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December 2, 2022

The State of the Wholesale Market

The wholesale property-casualty insurance market is neither a business entity nor an organization. The term "wholesale market" refers to how some types of insurance, especially those with higher risks, are sold, managed, and marketed. General Agents (MGAs), E&S brokers, and program administrators serve similar roles in providing insurance coverage to lines of business that traditional carriers avoid. Typically, the risks are specialized and have higher potential losses. The Growth of the Excess and Surplus Lines (E&S) Market The excess and surplus lines (E&S) market is one of those fast-growing insurance markets. The E&S market value in 2020 was $74 billion; projections are for $179 billion by 2030, and the estimates are due to a projected average rate of 9% per annum over the next five years. Total U.S. surplus lines and direct premiums rose to $82.65 billion in 2021. This increase was the largest since 2003. Best's data also showed surplus lines premiums growing to their current level. Businesses moving from the admitted (or insured) market to the E&S market because of the challenging market conditions of the last two to three years is one of the most important reasons for the growth. The reasons for change include high-interest rates, rising costs, regulatory uncertainty, and a lack of transparency. In addition, there is a shift away from traditional property coverages toward more complex risks such as cyber, data breach, fraud, and general liability. Because of these evolving circumstances, insurance companies are trying to come up with new products and services to meet the needs of consumers and businesses. This development has led to several trends in the E&S market. First, due to the rise of technology, more insurance companies are using digital platforms to help them manage risk and give better customer service. For example, online portals allow customers to compare quotes and purchase policies without speaking to a human being. In the same way, mobile apps let policyholders check their coverage levels, pay their premiums, and get information about claims at any time, day or night. Second, insurance companies now offer "green" policies to protect against climate change and natural disasters because people are becoming more interested in sustainability. They also attract younger clients because of their perceived appeal to environmentally conscious individuals. Third, the number of regulations, rules, and guidelines impacting the insurance industry means many insurers need help to keep pace. Some insurance companies are making custom software apps that automate processes and make compliance easier. Others are working with third parties to provide solutions across multiple business lines. Fourth, the rise of innovative technology enables insurers to make smarter decisions about how they price and sell policies. For example, AI algorithms can predict potential losses and adjust the pricing accordingly. Machine learning also lets insurers build predictive models based on past data to determine how likely certain events will happen again. A Conning study found that premiums collected by banks, a key distribution channel for U.S. property and casualty insurers, went up significantly in 2021. The growth rate was faster than the P&C market. Conning thinks that direct premiums written by MGAs in 2021 will be more than $70 billion. This statistic includes business written for Lloyd's syndicates and non-U.S. insurance companies. Growth drivers included a strong rebound in the U.S. economy after lockdowns caused by pandemics and a continued rise in premium rates across the board. Rate increases were robust for some of the more difficult lines of business, like cyber, which the excess and surplus lines (E&S) market generally covers, which means MGAs are very active in it. How MGAs Benefit Fronting insurers have assumed a more prominent role in helping MGAs get money from the global reinsurance markets. William Pitt, a director of insurance research at Conning, said, "Fronting companies play a key role in securing capacity for MGAs today, and we expect this to continue to grow." Many fronting companies retain some risks to align interests with their reinsurers. Some larger MGAs have also become risk-bearing entities by creating reinsurance captives. Since the beginning, the Lloyd's market has been the most significant source of capacity for MGAs in the U.S., which was still true in 2021. In its most recent study, Conning measures for the first time how strong Lloyd's syndicates are to the market. Lauryn Kothavale, an Assistant Vice President in Insurance Research at Conning, said, "The economic rebound that followed the Covid-19 pandemic helped MGAs and program administrators, especially those that had been hit the hardest by the pandemic." In the past, insurance companies looked to MGAs to get more premiums in slow markets. But their ability to price risks has grown, and in today's demanding market, it is just as crucial for them to find attractive niche businesses for insurers. Wholesale commercial insurance markets are seeing increased business as policyholders, brokers, and prospective buyers seek alternatives to continuing firm primary market rate conditions and capacity constraints. Cyber attacks, the weather, pandemics, and even inflation are unpredictable factors that make people feel more at risk. These concerns increase the demand for more specialized coverage, which is good news for the overall managing general agent (MGA) segment. AM Best found that the total premium written in the United States through the MGA market reached $60 billion in 2021, up from $51 billion in 2020. This situation happened after the economy grew in 2021 when lockdowns were lifted and monetary policies were relaxed, which led to a 5.7% growth in the gross domestic product. As soon as businesses reopened, business got back to normal, and the insurance industry saw a 9.5% rise in premiums due to a hardening of market conditions and pricing. Reactions and Shifts In conclusion, the current environment is an opportunity for investors and companies. The wholesale and energy markets are two of the fastest-growing parts of the insurance business. Both have grown by more than 10% in the last five years. The reasons for this growth include the following: 1) A shift from traditional to alternative risk transfer vehicles (e.g., reinsurance). 2) Increased demand for higher margin products such as catastrophe bonds and other forms The wholesale insurance and E&S markets are growing because more customers, competition, and new technologies make business easier. But the industry is also changing because insurance companies are trying to cut costs and become more efficient. These changes have created opportunities for brokers and agents who can provide innovative solutions that help their clients succeed.    
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December 2, 2022

