Our Senior Consulting Actuary, Nicholas Frongillo has been recognized by Captive Review among other upcoming talent to watch in the captive insurance space. Check out their full article here.

As societal norms and workplace attitudes continue to shift, the property and casualty (P&C) insurance space has been significantly impacted by a phenomenon known as social inflation. This trend has presented challenges for insurers, actuaries, and risk managers alike, leading to increased costs and complexities in compliance and managing risks. In this article, we delve into the concept of social inflation, explore current trends, and discuss strategies that employers can employ to address its effects effectively.

Background

For the purpose of this article, social inflation refers to the rising insurance claim costs above economic inflation due to societal and legal trends that increase the dollar amount of claims settlements and judgments. It encompasses various factors, including evolving attitudes toward litigation, changing legal interpretations, and increasing jury awards. For instance, more employees are seeking legal counsel to resolve workplace-related issues and asking for higher settlements than in the past. Several underlying elements that contribute to social inflation include:

  1. Litigious Culture: Society’s growing propensity to turn to litigation as a means of workplace conflict resolution has fueled an increase in the frequency and severity of insurance claims.
    • This phenomenon is playing out across multiple lines of coverage including Workers’ Comp, Employment practices liability insurance (e.g., employee misconduct, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, etc.) professional/general liability, and auto (both individual and commercial). It is important to note as litigiousness varies by state/region so does the impact of social inflation on insurance cost between two different locations.
  2. Judicial Trends: Courts’ and jury’s decisions and interpretations of laws, particularly regarding liability and compensation, have become more favorable towards claimants, resulting in larger settlements and verdicts.
  3. Economic Factors: Economic downturns or uncertainties may prompt individuals to pursue legal avenues for financial security, adding to the volume of claims and the pressure on insurers to settle.
  4. Media and Advocacy Influence: Public perception and media coverage of high-profile cases can shape attitudes towards compensation and influence jury decisions, potentially leading to inflated awards.
  5. Litigation Funding: Third-party investors may provide litigation finance to plaintiffs, driving up pressure to prolong lawsuits and possibly resulting in higher awards and increased legal expenses.

The combination of these factors has created a challenging environment for insurers and businesses, leading to increased premiums and retained losses for the insured and reduced profitability, and greater uncertainty in estimating future liabilities for the insurance carriers.

Social Inflation’s Impact on the Market

Here are some ways social inflation has been impacting P&C markets:

These circumstances underscore the need for proactive risk management strategies to mitigate the impact of social inflation on businesses and insurers alike.

Addressing Social Inflation: Strategies for Employers

In today’s dynamic business environment, where the landscape of P&C insurance is continually evolving, addressing social inflation has become a paramount concern for employers. Failing to acknowledge and mitigate the impacts of social inflation can lead to significant financial ramifications and operational disruptions for businesses of all sizes and industries.

Social inflation poses significant challenges for insurance providers, businesses, and risk management teams. This requires a proactive and multifaceted approach to risk management, risk assessment, and corporate risk profile to adapt as the forces behind social inflation are constantly shifting. By understanding the underlying drivers of social inflation, monitoring industry trends, and implementing effective risk mitigation strategies, employers can better navigate this landscape and safeguard their financial stability in the face of uncertain liabilities.

Title:

Senior Consulting Actuary

Joined Spring:

I joined Spring in May 2014, shortly after graduating from Northeastern.

Hometown:

Central MA

At Work Responsibilities:

My actuarial focus is mainly health and medical stop-loss.

Outside of Work Hobbies/Interests:

Sports

Fun Fact:

I’ve been known to card count.

Describe Spring in 3 Words:

Never a dull Moment!

Favorite Movie/TV Show:

Inception/Seinfeld

Favorite Food:

Cheese

Favorite Place Visited:

Italy

Favorite Band/Musician:

Changes by the day!

If You Were a Superhero, Who Would You Be?

Batman.

Name One Thing On Your Bucket List:

Retire

What is One of Your Proudest Moments?:

I don’t know that I have any singular big ones, but I am proud every time we get positive client feedback

If You Win the Lottery, What is the First Thing You Would Do?

Invest!

What are You Passionate About?

Financial Literacy

As Seen in Captive International’s Cayman Focus 2024


Total cost of risk (TCOR) is a buzzword in the insurance space, but it is a metric that carries significant operational weight, and can mean different things depending upon the organisation. There is no tried and true approach to TCOR, but we have gleaned valuable insights after consulting on the topic across a range of companies and risk profiles.

Leveraging those insights, we are sharing here a foundation for framing TCOR at your organisation, keeping in mind common dos and don’ts we have come across.

What is TCoR?

It’s important to start at the beginning. While there are various definitions out there, the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) states that TCOR is the sum of all aspects of an organisation’s operations that relate to risk, both the cost of managing risks and the cost of losses incurred. These costs typically fall into the following categories:

  1. Retained (uninsured) losses and related loss adjustment expenses
  2. Risk control costs
  3. Transfer costs
  4. Administrative costs

More sophisticated risk management programmes may have internal risk control costs, whereas for other organisations these may be embedded into what is paid to a carrier with the goal of controlling loss.

Commercial insurance premiums are a prime example of a TCOR driver, representing what you are paying to transfer certain costs to the commercial or reinsurance market. Even for organisations with a captive, which is known to save organisations money in the long term, a risk transfer premium is still happening from the parent company to the captive.

Further, whether or not a captive programme is in place, most companies, especially those on the larger side, still retain a portion of their risk on their corporate balance sheet (eg, cyber deductible).

Building your TCoR

What constitutes TCOR varies across industries and company but regardless it can be backed by sophisticated risk management models as well as simpler calculations.

From a broad perspective, commonly overlooked considerations when it comes to tracking TCOR include:

Perhaps most important is the need for year-over-year consistency regarding what is included in TCOR and what is excluded.

