In such an eventful year, with dozens of compelling stories as strong contenders, determining the Top 10 of 2011 was no easy task. But, after a lot of labor—and internal debate—we feel the final list we’ve put together successfully captures the essential news of the past 12 months.
#10 Workers’ Comp Injury Claims on the Rise for First Time Since 1997
Times are tough for the American worker, whether at the office or on the assembly line—and conditions are at least equally challenged for those underwriters that offer workers’ compensation insurance to the country’s employers.
Mobile apps from indie agents. Real-time processing—not only of personal-lines business, but also of midsize commercial accounts. Social media as a marketing essential. Cloud computing. The past 12 months saw a number of game-changing tech trends that are rapidly altering how agents and brokers do business.
#8 ERM, SRM Gaining Ground with Risk Managers; Reinsurers Leading the Way
Enterpriserisk management continued to move more toward the mainstream in Corporate America this year, with its implementation being driven by anxious boards and by CEOs more acutely aware than ever of the need to understand and mitigate existential threats.
#7 Bold-Faced Buyers Battle to Acquire Transatlantic
Ending a five-month, multiparty bidding war—with Warren Buffett as one of the belligerents—investment holding company Alleghany Corp. recently reached a deal whereby reinsurer Transatlantic would become its independent subsidiary in a $3.4 billion deal.
#6 Cyber Liability Emerges as Key Coverage for Digital Age
While the words “sexy” and “insurance” seldom appear in the same sentence, cyber liability changed that in 2011.
#5 In D.C., a Busy 2011 Saw Number of Major Moves That Will Shape P&C Future
Politicians, bureaucrats and industry associations kept our D.C. bureau chief, Arthur D. Postal, plenty busy in 2011. Here are his encapsulated reports on the quartet of congressional stories that mattered most this past year—and which will continue to be newsmakers in 2012.
#4 AIG: Industry Giant Generates Host of Headlines in Roller-Coaster Year
While dozens of insurance companies made big news in 2011, none could come close to matching the sheer quantity of headlines grabbed by AIG—the recipient of an $182 billion government bailout and an industry giant whose Chartis division is one of the key P&C players.
#3 RMS Cat Model Revision Ignites a Windstorm
One of the biggest gusts of change that blew through the industry in 2011: The revisions that catastrophe-modeler Risk Management Solutions made to its U.S. Hurricane Model.
#2 The P&C Pricing Picture: Rates Edge Up in Year of Staggered, Unsteady Transition
Two steps forward, one step back: For every couple of events that augured a definitive swing to a hard market this year—a major catastrophe here, increasing combined ratios there—some other factor contributed to helping keep prices soft, whether it was fear over the eurozone debt crisis or underwriters willing to heavily discount new business.
#1 A Disastrous 2011 Sees Epic Losses Across the Globe
If one could use only a single word to sum up 2011, “catastrophes” best captures what this year was all about.