National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day – April 30, 2020

By Kris Maccini, Director, Social Media, Insurance Information Institute

Triple-I Employees Share Pet Adoption Stories

April 30 is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day–a day created to raise awareness for the millions of animals waiting in shelters to find their forever homes.

According to the Humane Society, 6-8 million animals enter shelters in the US annually with 28 percent of dogs and 31 percent of cats completing adoptions each year.

Several employees of the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) have also chosen to adopt rather than shop. These four-legged family members are an important part of our lives, and we’d like to share their stories with you in honor of #NationalAdoptAShelterPet day.

Name: Happy  Age: 9 years old

Happy was adopted from a shelter in August 2010. He was the smallest and quietest dog of the bunch. His mom Katrina noticed his big brown eyes, big ears, and cotton bunny-like tail. It was love at first sight. Happy likes to go on walks and will take his leash to “walk himself” out the door. He’s very particular about his squeaky toys and filter water and will insert himself into conversations by “politely” barking.

Name: Mellie  Age: 2 years old

Mellie was a rescue from a puppy mill and was unnamed when adopted by her family. Her dad Scott named her after his paternal grandmother. Mellie is a very curious dog who has a fascination with TV remotes–10 replaced and counting! She loves being around people and shares her home with her older fur brother Maxwell.

Name: Maxwell Age: 4 years

Maxwell was adopted at 10 weeks from a litter of 10 puppies. His dad adopted him from a rescue organization.
Maxwell loves swimming, walking, running, visiting the dog park, and eating treats. He knows exactly where the biscuits are and how to train humans to get what he wants.

Name: Snickers Age: Almost 6 years old

Snickers was adopted by her family around 3 months. She officially turns 6 in June 2020. Snickers appears to be head of household keeping her human family and dog brother in line. No beasts are victorious under her neighborhood watch including birds, hornets, and wasps.

Name: Bauer Age: 8 years old

Bauer was a rescue from Nairobi, Kenya and moved to the US with his dad a year after his adoption in 2014. Bauer has a playful personality. He loves lining up his toys and stockpile of biscuits every night before he goes to bed. Bauer is big in size with an even bigger heart.

Name: Bandit Age: Almost 2 years

Bandit was adopted from a shelter at six months old. He was rescued from a private home in 2018 along with 100 other dogs. After nearly two years with his family, Bandit has settled into a routine – greeting his mom Rita when she comes homes from work and cuddling with his human brother before bed. His mom says that, although he was shy at first, Bandit’s found a respected place in his family and is affectionately referred to as the “King of the Castle.”

These are some of the stories of animals who have joined the Triple-I family. We hope these brought joy during these uncertain times. If you have recently adopted a pet, we have some resources available to answer questions on insurance, sheltering in place with your pet, dog bite prevention, and pet care.

Pet Insurance

Liability and Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Webinar – Dog Bite Prevention Week: Sheltering in Place with Your Pets

Navigating COVID-19 And Its Aftermath

As the federal and state governments discuss plans for “reopening the economy,” it’s important to recognize and plan for the fact that the impacts of the virus and our responses to it will be playing out for some time to come.

Were auto insurers too quick to give back?

Despite record-low vehicle miles traveled, Digital Insurance reports, severe and fatal crashes in U.S. cities have increased since COVID-19. There have been more speeding and more severe and deadly crashes than before the business shutdowns and sheltering in place instituted in response to the pandemic.

In New York City, traffic volume decreased between 78% and 92% compared to January, but there was a 57% increase in speeding violations in the 10 days following the governor’s stay at home orders. And there were six deadly crashes from March 2 to April 8, which is more deadly crashes than the same time period in any of the previous five years.

Numbers like these suggest the auto insurers that have returned more than $10 billion to policyholders through premium relief – on the premise that fewer cars on the road would mean fewer crashes and claims – might have acted prematurely.

A.I. to enforce social distance, limit liability

Reuters reports that stores and other workplaces eager to avoid spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 are equipping existing security cameras with artificial intelligence software that can track compliance with health guidelines including social distancingA. and mask-wearing.

