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Dynamic trends in TPLF and securities class actions increase risks for insurers

An annual report on securities class actions from Cornerstone Research indicates the median settlement amount increased 11%, and the proportion of settlements of at least $100 million climbed to nearly two-thirds of the total settlement dollars in 2023.  

Research from Westfleet Advisors focused on third-party litigation funding (TPLF) for US commercial litigation suggests the David versus Goliath narrative surrounding the early years of the market is growing tenuous. The overall percentage of commitments allocated to Big Law continues to increase, from 28% in 2022 to 35% in 2023.  

These and other persistent upward trends in litigation, settlement, and other legal costs continue to have implications for insurers, the policyholders they serve, and, ultimately, consumer prices. 

Mega settlements and institutional investors as lead plaintiffs are increasing. 

Cornerstone reports that despite a more than 20% decline in the number of settlements, total settlement dollars remained approximately the same, standing at little over half of the 2016 peak.  

There were 83 securities class action settlements in 2023, with an approximate total value of $3.9 billion, versus 105 settlements in 2022, totaling $4.0 billion. Other highlights in the 2023 data: 

  • The median settlement amount of $15 million is the highest since 2010.    
  • The nine “mega” settlements in 2023–the highest annual frequency since 2016–ranged from $102.5 million to $1 billion. 
  • All of the mega settlements included an institutional investor as the lead plaintiff.  
  • Only 6% of cases settled for less than $2 million, the lowest percentage since 2013.  

Analysis indicates that settlements were also higher in cases involving certain factors: “accounting allegations, a corresponding SEC action, criminal charges, an accompanying derivative action, an institutional investor lead plaintiff, or securities.” Further, an increasing number of cases that settle at later stages involved an institutional lead plaintiff, continuing the trend from 2022.  

Results also suggest that drawing out cases can amplify other factors, such as total assets and median “simplified tiered damages,” a Cornerstone term that refers to the model used to estimate settlement amounts. For both of these categories in 2023, median amounts for cases after class certification rulings were twice that of cases that settled before these rulings were made. However, in the five-year period from 2019 through 2023, over 90% of cases were settled before filing a motion for summary judgment.  

Accompanying derivative actions are down. 

Whereas a securities class action is filed on behalf of shareholders, a shareholder derivative action is typically brought by a shareholder on behalf of and (arguably) for the benefit of the company (usually against the company’s directors and/or officers). Derivative actions typically only happen in parallel with class action lawsuits, and the majority don’t result in monetary settlements (except for attorney fees). Instead, the plaintiff wins tend to center around measures for reforming corporate governance or operational controls.  

Other research from Cornerstone shows the probability of a monetary settlement for these lawsuits increases when the associated class action settlement is rather large. Also, historically, securities actions with accompanying derivative litigation tend to settle for higher amounts than those that don’t carry parallel derivative claims. Thus, Cornerstone also tracks the percentage of cases involving accompanying derivative actions. In 2023, the portion was 40%, the lowest since 2011.  

New capital commitments decreased for commercial litigation TPLF, but claim monetization increased. 

With a reported 39 active funders, 353 new deals, and $15.2 billion AUM, commercial litigation (versus consumer litigation) receives the majority of third-party litigation funding (TPLF). Investors target intellectual property, arbitration, business torts, contract breaches, and, of course, class action suits. These TPLF deals, also referred to as transactions or commitments, are arranged between funders and corporate litigants or law firms. Westfleet Advisors’ most recent market report on TPLF is the fifth edition, and it covers transactions from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. Some noted exceptions and data adjustments are described in the report. 

The report reveals that despite some funders leaving the market and a 14% decrease in new capital commitments, key data points remained close to amounts tracked for last year. For example, attorneys still make the majority of these deals with a 64% share of the agreements, in contrast to only 36% for clients. Patent litigation is still reaping the largest amount of funds for a single legal area, about 19% of new commitments. Figures for type of deal and average deal size also remain fairly stable.  

However, some annual numbers have increased, highlighting an ongoing strategic shift in TPLF use. For the third year in a row, the report noted a rise in capital allocated for the monetization of claims, with 21% (versus 14% in 2022) going to new commitments. The biggest law firms (ranked in the AmLaw 200 according to gross revenue) have increased their use of TPLF, snagging 35% of the new deals. Arguably, both trends weaken the “David vs Goliath” narrative, and commercial TPLF may evolve to be less about helping scrappy firms and plaintiffs and more about extracting profits from litigation.  

Drawn out litigation and more outsized settlements may have implications for insurance coverage

Triple-I and other industry thought leaders define Legal System Abuse as policyholder or plaintiff attorney actions that unnecessarily increase the costs and time to settle insurance claims. Qualifying actions can arise from attorneys or clients drawing out litigation to reap a larger settlement simply because TPLF investors take such a giant piece of the settlement pie. As there is little transparency around the use of TPLF, insurers and courts have virtually no leeway in mitigating any of this risk. 

