This has been a crazy week for weather. Something that meteorologists are insisting on calling a “Bomb Cyclone” has caused temperatures, snow and everyone’s will to live to fall across the entire eastern seaboard. The result has been snow falling in the Carolinas (really?), blizzard-like conditions in New England, and general misery from Maine to Florida.
This has been particularly bad in the Washington, D.C. Metro area, where the Insurance Tech Insider is based. No, we haven’t actually gotten a lot of snow – that storm seems have passed east of us. However, the people here heard the word “snow” and immediately panicked – as they’re prone to do.
The last time we sent an intern to the market for a sixer, they returned empty-handed. Apparently, all of the dairy products, produce, meat, toilet paper and (understandably) alcohol had been wiped from the shelves in a fit of self-preservation-fueled doomsday preparation.
Ultimately, we received about an inch of snow. If the people responsible for the supermarket shakedown weren’t half in the bag right now, they’d probably feel pretty silly.
Regardless, this entire situation has been incredible validation of two things this reporter believes to be universally true:
1) People south of the Mason Dixon line absolutely LOSE THEIR MINDS as soon as a few flakes fall from the sky.
2) Weather people will look for any excuse to attach a ridiculous and threatening name to the smallest and most insignificant of weather phenomenon.
In my humble opinion, that second one needs to change. I mean, “Bomb Cyclone?” That’s not a thing. That’s never been a thing. It’s just the half-baked combination of two unrelated terms into a phrase designed to illicit fear and panic from the masses and force them to keep their eyes glued to weather.com.
Seriously, you can do this at home. Think of a term that is violent or deadly sounding. Got it? Good. Now, add a weather term to it (preferably a storm or natural disaster). Think of one? Solid. Now, put them together.
What did you come up with? Mine was, “Weasel Volcano.” Sound ridiculous? Well, so does “Bomb Cyclone.”
Here is some insurance news that is weatherman approved!
California says wildfires are making home insurance unaffordable
It’s no secret that California has been absolutely ravaged by wildfires this past year. It’s an unfortunate trend that we’re seeing in later summer and fall each year, as global climate change makes that part of our country warmer, drier and – unfortunately – more flammable.
Aside from the destruction of property and the loss of life that these wildfires can cause, they’re having another negative impact on the nation’s most populous state – they’re driving up the cost of home insurance.
Insurers analyze risk to determine how best to price their policies. If they do it incorrectly and charge too little, they could find themselves paying out far more every year than they’re bringing in – a surefire way to go out of business. Unfortunately, as the risk of wildfires increases, the cost of homeowners’ policies in the state has to keep pace.
The increased risk of fire, and resulting increase in home insurance costs, are even driving some experts to recommend reevaluating building and selling homes in wildfire prone areas.
One of these experts was Alice Hill, a senior adviser on climate resilience to President Barack Obama and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, who told Bloomberg, “”When we see insurers pulling back from markets, it’s because the risk is increasing. If those risks are getting too high, it’s a strong signal that we need to change our ways.”
But moving people out of these areas is becoming more problematic each year – because those areas are growing. “We used to have in this country a wildfire season, and now we have wildfire risk in multiple states all year long,” Julie Rochman, the President of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, told Bloomberg.
And wildfires are just a part of the problem…
Natural Catastrophe Claims in 2017 Reached a Record $135B: Munich Re
Munich Re, a reinsurance company based in Munich, Germany (that makes a lot of sense), has placed the total economic impact from the laundry list of natural disasters in 2017 at $330 billion. The company claims that is, “almost double the 10-year, inflation-adjusted average of US$170 billion.”
Much of this damage was a result of the terrible hurricane season that the U.S. experienced in 2017, with hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria pummeling much of Texas and Florida, and practically leveling Puerto Rico.
Overall, it was a bad year to be an insurance company. Or a reinsurance company, for that matter.
Telematics CEO: 5 trends to watch in 2018 in auto insurance
Frequent readers of the Insurance Tech Insider know my love and appreciation for articles that provide predictions for the coming year. They’re fluffy creatures that are only witnessed in nature between the months of December and February. They’re also almost always wrong…but hey…who cares…nobody is going to go back and check them at the end of the year.
That being said, I’ve actually seen a few of these that have been pretty good. The most recent of them was penned by Ted Gramer, the CEO of TrueMotion, a mobile telematics company based in Boston.
In his predictions, Ted claims that 2018 will be the year of the insurance customer, as bad marketing, customer service and claims experiences will no longer be tolerated. He also predicts that 2018 will be the year that car insurers go “all in” for telematics. The man runs a telematics company, so I’m not shocked by this prediction, but I also agree with it.
Click the headline above to read the rest of Ted’s five trends for auto insurance in 2018.