The software will allow them to show not only workers and customers, but also insurers and regulators, that they are monitoring and enforcing safe practices.

“The last thing we want is for the governor to shut all our projects down because no one is behaving,” said Jen Suerth, vice president at Chicago-based Pepper Construction, which introduced software this month to detect workers grouping at a project in Illinois.

In other COVID-19 reporting:

Automobile Insurance

Detroit Car Makers Target May 18 U.S. Restart Date (The Wall Street Journal, 4/27/20)

Expect an Increase in Auto Insurance Adaptations (Property/Casualty 360, 4/27/20)

Liability and Litigation

The Legal Fight Between Insurers and Businesses Is Expanding (The Wall Street Journal, 4/29/20)

Fearing Raft of Lawsuits, Businesses Seek Shield From Pandemic Liability (The New York Times, 4/29/20)

Most Firms Neglected Pandemics in Annual Risk Assessments: Study (Insurance Journal, 4/28/20)

Marine Insurance

Insurance Considerations for Cargo Owners During COVID-19 (Property/Casualty 360, 4/28/20)

Workers Compensation

Calif.: Immigrant Workers Eligible for COVID-19-Related WC Benefits (Property/Casualty 360, 4/28/20)

States Aim to Expand Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 (The Wall Street Journal, 4/27/20)

Employers plot strategies for bringing workers back onsite (Business Insurance, 4/24/2020)

From the Triple-I Blog:            




Some Ways to Think About Virus’s Long-Term Impact on Insurer Profitability

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect auto insurers in the longer term? No one knows for sure, of course, but a new McKinsey study provides a framework for considering the question.

Fewer people are driving due to business closures and work-from-home practices. This could lead to fewer accidents and claims – but evidence suggests severity of the claims generated may worsen. Speeding has increased in several states – in some cases, leading to fatal accidents.

In the longer term, McKinsey suggests, the pandemic could precipitate structural changes in the market for car insurance: “Mobility trends may pause if more people choose to own a car and drive everywhere because they think ride sharing and public transportation are too risky…. Historically low oil prices will make driving much more affordable.”

On the other hand, if car purchases decrease because of economic uncertainty and unemployment, insurance sales could decline, hurting revenues. The industry already has returned more than $10 billion to policyholders through premium relief during the crisis, which also could affect insurers’ bottom lines.

Four scenarios

The McKinsey report lays out four scenarios to help insurers think about how the economic impact may play out in the longer term.

Pause and rebound. This scenario supposes the economic slowdown will end rapidly and the rebound will occur as quickly as the contraction. Consumers’ behavioral changes are assumed to be limited. Drivers might be a bit more conservative after the shutdown, exhibiting more caution, leading to fewer accidents which would help insurer profitability.

“Pent-up demand, supply-chain innovation, and infrastructure commitments would pull the economy to near pre-COVID-19 levels within weeks,” McKinsey writes.

YOLO (You Only Live Once). This scenario is defined by a rapid economic rebound but also more aggressive driving behaviors: “Fueled by cheap gas and a disdain for shared mobility, the roads and highways would become more crowded.”

Under this scenario, McKinsey writes,  accident severity would continue to climb, putting pressure on insurers to raise rates. The sudden drop in accident frequency during the pandemic, followed by a rapid escalation, “could strain the accuracy of actuarial techniques and regulatory expectations.”

Retrenchment. Difficulty managing the virus and complications from the business shutdown lead to a lengthy economic downturn: “As in the pause and rebound scenario….new behavioral norms would result in less travel, redefine entertainment, and contribute to a more cautious outlook on life.”

Favorable trends in claims frequency would continue, and claims severity would moderate in line with the more conservative behaviors.

But, McKinsey writes, “consistent with economic conditions, a surge would occur in the nonstandard market and state risk pools. Fraud would also spike as a by-product of economic pressures.”

Insurers could face consumer and regulatory pressure to return more premiums or reduce them further and expand coverage. Profitability would suffer.

Black swan. Worst case for economic contraction and behavioral changes. New behavioral norms  generate a YOLO outlook and compromise policing capabilities. Accident frequency would rise sharply. Claims severity would continue to climb.