Thus, as with other channels for potential legal system abuse, TPLF use is nearly impossible to forecast and mitigate. Increases in litigation and claim costs have threatened the affordability and availability of many other areas of insurance coverage. TPLF can impact product lines such as Directors and Officers (D&O) in commercial litigation via securities class actions. TPLF can produce a financially counterproductive effect for plaintiffs by extracting a disproportionate amount of value from settlements, weakening the primary purpose of a financial payout: to enable the claimant to restore losses.  

Nonetheless, insurers seek to carefully manage these risks through underwriting practices, policy exclusions, and setting appropriate reserves to mitigate the financial impact. Meanwhile, Triple-I and various other stakeholders have called for a regulatory rein-in on TPLF to increase transparency.  To keep abreast of the conversation, follow our blog and check out our regularly updated knowledge hub for Legal System Abuse. 

The Institutes Releases New Webinar, Intersectionality in Research: Navigating Diversity

Industry stakeholders looking to keep pace with market challenges may find diversity in research the key to long-term success and resilience. A multitude of different perspectives, ideas, and solutions can enhance innovation and strategic outcomes. Join The Institutes for a webinar panel discussion of strategies for creating inclusive research spaces, addressing biases, and fostering a diverse and equitable research community, specifically in insurance.

 The panel includes:

  • Julia Brinson, Vice President, Insurance Research, Conning
  • Dale Porfilio, Chief Insurance Officer for the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and President of the Insurance Research Council (IRC).
  • Roosevelt Mosley, Jr. Principal & Consulting Actuary, Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc.

Amy Cole-Smith, currently the Director for Diversity at The Institutes, moderated the discussion for this on-demand event.

Intersectionality hinges on two core fundamentals: all oppression is linked, and people can be impacted by multiple sources of interlocking oppression that converge to create a new and multi-layered struggle.

For example, intersectionality recognizes that a Black woman experiences racial and gender discrimination in ways that might be entirely different from the ways Black men face racism or White women face sexism. These differences stem from the principle that for Black women, the identities of “woman” and “Black” do not exist independently.

Intersectional research explores how gender, race, ethnicity, and other identity markers impact the data and analysis to drive valuable insights. But success requires discovering effective ways to generate those insights for the benefit of all in the customer base, not just some. Without the inclusion of intersectionality in research, disparities may continue, and market needs–along with accompanying opportunities–can go unmet.

According to Julia Brinson, applying intersectional research begins with better recruiting diverse talent. Building on her response, Roosevelt Mosley, Jr added, “Once that talent gets into our industry, we need to focus on developing and growing that talent into all areas of an organization.” 

In a demonstration of how inclusion can play out around the research table, the panelists shared how their experiences influence how they approach research. Brinson, who holds a Master of Law in Insurance Law (among many other credentials), spoke about how she views insurance research problems with an eye for diversity using a “legal lens to understand the claims aspect” and how premiums may be affected.

The panelists also recommended how other researchers can effectively incorporate intersectionality into their work.

Dale Porfilio commented on how “diversity in thought and experience” can help address the industry’s challenges in this area, including “making sure products are affordable…and available to cover a broad range of risk…and integrating that with the social construct of fairness.”

However, Moseley warned that a one-size-fits-all approach to any particular category, such as race, gender, etc., won’t be sufficient to meet the requirements of intersectionality in research.

“There is a collective experience of groups, but within that collective experience, there is also significant diversity,” he said.

The common sentiment revolved around the need for “courageous conversations” and there was plenty of advice on how institutions foster an environment that promotes communication and collaboration among researchers of diverse backgrounds.

The entire webinar is available now on demand. Register here: Intersectionality in Research: Navigating Diversity (on24.com)

The latest reports from FBI and ITRC reveal that cyber incidents in 2023 broke records for financial loss and frequency.

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Cyber incidents reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2023 totaled 880,418. These attacks caused a five-year high of $12.5 billion in losses, with investment scams making up $4.57 billion, the most for any cybercrime tracked. Phishing, with 298,878 incidents tracked (down from its five-year high in 2021 of 323,972), continues to reign as the top reported method of cybercrime.

The 2023 Data Breach Report from Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reveals that last year delivered a bumper crop of cybersecurity failures – 3,205 publicly reported data compromises, impacting an estimated 353,027,892 individuals. Meanwhile, supply-chain attacks increased, and weak notification frameworks further increased cyber risk for all stakeholders.

