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A NEW report suggests that cutting emissions
won’t be costly.
GM WILL pay compensation for 19 deaths linked
to a faulty ignition switch.
A report released by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
on Sept. 16 announced that even
“ambitious” efforts to cut emissions
would incur few extra costs. A proposed series of measures would cost
$4 trillion over the next 15 years, an
increase of roughly 5 percent over the
amount that would be spent anyway
on new power plants and other infrastructure, the report said.
The commission found that about
$90 trillion will be spent over the
next 15 years on new infrastructure
globally. It urged governments to
redirect funds toward low-emission
options and renewable energy
sources. Benefits like lower fuel
costs, fewer premature deaths from
air pollution and reduced medical
bills could actually save money and
improve economic conditions in the
PROSPECTS IN SPECIALTY
The best prospects in an improving
U.S. economy will likely be in specialty lines, particularly cyber, medical professional liability and environmental impairment, according to
an A.M. Best interview with Beazley
executive Adrian Cox.
Media coverage has boosted
awareness of cyber threats, spurring
a boost in demand for policy
protection against property damage
and business interruption stemming
from online attacks. Cox reported
that Beazley expects to write more
than $100 million in cyber liability in
the U.S. this year.
Growth in the health care industry
has bolstered medical professional
liability insurance, while an increase
in mergers and acquisitions is
driving demand for environmental
impairment liability coverage.
CYBER ATTACK ON
A late-August breach of federal ex-
change site HealthCare.gov did not
result in any stolen consumer data,
according to the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. The
breach was found on a test server
that did not house any personally
identifying information. Malware
had been uploaded to the server to
launch a “denial of service” attack
when activated, but was discovered
by a security team before that could
HHS spokesman Aaron
Albright said that once the
breach was discovered, the HHS
Office of Inspector General and
HHS leadership, including the
department’s Computer Security
Incident Response Center, were
brought in to assess the breach.
HHS does not believe the breach
will affect the upcoming open
enrollment period that begins on
EMPLOYMENT UP IN US
The U.S. insurance industry added
6,200 jobs in August, according to a
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
This followed an upward trend
the industry has seen over recent
months. The report showed that
industry employment, at roughly
2.43 million, has added 60,400 jobs
since August 2013.
Between June and July, all sectors
saw an increase in employment
except agents and brokers, which
decreased 0.09 percent, to 685,800
jobs, and third-party administration
of insurance funds, which decreased
12 percent, to 163,800 jobs.
Employment increased in life,
health, property/casualty, title
insurance and claims adjusting.
Average weekly earnings also
increased for all industry sectors
since July 2013.
Reinsurance was flat at 27,400
NEW OSHA RULE FOR
The U.S. Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) issued
a final rule requiring employers to
notify OSHA within eight hours when
an employee is killed on the job, and
within 24 hours when an employee
suffers a work-related hospitalization,
amputation or loss of an eye.
Previously, an employer only had
to report work-related fatalities and
in-patient hospitalizations of three
or more employees. Reporting single
hospitalizations, amputations or loss
of an eye was not required under the
The new rule maintains the
exemption for any employer with
10 or fewer employees, regardless of
their industry classification, from the
requirement to routinely keep records
of worker injuries and illnesses.
The rule will go into effect on Jan.
GM TO COMPENSATE 19
General Motors Co. will pay compensation for 19 deaths linked to a
faulty ignition switch installed in 2.6
million GM cars that could slip out
of the “run” position, stalling the vehicles and disabling the cars’ airbags.
Outside attorney Ken Feinberg,
who is overseeing the compensation
process, is still reviewing claims
of death and injury caused by the
faulty switch. His office has not yet
released the dollar amount it plans
to offer each eligible claim, though
they are expected to be high in order
to dissuade beneficiaries from filing
lawsuits against GM.
In total, 125 death claims and 320
injury claims have been submitted
to the fund but Feinberg’s firm has
either rejected or is still reviewing
106 and 308 claims, respectively.
HEALTH BENEFIT COSTS TO
RISE IN 2015
The cost of health benefits per employee covered through an employer-sponsored plan will rise 3. 9 percent
in 2015, according to a survey conducted by Mercer, a benefits and human resources consulting company.
The increase mostly will be due
to employers covering more people
under the Affordable Care Act, which
requires employer-sponsored health
plans to be open to workers logging
at least 30 hours a week. Preliminary
results indicate that 22 percent
of employers expect to increase
enrollment in their health plans.
The survey also found that 66
percent of 1,700 early respondents
will make changes to their health
plans next year to offset the growth
in costs. Seventy-three percent of
large employers will offer a consumer-directed health plan, which typically
comes with high deductibles, within
— Compiled by Risk & Insurance®
staff from news and wire reports
Robots Helping Humans
If you’re not faced with very hard
ethical and moral decisions — not
to mention, business decisions
— then my view is that you’re
not asking yourself the right
Take the tension between
technology, and human skill and
experience in the workplace that
animates our cover story about
robotics, written by our associate
editor Michelle Kerr.
One of the questions that is
before us is, “To what degree
is technology relieving human
pain and to what degree is it
Fitting dock workers with
robotic exoskeletons has the
potential to reduce human pain
and to create fewer workers’
But if we replace journalists
— ahem — retail clerks, and
thousands of manufacturing
workers with robots, are we
broadening the common good?
The answer, for now, is, “We
One thing is known: Change is
coming and it is coming rapidly.
Insurance underwriters will be
moving at full speed to grasp
the risks and create suitable
But as our story suggests,
determining liability in the use of
open robotics systems is going to
be a tricky task. Anyone from the
software manufacturer, the person
that owns the operating system,
or the data service provider could
be on the hook if something
goes wrong and a workplace
robot injures an employee or a
At the core of this movement
of robots into the workplace there
exists the hope that humans will
be freed from mundane tasks
that bore them and lessen their
quality of life.
For the record, we don’t
consider journalism one of those