Swiss Re: Disasters Caused a Total of $122B in Insured Losses in 2022

According to Swiss Re, Hurricane Ian and other natural disasters have caused an estimated $115 billion in insured losses so far this year, far exceeding the 10-year average of $81 billion. Natural and man-made disasters caused $268 billion in economic damage, of which $122 billion was covered by insurance, making 2022 one of the most expensive years in the sector's history, according to the report. Ian, a category-4 hurricane that hit Florida in September, was the year's single largest loss-causing event, with an estimated insured loss of $50-65 billion. That would place it only second to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. According to Swiss Re, 2022 will be the second consecutive year in which estimated insured losses exceed $100 billion, following a 5-7% average annual increase over the previous decade. Secondary perils such as floods and hailstorms resulted in more than $50 billion in insured losses, according to the report. Flooding in Australia caused by torrential rains in February and March caused an estimated $4 billion in damage, making it the country's most expensive natural disaster. France experienced the most severe hailstorms ever recorded, with insured losses estimated at 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion). Swiss Re estimates that over 11,000 people have died in natural and man-made disasters this year, excluding the death toll from Europe's severe heat waves. In January, Munich Re will publish its annual catastrophe report.
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December 2, 2022

U.S. to Investigate Cyberattacks Linked to Lapsus$

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would investigate recent hacks linked to Lapsus$, an extortion-focused hacking collective that has victimized some of the world's largest technology companies and broken into critical infrastructure systems over the last year. The U.S. Cyber Safety Review Board, a panel of experts from various government agencies and the private sector, will investigate the group's recent high-profile hacks, which researchers say have included extortion demands at times but also appear to be motivated by a desire for notoriety at other times. According to the companies, high-profile victims include Uber Technologies Inc., chip maker Nvidia Corp., Microsoft Corp., online access-management vendor Okta Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., and others. "Lapus$ has targeted some of the world's most sophisticated companies," said Robert Silvers, chair of the board and undersecretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the board's activities. "We will advise on how to repel and respond to these types of cyber-enabled extortion attacks as a collaborative effort between government and industry." Lapsus$ is an amorphous team that hides behind anonymous online aliases, but members of the group have left enough digital breadcrumbs for law enforcement and private researchers to identify some of them. According to security researchers and law enforcement officials, the group likely includes members from Brazil and the United Kingdom, with several of them being teenagers. Although some members have been apprehended, security experts believe the group continues to pose a threat. Lapsus$ has developed a set of techniques that, while not technically sophisticated, have proven to be devastatingly effective at breaking into the networks of global tech firms that spend millions on cybersecurity each year. To breach a variety of networks, the group has frequently relied on circumventing widely used security tools used across industries, exposing major, overlooked security gaps in interwoven software ecosystems. Some of its high-profile hacks have proven to be more of a nuisance than a crippling breach. In the case of Uber, the company stated that Lapsus$ gained access to its internal systems and sent messages to employees, including a graphic image. However, the intrusions have been disturbing at times. According to statements released in March by Samsung, Nvidia, and Microsoft, the group stole source code or proprietary information from them. The board, which has no regulatory authority and no authority to levy fines, was established earlier this year by the Biden administration to review significant national cybersecurity events affecting government, business, and critical infrastructure. The cyber board, which is loosely modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates plane crashes and train derailments, publishes reports on its findings and makes security recommendations. It issued its first report on the Log4J bug in July, concluding that a major flaw in the widely used logging software was a "endemic vulnerability" that could persist as an avenue for hackers to infiltrate computer networks for more than a decade. Mr. Silvers stated in a media briefing that the board wanted to complete its review of the Lapsus$ criminal group as soon as possible, but he did not provide a timetable for when the report would be completed. "Lapsus$ actors have targeted multiple critical infrastructure sectors, including healthcare, government facilities, and critical manufacturing," said Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. "Because of the variety of victims and tactics used, we need to understand how Lapsus$ actors carried out their malicious cyber activities so that we can mitigate risk to potential future victims."