“In addition,” McKinsey writes, “regulatory pressure could push rates down further or force expanded coverage,” exacerbating worsening profitability.

McKinsey analyzes the potential impact on auto insurers under each of these scenarios and associates each with a projected combined ratio – the most frequently used measure of insurer profitability.


With Less Freeway Traffic Due to Coronavirus, There’s More Speeding and That Worries CHPLos Angeles Times, March 19, 2020

Statistics Show Speeding is Out of Control During Corona CrisisStreetsblog NYC, March 24, 2020

Are Life Insurers Denying Benefits for Deaths Related to COVID-19?

Social media has been abuzz with posts suggesting life insurance claims related to COVID-19 are being summarily denied. Much of the anxiety seems to stem from a news story titled: Would my life insurance policy cover COVID-19 related death?  

An anchor for the news organization that aired the piece shared it on Twitter below the tweet: 

Will your life insurance cover you if you die from #COVID19? 

Well, it depends. 

The tweet is accurate enough. As it would be if the reference to COVID-19 was deleted. Or if the tweet referred to another form of insurance. 

Claims sometimes are denied.  

According to the American Council of Life Insurers 2019  Fact Book, life insurance death benefits paid in 2018 totaled nearly $80 billion, up from $77 billion in 2017. Steadily rising annual payouts like the ones shown in the chart below don’t suggest an industry that spends a great deal of time slithering through loopholes to avoid paying legitimate claims.  

“Life insurance claims are rarely denied,” says Triple-I chief economist Dr. Steven Weisbart. “When they are, it’s typically because the policies had lapsed due to non-payment of premium or the policyholders had provided inaccurate or misleading information at the time of application or renewal.” 

Even in the event of a material misstatement on a life insurance application – say, the applicant lied about a significant health issue – the insurer has to discover the misrepresentation within a defined “contestability period.”  

If the policyholder dies within that period, which typically lasts two years from the date of purchase, Dr. Weisbart says, the insurer can investigate whether the information the applicant provided was accurate. If the policyholder dies after the contestability period ends, the insurer is out of luck.    

Insurers don’t make money by rejecting claims. They make money by underwriting accurately, investing wisely, and making customers happy enough to recommend them to friends and family. 

Compare the chart above, showing the billions of dollars in death benefits paid, with the chart below showing that contested claims are only a tiny fraction of those paid – and bear in mind that many, if not most, of those contested claims ultimately ended up being paid.

Regulated and closely watched 

Insurance is one of the most heavily regulated and closely scrutinized industries in the world, and claims payment is at the heart of the insurance customer experience. Insurers don’t make money by rejecting claims. They make money by underwriting accurately, investing wisely, and – as with any other business – making customers happy enough to recommend them to their friends and family. 

Unfortunately, many people – including much of the media – simply don’t understand how insurance works: how premiums are set, what types of risks are excluded (or that exclusions are even “a thing”), and how reserves and policyholder surplus work.  

This is demonstrated in some of the contentious discussions around COVID-19-related business interruption claims. In the case of business interruption, most of the denied claims have been against policies that specifically exclude losses related to infectious disease. Moves are now afoot to retroactively rewrite those contracts – to the immediate detriment of the insurance industry and longer-term danger to the people and businesses that depend on insurance – as well as anyone who ever enters into any contract ever again.  

I know of no life insurance policy that specifically excludes death from infectious disease. It’s possible some “dread disease” policies that cover specific conditions, such as cancer, might not be paid if COVID-19 – rather than the disease insured against – is deemed to be the cause of death. Or that a life claim might be denied if premium payments were missed or a policyholder smoked or engaged in some other activity associated with high coronavirus mortality that they’d denied on their application less than two years earlier.  

So, yes: Some claims may be denied. But such denials are rare and – social media agitation notwithstanding – don’t imply nefarious behavior on the part of insurers.  

