Half Closes With Busy June
global catastrophes in the first half of the year have already made 2011 the costliest year on record
with respect to economic losses. According to a recent webinar held by Munich
Re, a total of 355 events occurred in the
first six months of 2011, causing economic losses of around $265 billion. In the
U.S. alone, there were 100 events causing
more than $18 billion in insured losses.
“It has been a momentous year so far—
one for the record books,” said Robert P.
Hartwig, Insurance Information Institute
(I.I.I.) president, who spoke at the Mu-
nich Re webinar, “2011 Half-Year Nation-
al Catastrophe Review.”
Hartwig noted that three events of the
past six months have been added to the list
of the 16 costliest insured world disasters.
He also said that this year thus far has been
unusual in that numerous major disasters
fell outside of U.S. soil, explaining a “sense
of rewriting the economics of the history of
disaster in the U.S. and on the global scale.”
While not as brutal as March, April
and May, June saw plenty of losses as
well. In the first 10 days of June alone,
U.S. insurers received more than 45,000
claims from severe weather outbreaks,
paying out approximately $250 million
to insureds, according to Aon Benfield’s
“Monthly Catastrophe Recap Report.”
Those numbers do not include losses
from several wildfires that hit Arizona,
New Mexico, Texas and Florida, destroy-
ing close to 300 structures and burning
hundreds of thousands of acres. Two
people died in those fires.
Between June 16 and 23, storm systems
hitting the central U.S. caused damage in the
Chicago area and Churchill Downs racetrack
in Kentucky. Fires in the Southwest at the
end of the month resulted in $500 million in
economic damage to timber to be used for
lumber, plywood and paper products.
Steve Bowen, senior meteorologist at
Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting team,
says June’s severe weather added to the
“$15.5 billion already seen during the
5 Largest Natural
Ranked by Insured Losses
Japan Earthquake, tsunami March 11
USA Severe storm/
Dec 2010/Jan 2011
Source: Munich Re, I.I.I.
January to May 2011 period.”
“June was [actually] a reprieve from
what we’ve seen this year thus far,” he
added. “As we head closer toward the
peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, the
focus will continue to be on the potential
for a land-falling U.S. hurricane.” —By
Christina Bramlet and Mark Ruquet,
SPEAKING OF TRAININg AND MOTIvATINg
Education is crucial for employees in any field, especially in the
insurance industry. As millions of Millennials enter the workforce,
it is essential that new hires be trained properly and that company
veterans are able to continue their claims education to keep up with
regulatory and other changes.
One woman with a great deal of experience in the training arena is
Suzette Grist, the recently promoted director of claims of Rankin Claims
Services. Claims Assistant Editor Catherine Couretas spoke with Grist
about lessons learned over the years and how she has cultivated effective training methods to benefit those with whom she has worked.
in mind that we have a duty to people when
they need it most.
What do training methods look like
today in claims?
In today’s environment, the webinar has replaced face-to-face training. This is a more
cost-effective option, but I question whether
the participants fully understand the material being relayed. There can be technical
delays, and some professionals may feel less
engaged than when learning in a classroom
setting, where there is much more feedback involved and perhaps a
greater chance that information will be retained. Being able to ask
questions and discuss how to employ new strategies is very useful,
although webinars are still essential for claims professionals.
With Suzette Grist, Director of
Claims at Rankin Claims Services
G Grist said her favorite
part of working in claims is
discovering the “crazy and
bizarre” coverage that not
many people know exists.
Why is employee training so essential?
I find training to be the essence of what we do. No matter how long
you have been working in insurance, things are always changing. I
do not encounter many young property adjusters coming up through
the ranks that have been trained the way I was being trained in my
early years. They are more focused on the fast track these days.
The environment has changed so much that we have almost forgotten why we are here, which is to be of service. We must keep
How do you address feedback from clients?
Every company is going to get positive and negative feedback, but