Email compromise, cryptocurrency fraud, and ransomware increase

In addition to record-high financial losses from cybercrimes overall in 2023, the report revealed trends across crime methodology and targets. Investment fraud was the costliest of all incidents tracked. Within this category, cryptocurrency involvement rose 53 percent, from $2.57 billion in 2022 to $3.94 billion. Victims 30 to 49 years old were the most likely group to report losses.

Ransomware rose 18%, and about 42 percent of 2,825 reported ransomware attacks targeted 14 of 16 critical infrastructure sectors. The top five targeted sectors made up nearly three-quarters of the critical infrastructure complaints: healthcare and public health (249), critical manufacturing (218), government facilities (156), information technology (137), and financial services (122).

Adjusted losses for 21,489 business email compromise (BEC) incidents climbed to over 2.9 billion. The IC3 noted a shift from dominant methods in the past (i.e., fraudulent requests for W-2 information, large gift cards, etc.). Now scammers are “increasingly using custodial accounts held at financial institutions for cryptocurrency exchanges or third-party payment processors, or having targeted individuals send funds directly to these platforms where funds are quickly dispersed.”

The report disclosed a $50,000,000 loss from a BEC incident In March of 2023, targeting “a critical infrastructure construction project entity located in the New York, New York area.”

The IC3 says it receives about 2,412 complaints daily, but many more cybercrimes likely go unreported for various reasons. Complaints tracked over the past five years have impacted at least 8 million people. The FBI’s recommendations for solutions to minimize risk and impact include:

  • Ramping up cybersecurity protocols such as two-factor authentication.
  • More robust payment verification practices.
  • Avoiding engagement with unsolicited texts and emails.

The scale of 2023 data compromises is “overwhelming.”

According to the ITRC, the surge in breaches during 2023 is 72 percent over the previous record set in 2021 and 78 percent over 2022. To add more perspective, the ITRC notes that “the increase from the past record high to 2023’s number is larger than the annual number of events from 2005 until 2020, except for 2017.”

Meanwhile, as the report highlights, two other outsized trends converged: increasing complexity and risk. The number of organizations and victims impacted by supply-chain attacks skyrocketed. The notification framework conspicuously weakened, too. Since some laws assign liability for notification to organizations owning the leaked data, the notification chain would stop there, leaving downstream stakeholders unaware. For example, a software company servicing nonprofits might duly notify its direct B2B customers but not the individuals served by the nonprofit organization.

The ITRC has been reviewing publicly reported data breaches since 2005, and it now has a database of more than “18.8K tracked data compromises, impacting over 12B victims and exposing 19.8B records.” This ninth report forecasts a bleak outlook for the coming year. Specifically, “an unprecedented number of data breaches in 2023 by financially motivated and Nation/State threat actors will drive new levels of identity crimes in 2024, especially impersonation and synthetic identity fraud.”

The faster a breach is identified and reported, the faster all potentially affected parties can take measures to minimize impact. However, reporting regulations can vary across jurisdictions and businesses, and their supply chain partners may hesitate to disclose breaches for fear of impacting revenue and brand reputation. ITRC outlines its forthcoming uniform breach notification service designed to enable due diligence, emphasizing swift action and coordination with business and regulatory authorities. The service will be offered for a fee to companies looking to better handle cyber risk in their supply chains and regulatory requirements. Other recommendations include the increased use of digital credentials, facial identification/comparison technology, and enhancing vendor due diligence. 

The increased risk and rising financial losses from cyber risk likely drive growth for the cyber insurance market, which tripled in volume in the last five years. Gross direct written premiums climbed to USD 13 billion in 2022. For a quick rundown of how cyber insurance coverage supports risk management for organizations of all sizes, take a look at our cyber risk knowledge hub. To learn more about the fastest-growing segment of property/casualty, look at our recent Issues Brief.

Women are fueling industry prosperity but left out of the C-Suite

The insurance industry is on track for continued growth, with women playing a huge part, but gender equity at the top remains a long way off.  Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows the talent pipeline isn’t an issue, as women account for 59.4 percent of the insurance workforce. They comprise 80.1 percent of workers serving as claims and policy processing clerks, 54.9 percent in sales roles, and 56.9 percent of underwriters. Yet, only about 22 percent (less than 1 in 4) of workers in the C-Suite are women.

Despite the setbacks of the early pandemic years, in which women shouldered the brunt of related workforce losses, women have made up roughly 60 percent of the insurance workforce each year since 2012, exceeding their share of total employment in the U.S. (46.9 percent).

Private sector research adds more details to this stark picture. A Marsh study conducted in 2022 revealed that “25 out of 27 (92.5 percent) of the largest insurance companies were led by men.” Similarly, a McKinsey study showed, “white women make up 45 percent of entry-level roles yet…fewer than one in five direct reports to the CEO are women.” Gender disparities also appear to increase across race and ethnicity.