Financial First Responders 

As the economic impact of the pandemic makes it difficult for consumers to keep current on their bills, states have begun to mandate that life insurers keep policies in force, even if policyholders miss payments. At the same time, insurers – facing big financial hits across the many categories of risk they cover (including recent tornadoes and the upcoming hurricane and wildfire seasons) – are doing a lot to support their customers and the communities in which they do business during this crisis. 

Insurers are financial first responders when it comes to just about any loss-creating event the average person might imagine. Media organizations would do their consumers a greater service by clarifying that role and helping them understand how best to shop for the insurance they need than by dropping scary, misleading tweets on an already anxiety-filled public.

FAQs about COVID-19’s Impact on Workers’ Comp

Dr. John W. Ruser, President and CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), contributed this Q&A about the role workers’ compensation insurance plays in the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. John Ruser

During this pandemic, many workers (nurses, police, grocery store clerks, transit professionals, etc.) are considered essential, potentially putting them at heightened risk for contracting COVID-19. A key question, of course, is whether a worker who contracts COVID-19 is compensated under workers’ compensation for income loss and medical expenses.

Below are some frequently asked questions that get posed to me as president and CEO of the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), which is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that provides high-quality, objective research and statistical information about public policy issues involving the various state workers’ compensation insurance systems in the United States.

Q1: Is COVID-19 covered under workers’ compensation and if not, why not?

A1: Historically, communicable diseases, like the flu, have generally not been covered.  Workers’ compensation covers injuries and illnesses that arise out of and in the course of employment. It is generally difficult to establish work-relationship for a disease that could be contracted anywhere. Indeed, some states’ statutes bar compensation for communicable diseases. In the past few weeks, though, a number of states have taken steps to expand workers’ compensation coverage to include COVID-19 for certain groups of workers.

Q2: What is the course of action for states seeking to cover essential workers impacted by COVID-19?

A2: Some states consider that their current laws, regulations and procedures are sufficient to provide compensation for workers who demonstrate that they contracted COVID-19 at work. Other states have changed their rules, either by executive order or by legislation, to increase the likelihood that a worker who contracts COVID-19 may be eligible for workers ’ compensation. The states vary in terms of the scope of workers covered and in terms of the burden of proof required by an ill worker to establish work-relatedness. A number of states’ laws and orders cover only first responders or health care workers. Others expand coverage to include other groups of workers deemed to be essential, e.g., grocery workers. In some states, the worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they can demonstrate that their illness was the result of their employment or occupation. In other states, for the workers covered, there is a presumption that their illness arose from work, though that presumption can be rebutted.

Q3: Is this is the first time coverage has been expanded for conditions that may arise outside of work and how are workers’ compensation laws changed?

A3: No, for example, we have seen workers’ compensation coverage expanded to include those, particularly first responders, who witness a traumatic experience and as a result have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can no longer perform their duties.

Q4: Is workers’ compensation administered at the state or federal level?

A4: Individuals injured on the job while employed by private companies or state and local government agencies are covered by workers’ compensation programs administered by the states. The essential features of the states’ workers’ compensation systems are similar, but they may vary in terms of the compensability of some conditions, the amount of benefits paid and other features. Federal and some other workers are covered by four disability compensation programs administered by the US Department of Labor.

Q5: What does workers’ compensation cover and are the benefits across the country the same?

A5: Workers’ compensation covers all medical benefits and wages lost while off work due to the injury. It covers the first dollar of medical care and there are statutory formulas for the income benefits that replace lost wages. WCRI’s workers’ compensation laws reports are a great resource to identify the similarities and differences across workers’ compensation systems in U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Q6: Is WCRI working on any research that will help us better understand the impact of COVID-19 on state workers’ compensation systems?

A6: WCRI has a wealth of studies that provide a pre-COVID baseline for evaluating the impact of the virus on workers’ compensation claims. This includes WCRI’s CompScope™ Benchmarks studies, which compare a range of workers’ compensation performance metrics across 18 states. In the future, we will evaluate the impact of the virus on the composition of claims and their costs, how the virus may have affected the delivery of care to injured workers and the impact of that on worker and claims outcomes, including duration of disability.


