Our VP, TJ Scherer, was recently quoted in an article from Captive.com spotlighting how captive domiciles count captives differently, which can influence how people and organizations view successful domiciles. Check out the full article here.

During the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA)‘s Annual Conference this year, Global Captive Podcast was on the scene interviewing captive leaders. Check out our VP, TJ Scherer’s interview 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.

As Captive International and Spring share the same birthday (March 24th), here is a collaborative Q&A with our leadership team. Some of the topics discussed include the progression of the captive industry, market challenges and future opportunities.

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).

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.

At the end of 2022, Vermont became the largest captive domicile globally with 639 active captive insurance companies. So, it was only fitting that the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) had one of the biggest turnouts this year at their annual conference, which brings together insurers and reinsurers, captive owners and risk managers, regulators and other industry professionals to network and discuss current trends in the industry. This year the Spring team and I had the pleasure of once again exhibiting and speaking at the conference in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. Below are some of the topics that took the spotlight.

1) Managing economic fluctuation

From groceries to rent it seems like nobody can avoid inflation, which is no different in the captive insurance and risk management sectors. Due to increased claims, stricter underwriting and high healthcare costs, many employers are looking into alternative risk financing options to stretch the dollar. Below are some of the sessions from VCIA I found most pertinent when addressing the economic landscape.

– In a session titled “The Economic Landscape & Your Captive’s Investment Portfolio,” speakers reviewed how interest rates, inflation, and other economic indicators have changed the captive industry post-COVID.

– The session “Impact of Inflation on Your Captive” reviewed how rising inflation and supply chain interruptions are impacting the captive industry, and what we can expect moving forward.

2) Pitching captive insurance

Although captive insurance can increase savings, reduce risk, and lead to investment opportunities, C-suite and other stakeholders may be hesitant due to resources and risk. No matter how efficiently a captive program is designed, it can’t be maximized without buy-in from all parties. Here are some presentations I found most insightful on boosting communication.

3) A look forward

In just the past half decade we’ve seen drastic developments globally including devastating climate events, a widespread pandemic and war spreading overseas. These events remind us that there are always factors beyond our control that can complicate established best practices, but VCIA speakers gave their views on what’s to come.

a) Prepping the next gen

As an annual attendee at VCIA it was great to see the sheer number of new faces and developing talent at the conference. This year VCIA made sure to include an array of introductory level sessions designed to solidify foundational captive knowledge for those entering the industry. Some of the sessions I found most intriguing include:

– A two-part session titled “(The) Newcomer’s Guide to the Captive Industry” brought emerging leaders together to express their unique experiences in the captive space and tips for others entering into captives for the first time.

– In an interactive discussion group on “Building Talent in the Captive Industry,” industry leaders discussed major workplace challenges and tactics for building a strong talent base that will one day drive the future of the industry.
b) The future of captive insurance

Although often thought of as a traditional sector, we continue to see innovative approaches to risk financing across employee benefits and P&C. Here are forward-looking presentations I found interesting.

– A captive owner and business professional explored recent innovations and solutions in the ‘captive insurance laboratory’ during their session, “Where Will Captives Go Next? The Latest Uses for Captives.”

– One group of speakers took an interesting approach and spoke on “Leveraging New Tech and Data Visualization Tools for Captives.” They reviewed how various stakeholders can utilize tech to bolster actuarial analyses and efficient decision-making.

As a regular VCIA attendee, I found this conference to be the most fun to date. Aside from all the happy hours, free giveaways and tasty meals, I had a great time reconnecting with industry leaders and deepening my knowledge of captives. On behalf of Spring, my colleagues and I enjoyed the opportunity to exhibit and look forward to next year’s conference. Lastly, I had the pleasure of being accompanied by a captive owner and stop loss carrier to present on risk management strategies that are impacting employer-sponsored health plans and the rising costs associated.

This year during the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA)’s 2023 Annual Conference, our Managing Partner, Karin Landry shared her insights on top risk financing communication strategies for CFOs and other executives. Check out Business Insurance’s recap here.