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FROM THE EDITOR
Compiled by staff from news and wire services.
In property/casualty insurance,
we find much to praise in analytics,
sharp underwriting and skill in
presenting the nuances of a risk to
underwriters. But there is another
piece of the work that perhaps gets
That piece is emotional
intelligence, the set of soft skills,
if you will, that an insurance
professional brings to the equation.
As we judged this year’s
installment of Power Broker®, the
13th in the history of the magazine,
we came across phrases that indicated
that the relationship between the
broker and the risk manager or the
insured in several cases went way
beyond handshakes over contracts.
Some of our sources went so far
as to say that outside of members of
their immediate family, the person
they trusted most in this world was
their insurance broker! For the
record, we found some cases where a
previous broker had been jettisoned
for betraying that trust.
Let’s stop and consider for a
second the implications of that sort
of statement of fealty. I’ll take the
optimistic view, as I usually do, and
say that’s just how complete and
valuable the level of customer service
is that many of these Power Brokers
It’s an advertising executive’s Holy
Grail, is it not? Client testimonials
that reveal a depth of feeling and
trust that is genuine, comes from the
heart … unforced.
As the world at large continues to
wrestle with misconceptions about
the financial services industry —
that it is predatory, misleading and
biased — I still hope for a day when
these accounts of great customer
service are illuminated in a much
larger venue than the pages of this
insurance trade publication.
Some day, eh?
Congratulations to our 2018
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES RACK UP
With nearly 9,000 wildfires and 1.2
million acres affected, California saw
a historic wildfire season in 2017. Fires
destroyed more than 10,800 structures
and killed dozens of residents.
The early wildfires, mainly in the
north and central regions of California,
produced estimated losses of $9.4
billion. Affected businesses included
prominent wine operations in Napa
and Sonoma counties.
Weather played a significant role
in the fires’ growth. From a hot, dry
summer to a windy fall, it was the
perfect mix to spread flames fast and
wide, prolonging the typical wildfire
season into the winter months.
Experts say it’s still too early to
tell what the later fires in Southern
California might cost insurers.
Estimates are high due to the
destruction of homes in the Bel Air
region, where some properties are
worth tens of millions of dollars. The
mudslide in Montecito adds another
layer of loss to the mix.
RIMS NAMES 2018 PRESIDENT
Robert Cartwright Jr. is the new
president of The Risk Management
Society (RIMS) for the 2018 term.
A member of RIMS for more than
25 years, Cartwright is the division
manager of environmental, health,
safety and sustainability for Bridgestone
Retail Operations in the Northeast
region. He served on the RIMS Board
of Directors for 10 years prior to his
role as president, and he received the
2009 RIMS Richard W. Bland Award
for exceptional contributions to the
society’s legislative initiatives.
The 2017 wildfire season left costly
destruction in its wake.
Cartwright aims to increase
organizational awareness of risk
management’s diversity and value in
the coming months.
Joining him on the Board are vice
president Steve Pottle, director of risk
management services, York University;
treasurer Gloria Brosius, corporate
risk manager, Pinnacle Agriculture
Holdings; and secretary Robert Zhang,
China risk and compliance manager,
IKEA (China) Investment Co., Ltd.
TWO BUGS BEHIND CYBER
Researchers from Google and cyber
security firms discovered two flaws
that could make nearly every device
vulnerable to a breach. Developers
identified the flaws, or bugs, as
“Meltdown” and “Spectre.”
Experts are looking at the impact
the bugs might have on an individual’s
data security. Intel chips manufactured
over the past decade are considered
susceptible to the bugs, and damage
to the chips could affect all major
operating systems, like Microsoft,
Apple and Linux.
Intel stated these bugs are not a
flaw in design and users are required
to download a patch and update their
operating systems. These patches and
updates should be sufficient to keep the
bugs at bay.
CHIP RENEWED AMIDST
After federal funding for the children’s
health insurance program (CHIP)
expired in September 2017, the
program quickly became a bargaining
tool for the short-lived three-day
government shutdown in mid-January.
The House passed a bill to extend
CHIP funding in December, but until
the shutdown, the Senate had yet to
States were not required to
maintain separate CHIP coverage, and
some were even required by law to
shut down the program or discontinue
coverage if federal funds decreased.
Luckily, the budget for CHIP was
extended for six more years when the
CHIP offers health insurance to
nearly 8. 9 million children. These
children come from working families
who earn too much to qualify for
Medicaid but cannot afford or do not
have access to private coverage.
AI TO IMPROVE INSURANCE
CLARA Analytics, an artificial
intelligence and data science company,
announced an $11.5 million funding
round led by Oak HC/FT, a venture
The funding will go toward
improving AI in the insurance industry,
particularly in claims operations
for property/casualty and disability
insurances. CLARA aims to improve
financial performance by decreasing
the billions of dollars in claims leakage
that occur annually.
With the utilization of AI
technology, CLARA will focus on
workers’ comp claims. The company is
working to develop AI that will detect
potential claims that could lead to
litigation and optimize representation
in court, connect claims to the right
providers and reduce indemnity costs,
ensure optimal treatment protocol
and reduce medical costs for injured
workers, among other things.