A recent study from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance shows that the number of women owners or principals in insurance agencies decreased from 31 percent to 26 percent between 2022 and 2023. In contrast, women comprise 75 percent of customer-facing staff in those organizations.

S&P Global Research analysis findings suggest “women could reach parity in senior leadership positions between 2030 and 2037, among companies in the Russell 3000.” Whether that might play out sooner or later for insurance isn’t clear. The August 2023 report also reveals that the “majority of progress towards gender parity is coming from women taking seats on company boards.” Still, C-suite leadership across all industries may not show full gender parity until the 2050s, and “the highest levels in CEO and CFO positions could take even longer.”

Gender parity can offer solutions for a healthy financial future

Meanwhile, the industry expects to face massive attrition as thousands of workers (along with their leadership skills and knowledge) eventually exit the workforce in the coming years. Automation and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) may eliminate the need for some roles. Still, insurers will undoubtedly need to maintain an ecosystem of efficiency and innovation to remain profitable. Increased implementation of data-driven processes and decision-making brings new ethical implications and regulatory responsibilities.

Organizational diversity is commonly defined as people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives working together to solve business problems. Strategic long-term success requires identifying, developing, and promoting diverse talent at all levels. However, a lack of diversity at the C-suite level can undermine the most valiant recruitment efforts in other parts of the organization. Today’s driven and career-focused candidates are wary of glass ceilings and may want evidence that inclusion and equity come from the top.

Research has indicated women in leadership can positively impact the organizations they run. After a series of four studies over several years, findings from McKinsey indicate that “leadership diversity is also convincingly associated with holistic growth ambitions, greater social impact, and more satisfied workforces.” Further, the most recent study also notes the “business case for gender diversity on executive teams has more than doubled over the past decade.” Other research indicates that, among U.S. property-casualty insurance companies, female CEOs are associated with “lower insurer insolvency propensity, higher z-score, and lower standard deviation of return on assets.”

In the era of the nation’s first female vice-president, ultimately, corporate boards might find that reflecting the market demographics the savviest and most compelling of all reasons to diversify senior leadership. Together, U.S. millennials and the oldest Gen Zers (already taking on adult responsibilities) command nearly $3 trillion in spending power each year. Both generations have duly prepared themselves to advance in the workforce, becoming more educated than previous generations. And they will no doubt grab an opportunity where they can find it.

Will the D&O market conditions remain favorable? Allianz report says 2024 will bring its share of challenges.

Several global challenges pose a significant threat to maintaining soft market conditions for Directors and Officers (D&O) liability coverage, according to the most recent report on the sector by Allianz.

A list of salient risks and trends to monitor during 2024 spans various areas, including:

  • Macroeconomics,
  • Geopolitical,
  • Generative AI (GenAI),
  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), and
  • Class action filings and third-party litigation funding.

According to the latest edition of Directors and Officers Insurance Insights, any of these factors could change the outlook for a competitive market this year.

The D&O market may have mostly avoided the bumps and scrapes faced by other lines of coverage in 2023. With double-digit decreases in insurance pricing worldwide, new market entrants, favorable loss ratios, and a reduction in the Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), the environment contrasts sharply with the early pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. Over 90 percent of D&O underwriters (in a separate study) expected pricing to decrease or stay the same for mature public companies in 2024.

However, Allianz (in conjunction with Munich Re) predicted business insolvencies may rise by 10 percent in 2024. In today’s dynamic environment, organizations — from startups to multi-national behemoths — may rely on D&O policies to manage liabilities arising from executive leadership decisions. Having coverage in place signifies attention to the bottom line and removes a barrier to recruiting the best leadership talent.

The 2023 economy delivered many hurdles, particularly in rising costs and interest rates, rendering the effective management of capital expenditure[DJ1]   and debt a cryptic challenge for organizations and their executives. Add to that mix insolvency activity that is starting to look similar to what followed the 2009 global financial crisis. The “likelihood of a recession in the US and UK continues to rise in 2024,” the report says.

Citing Fitch’s analysis, the report warns of threats to future profitability from “weaker pricing and the potential claims volatility from a myriad of sources.” Still, Allianz suggests that reserves from most recent years may safeguard “near-term underwriting results.”

The early 2023 banking crisis is expected to leave a mark on the D&O segment as each of the bank failures and near failures – widely attributed to substandard banking practices – resulted in a securities fraud claim. The forecasted multi-billion dollar losses in market cap and final disclosure pose an enormous threat to insurance towers, the layers of coverage spreading risk across multiple insurers and coverage levels to diversify overall risk exposure. Consequently, the report advises closely monitoring banks with large commercial property portfolios and how the Treasury plans to rebuild its cash balance from the lowest level in seven years.