Accounting Rules
NAIC Working Group Approves Flexible COVID-19 Accounting Rules
Automobile Insurance
How the Coronavirus Could Change U.S. Personal Auto Insurance
Business Interruption
Travelers, Insured Law Firm Spar Over Civil Authority Business Income Loss Claim
States Seek to Force Insurance Companies to Pay Those With Business Interruption Policies
Covid-19 Business Interruption Existential Threat, Reinsurance Capital Availability Key: Willis Re
Credit Insurance
Governments should backstop trade credit
The Race Is on to Lead Business Interruption Insurance Litigation
What Won’t Cure Corona: Lawsuits
6 Types Of Employment Lawsuits To Expect In The Wake Of COVID-19
Editorial: Stopping a Lawsuit Epidemic
Kudlow: Businesses shouldn’t be held liable for employees and customers getting coronavirus
Corporate America Seeks Legal Protection for When Coronavirus Lockedowns Lift
Profits & Losses
Coronavirus Costs Weigh on Travelers’ Profit
Coronavirus Will Be Largest Event in Insurance History, Says Chubb CEO
Coronavirus To Be Largest Industry Loss Ever: Chubb’s Greenberg & Lloyd’s Neal
Covid-19 P&C Insurance Industry Loss Estimated $40bn – $80bn: Dowling
Chubb Classifies Covid-19 as a Catastrophe Event
Covid-19 Claims Manageable, But Reinsurers Face Formidable Challenges: Willis Re
Specialty Lines
Companies Can Expect Higher D&O Rates, Lower Limits: Experts
Lack of Adequate Insurance Puts Healthcare Workers At Risk of Malpractice Lawsuits
Workers Compensation
States Easing Path to Workers Compensation Benefits for Coronavirus Workers
Changing Virus Guidance Creates Balancing Act For Essential Employers
Employers Pushing Back as States Expand Work Comp to Cover COVID-19
Workplace Safety For COVID-19 Essential Workers
From the Triple-I Blog:

Triple-I CEO Among Panelists Discussing Business Interruption Insurance Legislation

Sean Kevelighan

Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan today joined legislators and legal experts to discuss proposed measures that could retroactively rewrite business interruption insurance policies.

“The insurance industry is applying forward-thinking solutions to take care of its customers, communities, and employees during the COVID-19 crisis,” Kevelighan said, citing more than $10 billion so far returned to customers through premium relief; $200 million in charitable donations; and insurers pledging not to lay off employees during the crisis and implementing innovative solutions to conduct daily operations while respecting social distancing. “We’re deeply engaged in mitigating the economic impact of this pandemic.”

But the industry can only do these things – while keeping its promises to policyholders and preparing for impending catastrophes – if policyholder surplus isn’t eliminated, as it could be if some of the proposed legislative “solutions” were enacted.

Legislation has been discussed or introduced in Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina that would retroactively enact business interruption coverage into existing policies despite an absence of the physical damage required in property policies and/or express exclusions for communicable diseases in those policies.

Kevelighan explained how policyholder surplus provides a cushion that enables insurers to meet their obligations, even when large, unexpected catastrophes occur. He showed how retroactively rewriting insurance contracts could make it impossible for insurers to play their critical role as “financial first responders.”

The scenarios he discussed could cost the industry $150 billion and $380 billion per month – “quickly eliminating the surplus it has taken the industry centuries to accumulate.”

And they would do this in the midst of a tornado season that is shaping up to be the deadliest in eight years and as a “more active than normal” hurricane season approaches.

Kevelighan made his remarks during a webinar sponsored by the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and the Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility at Rutgers Law School. Other panelists included NCOIL President and Indiana Rep. Matt Lehman; New Jersey Assemblyman Lou Greenwald; and Jay Feinman and Adam Scales, Professors of Law at Rutgers Law School and Co-Directors of the Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility.

The panelists all expressed support for the creation of a COVID-19 Business Interruption and Cancellation Claims Fund, similar to the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund enacted by Congress in 2001, for businesses suffering from costs related to the interruption of their businesses, as well as the many associations that have had to cancel events. Funded by the federal government and operated by a special federal administrator, it would facilitate distribution of federal funds and liquidity to impacted businesses during this time of incalculable business interruption.

