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Beware the disruptors, CEO Sampson tells PCI annual meeting

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HOLLYWOOD, Florida — Technological change is one of the major disruptors facing the property/casualty insurance industry, according to David Sampson, president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

In his opening remarks at PCI's annual meeting here, Mr. Sampson said that the PCI member company executives who chose the conference's theme — “Designing the Future: Leadership, Innovation and Change” — months before the event were “prescient indeed.” The insurance industry faces a “time of tremendous disruption,” said Mr. Sampson.

Regarding the effect of technological change as an industry disruptor, Mr. Sampson cited such high-profile data breaches as that at the Office of Management and Budget, in which the personal information of millions of people was compromised.

“We expect a whole new body of policy and case law” to emerge regarding cyber exposures, he said.

And the cyber world is not the only example of technological disruption faced by insurers. Drones and self-driving vehicles also present new challenges, he said.

Societal changes also mean disruption for insurers, said Mr. Sampson. The sharing economy, exemplified by such companies as Uber Technologies Inc., raises “new and inherent risks” for underwriters. The growth of the acceptance of medical and recreational marijuana leads insurers to be “rightly concerned” about the drug's impact on workplace safety, driving and liability, he said.

Yet another disruptor cited by Mr. Sampson is the move toward global regulatory convergence. He said that U.S. insurers could become subject to bank-centric regulatory proposals “often hatched” in secrecy by international regulators.