The report discusses how technology advancements offer a mixed bag for the D&O segment, creating advantages for organizational efficiency and productivity but also new risks surrounding cybersecurity, regulatory requirements, transparency and governance, litigation, and investor expectations. Cybersecurity, in general, has been on the radar for several years now. However Generative AI (GenAI), a relatively new technology in the risk management spotlight, could enable more threats for cyber risk management.

Separately, Gen AI has already sparked intellectual property and privacy claims. Future claims could emerge in securities, breach of fiduciary, shareholder, and derivative lawsuits. The report states that managing risks posed by Gen AI requires the cultivation of expertise-driven best practices and protocols.

Another 21st-century issue, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), appears to have permanently taken root as a factor in the D&O risk landscape. Despite the ongoing debate over its value, definition, and measurement, the ESG framework encompasses a growing list of conundrums faced by directors and officers. Organizations don’t operate in a vacuum but in communities where human rights, climate risk, and other ESG concerns can infiltrate business-as-usual operations. Tactics that avoid or incur costly regulatory sanctions can also spark lawsuits from private stakeholders.

“In a world that is becoming increasingly polarized politically and socially, the very need for directors to evaluate and address the impact of various ESG factors on corporate value creates that claims will be made…on either or both sides of any given issue,” the report states.

The specter of increased litigation costs persists as federal securities class actions climbed to 201 by early December in 2023 (up from 197 in 2022) and total settlement dollars outpaced historical levels. Figures for only the first half of 2023 exceeded the total for 2022, climbing to a ten-year record high.

The D&O segment has always been dynamic, and claims can arise from various sources, including shareholders, employees, regulatory agencies, competitors, and customers. Therefore, the product continues to play a vital role in mitigating the risks associated with corporate governance and protecting the interests of directors, officers, and the companies they serve. Overall, the market’s future will remain competitive as established insurers move to address underwriting challenges, but it’s not likely that the 2024 environment will be hospitable to new insurers lacking a substantial portfolio.

Advancing diversity requires insurers and prospects to adopt a proactive mindset

Tiara Wallace recently accepted her role as the Director of Risk for Invesco US and can’t seem to hide her contagious excitement for her profession. After announcing in a recent interview with Triple-I that she is a new “dog mom,” she proudly revealed that she is a parent to a 20-year-old “who is in college and recently switched his major to risk management.”

She had explained to her son how some activities in his current (but unrelated) campus job, such as “reviewing contracts and determining if the appeal process is working,” could be a good foundation for a future role in the field.

Wallace’s advocacy for careers in risk management doesn’t stop with her family. Having spent some time as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, she delights in frequently sharing with young people the benefits and opportunities they might find in her profession. She tells them that “insurance and risk management is such a great and lucrative career,” welcoming people from various backgrounds.

“Some folks have college, some people just have experience in the industry. But you’re able to make it into whatever you need for your life. And there’s so many routes you can go down.”

She launched her journey by working in claims adjustment for ten years. Then she decided it was time for a change. “Do I pivot now and make the change into something else?” she asked herself. 

A friend remarked on her talent for educating people and understanding what drives claims. “Have you ever thought about safety or risk management?” her friend asked.

Wallace says a risk management major wasn’t available to her as an undergraduate. “So I did what any typical millennial does and I got on the Internet and started to look up jobs.”

She was surprised to discover she was already familiar with the foundations. She thought, “This is what we all do day-to-day, right – managing our decisions and determining where our risk appetite is?

She gives ample credit to her mentor, who has since become a family friend, for giving her a transformational opportunity. “He was the VP of Risk for a privately held bank in Oklahoma,” she says. He hired her as the risk manager for a family group of 20 ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

The job suited her well. “It was never mundane…and that really spoke to me and really started the journey into risk management for me.”

Years later, Wallace eventually relocated to Dallas and is now in her role working with commercial real estate and private equity at Invesco. The knowledge and skills she acquired working with the private firm are helping her excel in a publicly traded company, where she continues to grow.

“I’m learning a ton, and there’s a lot coming at me, but I enjoy the challenge.”

When asked what changes she’s witnessed in her field over the years regarding diversity, Wallace is candid, pragmatic, and hopeful.

“Going from a call center and claims where you see all types of people to these areas where it’s on the commercial side, and I’m going to different conferences. Sometimes, you can see the same type of person that fills the role.”

Wallace describes her firsthand account of an issue that is widely documented by various organizations – from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to key players in the risk management field, such as  Marsh.

For example, BLS data on Black and African American representation in the insurance industry shows that representation is increasing, with 14.6% employees in the field, up from 9.9% in 2014. Black professionals held 19.2% of insurance claims and processing clerk roles. However, as of 2020, only 1.8% (just three out of 168) of executive employees in the industry are Black, according to data sourced by Reuters

 “In the last three or four years, I think what I’ve began to see, just from the different generations entering in, is there is a more of a push for that diversity,” Wallace says. She notes that the diversity sought is not only in race, ethnicity, gender, and other identities but also in neurodiversity and professional backgrounds.