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December 2, 2022

NASA Predicts Rising Sea Levels Could Swamp the U.S. Coastline by 2050

According to a NASA study, sea levels are likely rising faster than previously thought, which means that low-lying coastal cities in the United States may flood far more frequently in the coming decades. The study, which analyzed three decades of satellite data, shows that sea levels along the contiguous United States' coastlines could rise as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) above current waterlines by 2050, the research team said in a statement (opens in new tab). According to the study, published Oct. 6 in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, the Gulf Coast and Southeast are expected to be the most severely impacted, with increased storm and tidal flooding in the near future (opens in new tab). The findings back up the "higher-range" scenarios outlined in the multi-agency Sea Level Rise Technical Report released in February (opens in new tab). According to the report, "significant sea level rise" is expected to hit US coasts within the next 30 years, with 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 cm) of rise on average for the East Coast, 14 to 18 inches (35 to 45 cm) for the Gulf Coast, and 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) for the West Coast." The NASA study expanded on methods used in the previous multi-agency report, and was led by a team of researchers and scientists based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which is dedicated to both exploring the deepest recesses of space and using satellites to "advance understanding" of Earth. NASA's study used satellite altimeter measurements of sea surface height and correlated them with tide gauge records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) dating back over 100 years. As a result, NASA can confidently state that its satellite readings are not anomalous and are fully supported by ground-based findings. While the findings of the new study are undoubtedly concerning, Jonathan Overpeck, an interdisciplinary climate scientist at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the research, suggested that the projections did not come out of nowhere. "NASA's findings appear solid and unsurprising." "We know that sea level rise is accelerating, and we know why," he wrote in an email to Live Science. "More and more polar ice is melting, on top of the oceans warming and expanding." Clearly, sea level rise will worsen as long as we ignore climate change." David Holland, a physical climate scientist and professor of mathematics at New York University who was not involved in the study, agrees. "The quality of the satellite data is excellent, so the findings are reliable," Holland wrote in an email to Live Science. "The study demonstrates that the global ocean is rising, and that the rise is accelerating." The projected rise for the Gulf coast of about 1 foot by 2050 is enormous, and it has the potential to make hurricane-related storm surges even worse than they are now." Other factors may also play a role in rising sea levels along the United States' coastline. According to the study, by the mid-2030s, the issues associated with rising sea levels could be "amplified by natural variations on Earth," such as the effects of El Nio and La Nia, with every U.S. coast set to experience "more intense high-tide floods due to a wobble in the moon's orbit that occurs every 18.6 years." El Nio — a warming of surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near South America that can lead to increased rainfall — and La Nia — a cooling of surface ocean waters in the Pacific — can make accurately forecasting sea level rise difficult, and can potentially skew readings. Ben Hamlington, the NASA Sea Level Change Team's leader, noted that natural events and phenomena must always be taken into account, and that all forecasts will inevitably be refined as satellites collect data over time. Despite the study's bleak findings, some experts are optimistic that high-profile, impactful research like this will compel decision-makers to focus on addressing the ongoing climate crisis and encourage the public to demand effective measures be implemented. "It is impossible to dismiss. "I believe that this [increased flooding] is catalyzing action because many coastal communities are discussing these issues and how they will respond," said Robert Nicholls, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study. "We have the means to address this challenge in terms of mitigation to stabilize global temperatures and slow — but not completely stop — sea level rise, which will unfortunately continue for centuries due to the warming we have already experienced." Finally, as climate change alters our planet's oceans and seas, humanity will need to adapt. "This could involve retreat in some places, raising land in others, and defenses in others," Nicholls explained to Live Science. "There is no single solution that will work everywhere." If we continue on this path, the future will be manageable. Likewise, if governments and society ignore these issues, the future will be a complete disaster."
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December 2, 2022

