By Ridge Muhly and Craig Beardsley, Gen Re and Jon Bergner, NAMIC
Since the term social inflation first emerged in the 1970s, it has grown and expanded into a catch-all of sorts to describe a host of deleterious cost-drivers that involve litigation and that chip away at insurers’ books of business, increase their operating costs, and eventually metastasize in the form of higher premiums for policyholders. Unusually large or so-called nuclear verdicts catch our attention, but the underlying causes are broader and deeper.
By Andrew Gifford, Gen Re, and Andrew Pauley, NAMIC
In the U.S., the Property and Casualty insurance marketplace, along with the rest of the insurance industry, faces a wide range of issues arising out of the COVID‑19 global pandemic. Meanwhile, social inflation continues to present significant long-term challenges to those Property and Casualty insurers.
By Christopher Mackeprang, Gen Re, and Tom Karol, NAMIC
As social inflation has been more widely examined in recent years, it has grown to encompass almost any unfavorable aspect of modern Casualty insurance. However, while many Casualty lines are under strain, there are also some Casualty lines that are performing well despite purportedly being susceptible to many of the same social inflationary forces. Segmenting Casualty lines into those performing well and those under strain, and considering what the well-performing lines have in common that is not shared by the lines under strain, can help further define which aspects of social inflation are most impactful. This information is crucial to formulating an effective response against these damaging influences.
By Glenn Frankel and Tim Fletcher Gen Re, and Andrew Pauley, NAMIC
Social inflation is seemingly being discussed everywhere, from news articles to conferences to quarterly earnings calls. And those working in claims are likely dealing with it in some capacity on a daily basis. But what can be done to combat it?
As society continues its halting emergence from the COVID‑19 pandemic, court activity has resumed. With that activity has come a return to the eyebrow-raising verdicts seen pre‑pandemic.
Fueling those verdicts are the trends discussed previously in this blog series – changing juror demographics and attitudes, a plaintiffs’ bar eager to feed juror concerns over personal safety and perceived disenfranchisement, as well as litigation funders seeking to maximize returns in the current low-interest environment.
"Gen Re and many insurers have observed a rising trend in insurance payouts and claim costs, along with the likely drivers. Tackling social inflation is crucial if insurers hope to get an adequate rate for the liabilities they assume."
"The progression of social inflation has been slow and almost imperceptible, making it harder to identify and address. While some insurers have not observed an upward severity trend in their books of business, chances are that social inflation is quietly making inroads right now."
"Insurers must draw lessons from their own loss experience and from their reinsurers, who have a broader, national view of the market. Even with insurers and reinsurers sharing perspectives, pricing for social inflation is incredibly challenging."
“We’ve seen social inflation before. However, it feels different this time – the outsized verdicts and large settlements we’re seeing suggest our assumptions as to how juries view liability, damages and personal responsibility are no longer valid. Our challenge is to figure out what’s changed and what we can do about it.”