“I think that we still have a long way to go. But we’re starting to see more where the realization is, hey, we need a diverse candidate pool because here in the next what, 5 to 10 years, we’re gonna have an exodus in this market.”

Wallace admits that, as a long-standing industry, insurance can take some time to catch up while technology, demographics, and other structural factors are rapidly changing the game for the entire economy.

“We have not traditionally, and we’re still currently, not always quick to jump on thinking proactively or moving forward.” Nonetheless, Wallace says she is taking an active role in creating the future she wants to see.

“And so I think the thing that I started to realize is… I’m gonna be part of this change. So let me get involved in organizations.” Her educational experience likely played a role in this outlook.

She recalls how her college business fraternity leader asked her to “Go find three people that look like you. And three people that do not look or come from where you come from and recruit them.”

Wallace took up the challenge, of course. “That was one of the most phenomenal years because I got to learn so much. So I brought that mindset into this industry,” she says.

When Wallace was studying for her master’s degree years ago, a professor encouraged the class to be “agents of social change, like go in and be a disruptor.”

Now, when she advises people on connecting with diverse prospects, she asks whether they are searching beyond their personal networks and traditional spaces. “Are you going to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)? Are you going to different candidate pools? Are you going to rural cities and towns where maybe people have not historically gone into? Are you also talking to veterans?”

Wallace also recognizes that the work environment will be as critical to diversity success as recruiting tactics. For example, she asks, “Are our spaces friendly and inviting to those that maybe have disabilities?”

She encourages aspiring professionals to think beyond the cliche of an insurance job to see where they may fit.  “Are you good at marketing? Because these insurance companies need marketing departments. Are you handy on the Internet? Oh, well, great. There’s a place in cyber or also IT (Information Technology) infrastructure.” The goal, she says, is “just having these conversations to get different people into this space…in the industry.”

“Some of you are gonna be strategic, too, you know, to implant yourselves in areas that traditionally have not allowed you to enter.”

Wallace says she would tell her younger self that being bolder and assertive in asking for what she needs will be crucial.

“As a woman, you better be able to sell yourself and brag on yourself and not and not take a step back and just assume that’s what everyone is doing. Make the ask because you can get paid for what it is. But you have to be bold enough — whether that’s a sale, whether that’s a salary, whether that’s you need staffing in your department, or you need help. Make the ask because you are the one that is in there working it day to day.”

New Triple-I Issue Brief Takes a Deep Dive into Legal System Abuse

The increasing frequency and severity of claims costs beyond insurer expectations continue to threaten insurance coverage and affordability. Triple-I’s latest Issue Brief, Legal System Abuse – State of the Risk describes how trends in claims litigation can drive social inflation, leading to higher insurance premiums for policyholders and losses for insurers.

Key Takeaways

  • Insured losses continue to exceed expectations and surpass inflation, notably impacting coverage affordability and availability in Florida and Louisiana.
  • In promoting the term “legal system abuse”, Triple-I seeks to capture how litigation and related systemic trends amplify social inflation.
  • Progress has been made toward increased awareness about the risks of third-party litigation funding (TPLF), but more work is needed.

What we mean when we talk about legal system abuse

Legal system abuse occurs when policyholders, plaintiff attorneys, or other third parties use fraudulent or unnecessary tactics in pursuing an insurance claim payout, increasing the time and cost of settling insurance claims. These actions can include illegal maneuvers, such as claims inflation and frivolous or outright fraudulent claims. Unscrupulous contractors, for example, seek to profit from Assignment of Benefits (AOBs) by overstating repair costs and then filing lawsuits against the insurer – sometimes even without the homeowner’s knowledge. Filing a lawsuit to reap an outsized payout when it’s evident the claims process will likely provide a fair, reasonable, and timely claim settlement can also be considered legal system abuse.

The latest brief provides a round-up of several studies Triple-I and other organizations conducted on elements of these litigation trends. The report, “Impact of Increasing Inflation on Personal and Commercial Auto Liability Insurance,” describes the $96 billion to $105 billion increase in combined claim payouts for U.S. personal and commercial auto insurer liability. The Insurance Research Council highlighted the dire lack of affordability for personal auto and homeowners insurance coverage in Louisiana, along with the state’s exceptionally high claim litigation rates.

Readers will also find an update on the discussion of legal industry trends associated with increased claims litigation. The lack of transparency around TPLF arrangements and the fear of outside influence on cases are attracting the attention of legislators at the state and federal levels. The brief also describes how some law firms may use TPLF resources to encourage large windfall-seeking lawsuits instead of speedy and fair claims litigation. Research findings suggest that consumers have become aware of how ubiquitous attorney ads can influence the frequency of lawsuits, increasing claims costs.