Upcoming Special Session to Address Florida’s Chaotic Property Insurance Market

Property insurance for Floridians has skyrocketed, and Hurricanes Ian and Nicole have exacerbated the situation, so Florida lawmakers are planning a special session in December to hopefully provide relief for homeowners. A memorandum issued in November stated that a special session could be held the week of December 12-16. The already chaotic Florida property insurance market exploded, leaving many homeowners scrambling for protection after more than a dozen companies stopped writing new policies in the state. Hurricane Ian did not help matters. In an October interview, Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute stated, "We estimate Hurricane Ian will be the second largest US catastrophe on record." "We anticipate an insured loss in excess of $60 billion." Senator Jeff Brandes (R-FL) has previously stated that he would like to see the governor form a task force to develop concrete ideas to help stabilize the market. "The task force must be formed within the next two to three weeks," he said. "I believe they should be given a month to complete everything, and then I would expect them to call a special session and finish before January." According to Friedlander, your property insurance rates are likely to rise, despite lawmakers' plans to take action to try to stabilize the market. "We don't see anything that will stabilize Florida's insurance market in the short term," he said. "Realistically, the cycle is 12 to 18 months before we see significant market impacts." According to Friedlander, there is no quick fix. The main issues that legislators will need to address are roof claim fraud and the state's excessive litigation. "There is nothing the legislature could do right now that would be an immediate fix," he said, "but we do need to take first steps to begin the road to stability."
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December 1, 2022

AM Best: U.S. P/C Industry Recorded a $24.3B Underwriting Loss in First 9 Months

The U.S. property/casualty (P/C) industry recorded a $24.3 billion net underwriting loss in the first nine months of 2022, nearly quadrupling the loss total recorded in the same prior year period, according to a new AM Best special report. The Best’s Special Report, titled, “First Look: Nine-Month 2022 U.S. Property/Casualty Financial Results,” states that an 8.4% growth in net earned premiums and a 22.3% decline in policyholder dividends were countered by a 14.0% increase in incurred losses and loss adjustment expenses (LAE) and a 6.5% rise in other underwriting expenses. The personal lines segment, specifically the automobile lines of business, was responsible for the decline in underwriting results. Increased automobile losses and Hurricane Ian’s impact also contributed to the P/C industry’s underwriting loss. These factors drove the segment’s combined ratio to 102.8 during this period, with an estimated 7.0 points attributable to catastrophe losses. The P/C industry’s surplus declined 11.0% from the end of 2021, to $919.6 billion. The report notes that $37.9 billion of net income, contributed capital and other surplus gains were reduced by $27.7 billion of stockholder dividends and a combined $113.3 billion change in unrealized losses at National Indemnity Company, Columbia Insurance Company and State Farm Mutual. To access the full copy of this special report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=326447 .
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December 1, 2022

