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Risk management became more complicated in 2016

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From Britain’s vote to exit the European Union to the U.S. presidential election, global developments rocked the risk management and insurance sectors in 2016.

Some of the year’s top risk management stories were:

Donald Trump’s election. President-elect Trump’s surprise victory in November, along with a Republican-controlled Congress, has created widespread uncertainty as to impacts on federal regulation and legislation.

The softening property/casualty market. The property/casualty market continued to soften, with Kroll Bond Rating Agency forecasting last month that the industry will only break even in 2016 with a 100% combined ratio. 

M&A activity. The property/casualty insurance industry underwent several major mergers and acquisitions, beginning with the Ace Ltd./Chubb Corp. deal and finishing with the Liberty Mutual Insurance Co./Ironshore Inc. and Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd./Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings A.G. deals.

Brexit. Insurers in the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States face what appears to be an extended period of uncertainty after the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in June.

Cyber hacking. Cyber hacking continued to plague businesses, with ransomware gaining more prominence as a recent popular tool among the array used by criminal hackers, as businesses, law enforcement and regulators continued to try to keep one step ahead of the bad guys.

Catastrophe losses. Global natural disasters racked up $30 billion in insured losses for the first half of the year alone, while domestically, there were severe storms and flooding, with Texas hit multiple times.

Terrorism attacks. The number of terrorism attacks continued to grow, both internationally and nationally, most recently with the Berlin Christmas market incident, which was preceded by attacks internationally in Brussels and Nice, France, and nationally in Orlando, Florida, and San Bernadino, California. 

The stalled DOL overtime rule. The U.S. Department of Labor’s planned overtime rule, which would have doubled the threshold below which workers can receive overtime, may have endured a lethal blow when a Texas judge issued a temporary injunction halting its planned Dec. 1 implementation, followed by the election of Donald Trump, whose administration is expected to oppose the rule.

U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. Justice Antonin Scalia’s February death left the high court one man short and led to some 4-4 rulings, but that vacancy is expected to be filled with a pro-business judge nominated by President-elect Trump.

Transgender rights. North Carolina’s controversial bathroom laws have promoted litigation and spurred federal agencies to speak out about transgender rights, while putting public entities and most employers at risk of violating the state and federal laws.