Florida: a case study in the consequences of excessive litigation

While several states, such as California, Colorado, and Louisiana, are experiencing a drastic rise in the cost of homeowners’ insurance, this brief discusses Florida. Property insurance premiums there rank the highest in the nation. Several insurers facing insurmountable losses have stopped writing new policies or left the state in the last few years. In some areas, residents are leaving, too, because of skyrocketing premiums.

Excessive claims litigation isn’t a new issue for insurers, but it can work with other elements to shift loss ratios and disrupt forecasts, rendering cost management more challenging. In Florida, factors such as the rise in home values and frequency of extreme weather events play a significant role, along with the challenges homeowners face in the aftermath: soaring construction costs, supply chain bottlenecks, and new building codes. However, Florida also leads the nation in litigating property claims. While 15 percent of all homeowners claims in the nation originate in the state, Floridians file 71 percent of homeowners insurance lawsuits.

In Florida and elsewhere, increasing time to settle a claim puts a financial strain on insurers, which is passed on to policyholders in the form of higher premiums. Legal system abuse activities are difficult (if not impossible) to forecast and mitigate, hampering insurers’ ability to remain in the market. Therefore, legal system abuse could be one of the biggest underlying drivers of social inflation. Without preventive measures, such as policy intervention and increased policyholder awareness, coverage affordability and availability is at risk.

Triple-I remains committed to advancing the conversation and exploring actionable strategies with all stakeholders. Learn more about legal system abuse and its components, such as third-party litigation funding by following our blog and checking out our social inflation knowledge hub.

Cyber insurance market continues rapid growth as risk management strategies improve

As the number of cyber security breaches soars, direct written premiums (DPW) for cyber insurance worldwide could rise to $23 billion by 2025, with U.S. businesses paying about 56 percent of the total, according to Triple-I’s latest Issues Brief.

Cyber Insurance: State of the Risk, published last week, says the most recent data shows standalone policies have emerged as the preference for larger insureds, accounting for more than 70 percent of DPW – an increase of 61.5 percent from the prior year. These growth trends may signify that businesses recognize the growing threat of cyber risk requires mitigation beyond the typical coverage limitations of packaged options. Loss ratios also improved over 2021 rates, with declines of 23 percentage points, to 43 percent, on standalone policies and 18 percentage points, to 48 percent, on packaged policies. These improvements are evidence of improved cost-containment strategies. 

A two-edged sword

The brief outlines how technology can foster opportunities for cyber attackers and deliver ways for cybersecurity managers to predict, prevent, and manage threats. Increased use of cloud storage, remote working, and the “bring your own device” IT approach has amplified points of organizational vulnerability. And, as more companies and their employees are increasingly leveraging AI to boost operational efficiency, cyber attackers have created large language models (LLMs) to mimic the functionalities of ChatGPT and Google’s Bard to aid in phishing and malware attacks. 

Even the smallest businesses face threats that can incapacitate an organization. However, organizations can manage breaches more efficiently using AI for faster breach detection and implementing requirements for two-factor authentication, VPN use on external Wi-Fi networks, and data-wiping processes for lost or stolen devices.

Cyber insurance has become an integral part of robust prediction and prevention.

The bulk of cyber insurance claims by volume and frequency stem from ransomware and extortion-based attacks, according to an October 2023 report from Allianz. The report also says the annual proportion of cases in which data is stolen has consistently risen from “40 percent of cases in 2019 to around 77 percent of cases in 2022, with 2023 on course to surpass last year’s total.”  

The Allianz report highlights the growing need for businesses to improve prediction and prevention strategies, internally and with external partners and supply chain relationships. It makes practical sense that indemnification for cyber risk has become a common requirement for vendors doing business with frequently targeted sectors.  

The Triple-I brief states that as insurers refine policy terms to make the scope of coverage more understandable, business risk managers are better able to comprehend how cyber insurance can mitigate their risks. In turn, insurers may have been able to gain improvements in cost containment and rate stability. 

Triple-I supports increased awareness of the threat landscape

Cyber insurance can play a pivotal role in liability management. Sean Kevelighan, Triple-I’s CEO, participated on a panel during the Small Business Cyber Summit, a series hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Discussions offered insights and tips for cybersecurity risk managers and other experts. Kevelighan explained how cyber insurance can allow “businesses to more strategically allocate their resources” in the battle against cyber threats.

Kevelighan participated in another fall 2023 cyber risk panel hosted by The Institutes Griffith Foundation in collaboration with Indiana University. The presentation, Cyber Risk: Exploring the Threat Landscape and the Role of Risk Management, focused on risks to national infrastructure and companies. Accordingly, panelists discussed how regulators and businesses have responded to the inevitable threat of cyberattacks. Speakers shared expertise in three core areas:

  • the Cyber Threat Landscape
  • ransomware and insurer solvency; and
  • eminent challenges for cyber risk insurance.