Hurricane Season Caps a Year of Fewer but Still-Destructive Storms

The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season ended on Wednesday, following a historically quiet period that gave way to a destructive finale featuring some of the most catastrophic storms in recent years. During the season, which lasted from June to November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 14 named storms. Forecasters say this is an average amount for a typical season. According to NOAA, there were 21 and 30 named storms during the 2021 and 2020 seasons, which were among the busiest on record. A storm is usually named when its winds exceed 39 miles per hour. According to NOAA, three hurricanes made landfall in US states or territories: Fiona in September, Ian in September and October, and Nicole in November. Ian, a Category 4 storm that made landfall in Florida, caused damage that Gov. Ron DeSantis said would take years to repair. From Cuba to Florida and the Carolinas, the storm raged. Several people were killed. Hurricanes can form in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico during the warmer months. People in the region are bracing for storms that can make landfall with little warning and cause billions of dollars in damage. Forecasters said that while this season was not as active as previous ones, there were still several damaging storms. "It was pretty bad for where the hurricanes made landfall, so it's not really a better or worse season overall," said Matthew Rosencrans of NOAA's seasonal hurricane prediction team. Mr. Rosencrans, the lead hurricane forecaster for NOAA's climate prediction center, stated that this season was expected to be more active than usual but slowed in July and August. In a typical season, the majority of storms form after August 1. He explained that the pause was caused in part by dry air over the Atlantic, which caused storms to dissipate. Storms require moisture to grow stronger. "The lack of named storms and hurricanes during the month of August was not something predicted," Mr. Rosencrans said, adding that the last quiet August had been decades. Earlier this year, Mr. Rosencrans' team predicted 14 to 21 named storms, up to 10 hurricanes, and up to six major hurricanes. This season's total number of storms fell short of NOAA's predictions. According to NOAA, eight of the 14 named storms became hurricanes, and two, Ian and Fiona, intensified to major hurricanes. A hurricane is declared when winds exceed 74 miles per hour, and a major hurricane when
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December 1, 2022