Who uses TCOR?

TCOR is meaningful to different stakeholders depending on the company, but these key audiences have important use cases for TCOR as follows:

Trends and best practices

TCOR should not be touted simply because it sounds good. It needs to be grounded in analytics, formal reviews, and comprehensive reporting that outlines how TCOR is arrived at and what it means for your organisation. For large companies, TCOR may be factored into bidding, procurement, and contract processes. For smaller companies, there may not be enough critical mass to validate a self-funded approach, which means you’re more susceptible to market conditions and capacity.

From an organisational standpoint, TCOR plays a significant role in (i) accountability and compliance; (ii) making sure all assets, certificates of insurance, and contracts are listed; (iii) employees are accounted for; and (iv) there are no gaps in coverage that could change TCOR unexpectedly at the end of the year.

A vital step in TCOR evaluation and a captive feasibility study is considering overarching goals. If your company is looking to stay at cost, then moving to a captive may not always be the best play and you may be better off in the commercial market. This is why, as part of a TCOR analysis that is embedded within a feasibility study process as a means to reduce risk, alternative retentions in the market should be evaluated and the different scenarios to determine whether or not a captive makes the most sense outlined.

Other pieces of TCOR wisdom we have gathered over the years include:

Conclusions

TCOR is complicated, but it is important to take a wide view of all the pieces of the puzzle, and then find the correlations and mitigation strategies available through the buying process. Captives need to understand how to budget for TCOR, how to build it at your organisation, and then how to interpret it year over year.

Strong TCOR practices can lead to improved risk management, smoother claims processes, and overall lower costs, especially for growing companies. A thoughtful TCOR approach serves to unify all your insurance stakeholders, from risk managers to CFOs, in understanding insurance spend and ultimately the total cost of risk.

Captive International has released the winners for the 2023 US Awards. Spring is proud to announce that our Managing Partner, Karin Landry won the Best Feasibility Study Individual. We were also highly commended for Best Actuarial Firm, Top Feasibility Study Firm, and Top Captive Consulting Firm. Our team was also highly commended for the following: Best Individual Captive Consultant (Karin Landry & Prabal Lakhanpal), Best Individual Feasibility Study (Prabal Lakhanpal) and Best Actuary (Peter Johnson & Nick Frongillo).

Spring has been recognized as one of the Top Employee Benefits Consulting firms in Massachusetts by Mployer Advisors, who focus on connecting employers with top-rated insurance advisors. We’d also like to congratulate our colleagues at Boston Benefit Partners, An Alera Group Company, for making the list as well! You can find the full update here.

Our Senior Vice President, Prabal Lakhanpal was featured in a Global Captive Podcast episode, during which they discussed Spring’s client, The Haskell Company. Haskell is a privately-owned engineering, construction and architectural firm that was able to reduce insurance costs, optimize coverage, and introduce new lines of risk by switching to a captive. Check out the full episode here.

I had the pleasure of leading a panel last month at the 2023 VCIA Annual Conference entitled, “Tips for Communicating the Value of Your Captive,” and it was a lively discussion with great takeaways I wanted to share.

Background

Today’s economy is tough, and the insurance markets have hardened. As a result, organizations are in reactive mode, looking for combative strategies to mitigate bottom-line issues. A captive insurance program has long been a risk management tool that allows organizations to weather proverbial storms like these. For those organizations with a captive, risk managers might have to defend against a piggyback mentality from leadership or other stakeholders, because the current environment creates temptation to treat a captive like an ATM regarding surplus. In addition, goals and purpose surrounding a captive are likely to change over the years. As such, it’s important to be able to illustrate captive performance in tangible ways that will resonate with audiences outside the core captive team.

Captives as Problem Solvers

There is a time and place to leverage capital surplus from a captive, but a great strategy is to use that by pouring additional coverage and innovation back into your insurance programs. To do so, we recommend securing reliable relationships with your broker and actuary to understand your captive’s risk appetite, what problems could be solved via a captive, industry statistics and trends, and whether the risk is worth the reward for a particular initiative. TPA or data analytics partners are also critical to assess exposures and determine potential loss prevention measures. Lastly, your captive manager should serve as a valued second opinion and will help evaluate the ramifications of exposing equity in the captive to new potential losses.

The ultimate goal here should be to reduce the total cost of risk (TCOR).

To bring concepts to life, one of Spring’s clients used captive surplus to hire a return-to-work coordinator, which in turn improved overall disability and productivity goals. Another client worked to obtain sexual abuse & molestation coverage that was difficult to procure. A private equity firm was able to retain ransomware coverage after a significant claim hit and utilized the captive to buy down the retention for individual entities, mitigating premium increases.

Metrics to Consider

Every captive has different experience, objectives, and risks represented, so it is hard to pinpoint benchmarks that will hold true across every program. That said, there are some factors and calculations that should be top-of-mind regarding captive performance.

Qualitative

While numbers and hard ROI are often the priority, “soft” indicators, such as those listed below, should not be discounted.

Quantitative

For the numbers crowd like our actuaries, below is a non-exhaustive list of metrics to consider when working to gauge your captive’s success.

Given the difficult markets we are facing as an industry, we are stressing to our risk manager clients the criticality of captive optimization, but also the need to truly have a pulse on your captive’s performance and be able to illustrate it to a wider range of stakeholders who may be under financial pressure. If you could use assistance in developing customized key performance indicators (KPIs) for your captive program, or in diving into these qualitative and quantitative measures at an organization level, Spring’s consultants and actuaries are ready to help.

In Captive Intelligence’s latest Global Captive Podcast episode (#91), our Vice President, TJ Scherer shares details about his new role at Spring and reviews his experience in the captive and P&C arena.