BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Analysis shows ‘social inflation’ hitting insurers, policyholders


SAN DIEGO – Increased court awards and settlements are hitting insurers’ loss costs and may force risk managers to buy higher limits, according to an executive at insurance data company Zywave Inc.

Insurers have cited so-called social inflation – increased liability costs above traditional inflation – as a significant cause of increased losses for the past five years, and recent data analysis shows that liability losses are rising, said Kimberly Reilly, Cranford, New Jersey-based principal account executive at Zywave.

She was speaking Monday during a session at Riskworld, the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual conference.

To ascertain the level of increased liability exposures, Zywave examined economic loss data from 237,000 records that amounted to $770 billion in total losses, she said.

The median cost of a single injury has increased (see graph). “It was bouncing around at about $1.5 million but is now almost $2 million in medical costs,” Ms. Reilly said.

She said losses that include the largest medical costs are often multiples of the median. For example, losses in the 75th percentile increased from between $2 million and $3 million in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic to more than $7 million in 2023. And losses in the 90th percentile increased from between $5 million and $10 million to more than $20 million over the same period.

Similar increases show in losses that involve a fatality, she said.

“For our risk manager clients, the point is are you protecting your organizations for the future and how do you think about limit adequacy,” Ms. Reilly said.