Warburg Pincus to Acquire K2 Insurance Services

K2 Insurance Services, a leading independent specialty insurance program manager, today announced that Warburg Pincus, a leading global growth investor, has agreed to acquire the company from Lee Equity Partners, LLC ,a growth oriented middle market private equity firm. The investment will support K2's continued growth strategy, including M&A and de-novo incubation, and its commitment to offering best-in-class services to clients. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. K2 has a diversified portfolio of 24 specialized programs across four key segments: Specialty Commercial, Specialty Transportation, International, and Personal Lines. K2 provides centralized services to managing general agents (MGAs), including distribution and capacity relationships, technology, actuarial, claims, and additional back-office support. K2 is led by CEO and Co-Founder Bob Kimmel, an insurance industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience. "I am incredibly proud of our achievements and growth since K2 was founded over ten years ago. Partnering with Warburg Pincus, who has a long-standing track record of cultivating world-class businesses, reflects the hard work and strong culture of our team, loyalty of our customers, and cements our position as a leading underwriting and distribution franchise in the program insurance market," said Bob Kimmel, CEO and Co-Founder, K2. "We would also like to thank Lee Equity for their tremendous partnership and support over the past three years." "K2 is truly a differentiated platform, offering a full suite of services to a diversified portfolio of programs that are supported by deep carrier relationships. K2's management team has extensive industry experience and a demonstrated track record of growing insurance businesses," said Michael Martin, Managing Director, Head of Financial Services, Warburg Pincus. "As a long-term investor in the insurance sector, we believe K2 has significant growth potential and are excited to partner with Bob and the K2 team to build upon the company's history of success and expand their offerings in this dynamic and growing market," added Jeff Stein, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus. "We are very proud of K2's tremendous growth during our partnership and would like to thank Bob and the broader management team for the opportunity to partner with them and for their tireless effort that catalyzed the company's success," said Danny Rodriquez, Partner, Head of Financial Services, Lee Equity. "Amongst the many insurance businesses that I have had the opportunity to work with, I can confidently say that the quality of K2's team and platform differentiates it amongst its peers to the benefit of its carrier partners, distributors, and broader stakeholder base. We'll continue to eagerly follow the company's success through this next stage," added Mark Gormley, Partner, Lee Equity. Warburg Pincus is an active investor in the insurance sector globally and has made investments in select companies such as Aeolus Re, Arch Capital, Cox Insurance Holdings, Fetch, Fortegra, Foundation Risk Partners, ICICI Lombard Insurance, Max Life, McGill & Partners, RenaissanceRe, SBI General Insurance, SCM Insurance, and Somers Re, amongst others. Lee Equity and its principals have a long track record of investing in the insurance sector, including investments in Captive Resources, McLarens, Simplicity Group, and Universal American, amongst others. TigerRisk Capital Markets & Advisory, J.P. Morgan and Marsh Berry & Co. acted as financial advisors, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel, Locke Lord LLP served as regulatory counsel, Ernst & Young acted as accounting advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as financing counsel to Warburg Pincus. KPMG LLP acted as accounting advisor and Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to K2 and Lee Equity. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor to K2. About K2 Insurance Services K2 Insurance Services is an insurance services holding company, which owns and controls a diverse set of specialty program administrators. Through its MGAs, K2 markets, underwrites, and services over $1 billion annually in niche commercial and personal insurance premiums. From workers' compensation for high hazard exposures such as commercial transportation to personal lines coverage for manufactured homes, K2 helps insure clients across a diverse array of risks and industries. K2 is headquartered in San Diego, California and is a privately held company. About Warburg Pincus Warburg Pincus LLC is a leading global growth investor. The firm has more than $85 billion in assets under management. The firm's active portfolio of more than 255 companies is highly diversified by stage, sector, and geography. Warburg Pincus is an experienced partner to management teams seeking to build durable companies with sustainable value. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus has raised 21 private equity and 2 real estate funds, which have invested more than $107 billion in over 1,000 companies in more than 40 countries. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in Amsterdam, Beijing, Berlin, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Mauritius, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.warburgpincus.com. Follow us on LinkedIn. About Lee Equity Partners Lee Equity Partners, LLC is a New York-based private equity firm that partners with management teams to build companies with strong growth potential. Lee Equity targets equity investments of $50 million to $150 million in middle-market control buyouts and growth capital financings in companies with enterprise values of $100 million to $500 million that are located primarily in the United States. The firm invests in a range of industries where the team has deep relationships developed over decades, including business services, financial services, and healthcare services. Additional information is available at www.leeequity.com.
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December 1, 2022