Click here to view the presentation.

Insurers Respond to COVID-19 (4/24/2020)

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), announced today that it has raised nearly $500,000 in just over 3 weeks through its national fundraising campaign, the COVID-19 Crisis: IICF Children’s Relief Fund.

IICF’s crisis relief campaign enables donors to focus resources on children at risk of food insecurity, educational disruption, family homelessness and other issues exacerbated by COVID-19. With the support of insurance companies, associations and individual industry professionals, funds raised will benefit 14 nonprofit partners operating throughout IICF’s four U.S.-based divisions.

Overall, U.S. insurers and their charitable foundations have donated approximately $220 million in response to the COVID-19 crisis. And well in excess of $100 million has been contributed internationally, according to Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) estimates based on information collected by IICF.

Insurance industry contributions have gone beyond financial donations, as tracked by IICF. These efforts include:

  • More than 400,000 masks donated to frontline healthcare workers
  • An industrywide commitment to deliver more than 1 million meals to families in need
  • Hosting blood drives
  • Purchasing and donating to healthcare workers gift cards from small businesses
  • Offering no-cost life insurance policies to frontline healthcare workers
  • Providing additional time off to volunteer in the community
  • Increased matching of employee donations to local charities

In addition, insurance companies have made commitments not to furlough workers due to the pandemic. And U.S. auto insurers will return more than $10.5 billion to their customers nationwide as part of their COVID-19 response, Triple-I estimates.

To donate to the IICF Children’s Relief Fund, please visit the IICF website and designate the region of the country you’d like to support.

“For more than 25 years IICF has marshaled the philanthropic will and resources of the insurance industry in support of communities. By uniting philanthropically through the industrywide IICF Children’s Relief Fund, we’re able to help children across the country be safer and healthier. “

Bill Ross, CEO, IICF

Donations can also be made directly to IICF here to support the organization on a national level with its mission to help communities in need.

To view a list of insurance organizations that have made philanthropic contributions related to COVID-19 please click here and view IICF Children’s Relief Fund contributors.

Coronavirus wrap-up: life and health insurance (4/22/2020)

Health insurance

Buying health insurance? What to know during the coronavirus pandemic

Care providers may need $100B more as industry faces further COVID-19 losses

What to Do if You Can’t Pay for Insurance Due to Coronavirus

Health Insurance Rates Could Be Weirdly Stable: Actuaries

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Health Care Economy?

Life insurance

Certain US life insurers suspend senior applications

Consumers Looking To Buy Life Insurance

More States Mandating Forgiveness On Life Insurance Premiums

Implications of coronavirus for North American life and annuities writers

What an Annuity Giant Is Telling Investors About COVID-19 Risk


Automobile Insurance
Erie Insurance Offering $200M dividend to Auto Insurance Customers Amid Pandemic
If Miles Driven Are Down, Why Are U.S. Auto Crashes Up?
Business Interruption
Federal Lawsuits Target Insurers Over COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
Covid-Fueled Supply Chain Disruption a Crunch Point for Insurance Claims
Businesses Contemplating Reopening Fear Lawsuits From Sick Patrons
20 Ways to Address Marijuana Reform Amid COVID-19
Directors & Officers
Top Exec With Coronavirus a Reportable Event? It All Depends
Financial and Business Impact
A.M. Best Forecasts Hit to Insurer Capital from Equity Exposures
Pandemic Has Scam Artists Out in Full Force
‘Act of God’ Disputes Are on Upswing
Travelers Hits Back With COVID-19 Claims Denial Suit
Fed-up Nurses File Lawsuits, Plan Protest at White House Over Lack of Coronavirus Protections
Travel Insurance
Impact of Covid-19 on Corporate Travel, Recovery & Way Forward
Cruise Ship Virus Losses May Hit Marine Liability Insurers
Workers Compensation
CA Virus Comp Costs Projected to Reach as High as $33.6B
Employers May Exclude Payroll to Employees Not Working for Workers’ Comp: NCCI
COVID-19 Presumptions May Lead to Billions in Workers’ Comp Losses