Who’s Financing Legal System Abuse? Louisianans Need to Know

Legal system abuse in Louisiana costs every one of its citizens more than $1,100 annually, according to the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA). The state’s litigation environment was also cited by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) when reporting how Louisiana is the least affordable U.S. state for both auto and homeowners insurance. And then there’s shadowed Third-Party Litigation Financing (TPLF) continuing to sneak its way into this costly conundrum, with virtually no one understanding who’s behind it and what ulterior motives they may have.

Louisiana’s state lawmakers passed a measure (Senate Bill 196) last year aimed at reducing legal system abuse and litigation costs, but the measure was vetoed by former Governor John Bel Edwards.  The Litigation Financing Disclosure and Security Protection Act would have required plaintiffs to disclose whether their legal fees were being financed by a third-party with no obvious stake in the civil court case’s outcome, other than financial gain, or even worse foreign manipulation of America’s legal system.

Third-party litigation financing (TPLF), a multi-billion-dollar asset class which provides the financial resources for plaintiffs to file lawsuits, is growing exponentially because the U.S. legal system has increasingly become a place to secure huge paydays. Much like other shadowed banking tactics, financiers prefer to stay anonymous to avert regulatory scrutiny. However, beyond the financial gains, evidence is pointing toward foreign, even tax-free sovereign investments footing the bills.

Louisiana’s own U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is keenly aware of the potentially problematic foreign investment issues of TPLF, introducing federal legislation weeks before his recent election and being handed the leadership gavel. If passed into law, The Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act would stop foreign entities and governments from financing litigation in U.S. courts and shine a light on a shadowy part of this nation’s legal system. Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate and co-authored by another Louisianan, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA).

Much as Louisiana’s federal elected officials are working to address issues involving legal system abuse, such as TPLF, the State of Louisiana will benefit more directly by focusing on what’s happening in its own back yard. There is a simple formula to what combining increased climate risk with legal system abuse does – it creates a crisis in terms of affordability and availability of insurance.

The price of insurance is the effect of increased risk, not the cause. Louisiana’s high legal costs are driving up prices on virtually all goods and services for its citizens. Taking important steps toward litigation (and litigation financing) reform should be a top consideration in 2024.

A condensed version of this op-ed was published as a letter to the editor by Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan in February 2024 in The Baton Rouge Advocate and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Insurers Donated
Over $1 Billion in 2022
for Good Works

KiDS NEED MoRE, a nonprofit dedicated to children and families coping with life-threatening illnesses and traumatic interruptions of normal childhood, is just one of the worthy organizations IICF supports.

By Loretta Worters, Vice President – Media Relations, Triple-I

The insurance industry contributed more than $1 billion to charitable endeavors in 2022, according to an independent review by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF).

Alongside the industry’s charitable giving, the IICF Philanthropic Giving Index revealed other community contributions in 2022, demonstrating the industry’s dedication to giving and volunteerism:

  • 137,300 nonprofit partners and causes received support
  • 7.5 million volunteer hours were served
  • 94,000 insurance professionals volunteered

These numbers were announced on November 15, National Philanthropy Day, which is celebrated by fundraising professionals, government leaders, foundations, businesses, individual donors and others who wish to honor all the contributions philanthropy has made. 

“Philanthropy Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of giving and all that the insurance industry has accomplished,” said IICF Vice President and Chief Program Officer Elizabeth (Betsy) Myatt. With research support from Triple-I, IICF reviewed data from 120 companies, representative of all sectors of the insurance industry, for this snapshot of industrywide charitable giving and supporting data.

“These collective philanthropic findings provide the industry with a remarkable numeral representation of the generous charitable giving and support by our many insurance businesses,” said Myatt, who is also the Executive Director of the Northeast Division of IICF.

IICF is a nonprofit that unites the shared strengths of the insurance industry to help communities and enrich lives through grants, volunteer service, and leadership. Established in 1994, it has served as the philanthropic voice and foundation of the industry for close to 30 years, contributing $47 million in community grants along with over 337,000 volunteer hours by more than 115,000 industry professionals. IICF reinvests locally where funds are raised, serving hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations for maximum community impact. 

Among the many charities IICF awards grants to are:

  •  KiDS NEED MoRE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and  families coping with life-threatening illnesses and traumatic interruptions of the normal childhood experience;
  • 180 Turn Lives Around, which provides programs and services for victims of domestic and sexual violence;
  • Boston Scores, helping to break barriers to advance racial and gender equality;
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness, whose mission is to help families and individuals affected by mental illness build better lives through education, support and advocacy.