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Emerging technologies in risk management. Unforeseen and extreme risks are calling for a recalibration of how firms premeditate, assess, manage, and ultimately prevent risk. (Photo: jamesteohart/Shutterstock)

In the property and casualty (P&C) sector, so much can change in a day — let alone in a year dominated by a worldwide pandemic. Designed to offer risk protection and mitigation to customers, the industry is naturally prone to catastrophic events and the social, economic and geopolitical ripple effects they may cause.

Pandemic aside, premium volume declines related to wildfires engulfing the Western United States are at their highest. Scientists are claiming the region’s recent fires are the worst in 18 years. Losses from third-quarter California wildfires and Hurricanes Laura and Sally combined are now estimated at over $20 billion, according to Fitch Ratings. The lingering impact of COVID-19, however, has introduced a new level of uncertainty for underwriting performance that is expected to continue throughout 2021.

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