Risk Managers Want to Play More Active Role in ESG Strategies

According to WTW's 2022 ESG Global Risk Managers Survey, more than half of risk managers are actively involved in their organization's ESG efforts, but 77% believe they should play a more active role in ESG strategy and initiatives. WTW polled 312 corporate risk managers from around the world. One-third said ESG is already influencing risk management strategy, and another 9% said it will in the next two years. However, only 35% of risk managers in North America - and even fewer in other regions - expect to have documented ESG risk management targets and milestones within the next two years. Nonetheless, ESG is high on corporate agendas, with 74% of respondents saying that improving their ESG score is a top priority for their company. Regional differences are significant, with Asia Pacific companies prioritizing ESG more than North American companies, according to the survey. In total, 24% of US companies have established ESG risk management goals with specific deadlines. The majority of respondents believe that managing environmental liability risks has an impact on ESG standing, and three-quarters have taken steps to address environmental liability and climate risks (four fifths in APAC). Many, however, have done so without establishing specific goals or key performance indicators. Due diligence related to risk advisor, broker, and insurance-carrier appointments and reviews is where risk management and governance intersect the most frequently. Two-thirds of risk managers say they are heavily involved in these areas, compared to around 40% who do similar work on suppliers and investment opportunities. Data privacy and cyber risk (97%), workplace safety (88%), product liability (79%), and employment practice liability (78%), were identified as key social-risk-management priorities by risk managers. "Many organizations equate ESG risk with reputational risk," said Lisa Lipuma, Director of Enterprise Risk Consulting, North America, WTW. "However, to manage ESG effectively, it must be broken down into measured, manageable risks, and a risk management process established around them." Companies should first define ESG, then use a risk-mapping exercise to identify the specific risks they face. Finally, before incorporating each risk into the enterprise risk management framework, they should assess its impact, likelihood, and velocity. Our ESG analytical capabilities can assist our clients in understanding their ESG exposure and implementing ESG risk mitigation strategies." About WTW We offer data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk, and capital at WTW. We help organizations sharpen their strategy, improve organizational resilience, motivate their workforce, and maximize performance by leveraging the global perspective and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets.
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December 1, 2022

Students Sue Yale University Claiming Discrimination under the ADA

Yale University was sued for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by unfairly penalizing students suffering from mental illnesses. According to the suit filed Wednesday by two students and a mental-health advocacy group, Elis for Rachel Inc., Yale has "treated unequally and failed to accommodate students with mental health disabilities, including by modifying policies," in violation of federal law. They are requesting class-action status for their complaint, which was filed in New Haven, Connecticut, where Yale is located. According to the suit, Yale imposes punitive consequences for students who are forced to withdraw due to their disability, makes it nearly impossible to attend anything other than full-time, and refuses accommodations for disabilities in coursework or housing. According to the suit, such policies have a greater impact on "students of color, students from poor families or rural areas, and international students." Karen Peart, a Yale spokeswoman, said the university has taken steps in recent years to simplify and support students on medical withdrawals. "Yale's faculty, staff, and leaders genuinely care about our students," said Peart in a statement. "The university is confident that all applicable laws and regulations are met." Nonetheless, we have been working on policy changes that are sensitive to the emotional and financial well-being of students." According to the lawsuit, one plaintiff, Hannah Neves, "involuntarily withdrawn from Yale within days of seeking inpatient mental health treatment." When Neves displayed symptoms of a mental health disability, she claimed the university urged her to take "voluntary" time off rather than consider any possible accommodations that would keep her enrolled. According to the lawsuit, students are discouraged from seeking treatment because they believe it will lead to withdrawal.
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December 1, 2022

Fitch Outlook Neutral on North American Life Insurers

Fitch Ratings has a neutral sector outlook for North American life insurers for 2023, as insurers will continue to benefit from rising interest rates and balance-sheet strength, which should partially mitigate volatile macroeconomic conditions and our economists’ expectation for a mild recession that is expected to result in higher credit losses. Credit losses remain benign for the industry, though volatility is substantial and the sector has moved into material unrealized loss positions on fixed-income portfolios. However, the majority of liabilities are priced on a nominal basis, and the effect of the persistently high inflation is expected to remain within ratings expectations. Near-term funding risk for the sector remains low despite the rapid rise in interest rates and widening credit spreads. The industry continued to take advantage of historically low interest rates through early 2022 to pre-fund upcoming maturities, and near-term refinancing needs remain low. Fitch is confident that insurers will be able to pay-down or refinance upcoming maturities without breaching sensitivities. Life insurers are still able to shed legacy non-core and capital- intensive business lines through divestitures and reinsurance. Appetite for spread-based liabilities continues to be robust, boosted by private-equity backed insurers with asset origination capabilities. Alternative investment income is expected to remain measured and continue to normalize from record results in 2021. The increasing role of alternative investment managers in the life insurance industry, regulatory/accounting changes and dynamic macroeconomic conditions are driving major shifts in product strategies, changes in the competitive landscape and increased M&A activity, which may have longer-term credit implications for the industry. Ninety-two percent of North American life insurance Rating Outlooks are Stable, a six percentage-point YoY increase. This is a material improvement from 2020, when uncertainty about the implications of the coronavirus peaked, when nearly 30% of North American life insurers’ ratings had a Negative Outlook or were on Negative Watch.
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November 30, 2022

