More than a third (34%) of companies reported increases in account takeover attempts in 2021 as compared to the previous year, according to LIMRA. Account takeovers occur when someone takes ownership of an online account without the owner’s knowledge, often with stolen credentials. In addition to account takeovers attempts, 34% of companies saw increases in company impersonation and 31% had increases in claims fraud.
A LIMRA report showed that fraud incidents increased in 2021 in all but two categories of fraud. (Please note that fraud “incidents” shown in the chart below are attempts and do not indicate that the account takeover attempts were successful.)
Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who founded and helms trading powerhouse Citadel, has sued the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department for alleged negligence in maintaining safeguards for confidential tax returns after a bombshell report last year cited a trove of IRS data in a series of articles detailing the incomes and taxes paid by some of the world’s richest people.
In a federal suit filed with the Southern District of Florida, Griffin alleged the IRS has “willfully and intentionally” failed to establish adequate safeguards to protect confidential tax return information after nonprofit news outlet ProPublica published an article citing the data in June 2021 and then followed up with several pieces, including some targeting Griffin’s political lobbying.
The suit, first reported by Wall Street Journal, claims the disclosure of Griffin’s tax return information to ProPublica was not “requested by the taxpayer,” and as a result entitles the billionaire to punitive damages totaling at least $1,000 per unlawful disclosure and attorneys’ fees, according to a section of the tax code.
It is a felony for a federal employee to leak a tax return or information about a tax return, but the source of the data remains unknown despite some lawmakers claiming there “is little doubt” the confidential information “came from inside the IRS;” the IRS and Justice Department have stated they are investigating the leak, but no formal charges have been filed.
The use of electronic health records in insurance underwriting has long held terrific potential to boost the industry. Progress has been slow to date, but that is about to change.
By late-2022, EHR will be standard at 50% of the top 20 carriers, said Nicholas Irwin, director of life underwriting at Verisk.
“I think once we get to that 50% hit rate threshold and same-day turnaround time, I’d be very surprised it didn’t become a standard at that point,” Irwin said Tuesday during the Society of Insurance Research annual conference.
The acquisition of a medical record, a crucial part of life underwriting risk-assessment, largely remains largely an inefficient paper process. The availability of healthcare information as a data stream is a critical advantage for insurers using rules-based decision engines for accelerated underwriting.
However, Modern Portfolio Theory may have a problem going forward. Don’t worry, we are not going to hack on bonds based on a fear that yields may rise in the future, creating a portfolio drag. There are already enough bond haters out there. The issue we are seeing goes beyond just the bond argument – correlations have been rising just about everywhere. In today’s world, correlations have been changing, with more and more asset classes becoming increasingly correlated. The problem: when the correlations between investments are higher, it becomes harder to diversify risk in a portfolio.
Let’s start with the big one, global bonds and global equities. Combining equities and bonds has benefitted from a generally negative correlation for much of the past few decades. However, this correlation has turned positive of late (chart 1), implying reduced diversification benefits when combining bonds and equities. This isn’t too much of a concern, given that the long-term average is slightly positive.
But don’t throw out your bonds just yet. This correlation tends to return to be strongly negative during risk-off periods in the equity markets. This reflex action during corrections helps maintain bonds in portfolios, even if they experience periods of low or even negative performance.
For a relatively small number of decedents, this plan could run headlong into Biden’s promise to not raise taxes on those with incomes below $400,000. Of course, the vast majority of decedents will have unrealized gains of far less than $1 million. Indeed, most will leave entire estates far below that threshold. Among people over 70, about 83 percent live in a household with total net worth of less than $1 million.
But some people with large unrealized gains will have been living on relatively low incomes. Imagine someone who is retired and living on Social Security, a modest pension, and some savings. But they still are holding that Microsoft stock they bought in 1987.