

Publication Date: July 2020

Publication Site: The Actuary, SOA

Risk-Based Rating in Personal Lines Insurance

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPYSSZkP-Oo&ab_channel=RStreetInstitute

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The insurance industry is unique in that the cost of its products—insurance policies—is unknown at the time of sale. Insurers calculate the price of their policies with “risk-based rating,” wherein risk factors known to be correlated with the probability of future loss are incorporated into premium calculations. One of these risk factors employed in the rating process for personal automobile and homeowner’s insurance is a credit-based insurance score.

Credit-based insurance scores draw on some elements of the insurance buyer’s credit history. Actuaries have found this score to be strongly correlated with the potential for an insurance claim. The use of credit-based insurance scores by insurers has generated controversy, as some consumer organizations claim incorporating such scores into rating models is inherently discriminatory. R Street’s webinar explores the facts and the history of this issue with two of the most knowledgeable experts on the topic.

Featuring:

[Moderator] Jerry Theodorou, Director, Finance, Insurance & Trade Program, R Street Institute
Roosevelt Mosley, Principal and Consulting Actuary, Pinnacle Actuarial Services
Mory Katz, Legacy Practice Leader, BMS Group

R Street Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government.

We believe free markets work better than the alternatives. We also recognize that the legislative process calls for practical responses to current problems. To that end, our motto is “Free markets. Real solutions.”

We offer research and analysis that advance the goals of a more market-oriented society and an effective, efficient government, with the full realization that progress on the ground tends to be made one inch at a time. In other words, we look for free-market victories on the margin.

Learn more at https://www.rstreet.org/
Follow us on Twitter at @RSI

Author(s): Jerry Theodorou, Roosevelt Mosley, Mory Katz

Publication Date: 4 April 2022

Publication Site: R Street at YouTube