E&S Premiums Account for Larger Share of U.S. P&C Market

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, premium dollars continue to flow into the U.S. excess and surplus market, which accounted for 8.7% of the country's total property and casualty industry during the first half of 2022. Excess and surplus, or E&S, direct premium written in the United States, excluding Lloyd's of London syndicates, increased by 27.6% during the first six months of 2022 to $37.60 billion. In comparison, the total P&C market in the United States, excluding E&S premiums, grew by only 8.4% during the same time period. While year-over-year premium growth for E&S premiums was significant in 2022, it was slightly less than the 29.7% growth seen in the first six months of 2021. Surplus line carriers typically insure complex or high-risk businesses that cannot find insurance in the traditional or admitted markets. The regulatory model is less stringent than the framework for admitted carriers, giving E&S companies more leeway in setting premium rates and terms for their policies. Markel defies the trend. Markel Corp. was the only underwriter with more than $1 billion in surplus premiums through the first six months of 2022 to see its share of E&S direct premiums fall relative to total premiums during the period. The insurer's share of E&S direct premiums is declining because admitted premiums are growing faster than surplus premiums. Markel's surplus direct premiums increased by 9.8% to $1.96 billion in the first half of 2022, compared to a 15.5% increase in admitted premiums. Alleghany Corp.'s surplus units account for roughly 68% of total direct premiums written in 2022, the highest among the largest E&S writers. This analysis was completed prior to the firm's acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Alleghany's share of surplus premiums increased by 5.5 percentage points in the first half of 2022 when compared to the same period the previous year. Surplus direct premiums from the combined Berkshire and Alleghany entity should account for 12.0% of total premiums through the first six months of 2022. Commercial liability coverages are more expensive than E&S premiums. Commercial liability lines of business account for more than half of all surplus direct premiums written. For the full fiscal year 2021, E&S direct premiums totaled $63.17 billion, with $38.62 billion written in various commercial liability business lines. Individual business lines and state-level breakdowns for surplus writers are only available once a year. The reported "other liability claims-made" coverage has the highest share of direct surplus premiums in comparison to the total industry. Roughly one-third of the reported direct premiums in the business line in 2021 were recorded in surplus writers. While E&S premiums make up a small portion of the industry's total commercial auto business, they have seen the most growth in the last five years. The five-year compounded annual growth rate was 25.6% during the period. Five states have a double-digit share of the E&S market. At the end of 2021, there were five states, excluding the District of Columbia, where the share of E&S premiums was greater than 10% of total premiums. The largest is California, where the state recorded $12.09 billion in surplus premiums in 2021, which equates to roughly 12.5% of the state's total premiums. Surplus premiums in the commercial auto line of business had the highest CAGR in the Golden State, at 32.5%, followed by homeowners insurance at 30.7%. Wildfire risk and a lack of adequate rate increases have caused several insurers to withdraw from the California homeowners market, which should continue to fuel the state's homeowners surplus market's outsized growth. So far in 2022, American International Group Inc. has exited the admitted market, Chubb Ltd. has significantly scaled back its exposure, The Allstate Corp. stopped writing new business and Lemonade Inc. halted its direct business in the state.
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