Claims Legend Award
By Patricia L. Harman, Claims magazine
Insurance attorney Barry Zalma, was honored with the Claims mag- azine Legend Award at the recent America’s Claims Event (ACE)
conference in Minneapolis, Minn.
A former army intelligence agent, Zal-
ma worked as an insurance adjuster for
several years after serving his country,
Zalma, who practiced law for
decades, is the author of numer-
ous books, articles, blogs, white
papers and education courses
on a myriad of topics impact-
ing insurance practitioners. He
also serves on the editorial advi-
sory committee for Claims.
“Being recognized by my peers
for contributions to the insurance
industry is very gratifying, to say
the least,” said Zalma in his acceptance speech.
“For 48 years I have been actively in-
volved with the insurance community as
an insurance adjuster and then aas an in-
surance coverage and defense lawyer,” he
explained. “In that time I have seen many
changes, some good and some bad.”
A huge proponent of insurance edu-
cation, Zalma explained what motivated
him to write his books, blogs and other
materials. “I have felt a need to share my
experiences to help claims personnel, SIU
investigators and claims counsel learn
how to properly handle claims.”
He said that any success he has had
in the industry was due in large part
to the education and training he re-
ceived with his first employer, the
old Fireman’s Fund Insurance
“The Fund did not cut corners. It made me study insurance by reading an insurance
claims text, sent me out as an
observer with experienced adjusters in each field of insurance
covered by the Fund, a full month
of classroom training in every aspect of insurance claims handling,
then six months of on-the-job
training,” he recounted.
The Legend Award recognizes significant contributions made to the claims
sector of the insurance industry through
education, professional development and
perseverance. Nominations for the 2017
award will be open later this fall.
In 2015, there were 353 disasters, of
which 198 were natural catastrophes, the
highest number ever recorded in a single
year. The total of economic losses caused
by all disasters were estimated at $92 billion in 2015, the report says, down from
$113 billion in 2014 and below the infla-tion-adjusted average of $192 billion for
the previous 10 years.
With total losses of $38 billion, Asia
was impacted the most of all global regions. The Nepal earthquake was the
largest disaster of 2015, with total losses
estimated at $6 billion, which included
damage in India, China and Bangladesh.
The two explosions at the Port of Tianjin
in China in August 2015 resulted in the
biggest insured loss of the year, with an
estimated property loss of $2.5 billion to
$3.5 billion, making it Asia’s largest manmade insured loss event ever.
Although the insurance industry covered $28 billion of losses from natural catastrophes and $9 billion from manmade
disasters in 2015, there was a difference
of $55 billion between total losses and
insured losses. This highlights the lack of
insurance protection globally against catastrophe events, the report notes.
Non-life insurers’ industry outlook
Swiss Re’s report found that the overall
profitability of non-life insurance, measured by return on equity, dropped from
9.0 percent in 2014 to 7. 2 percent in 2015,
with declines in both underwriting and
Investment income as a percentage of
net premiums earned was lower by 0.7
percentage points at 9. 2 percent due to
low interest rates. Underwriting profitability also dropped, with the combined
ratio increasing to 98.9 percent in 2015
from 97.6 percent in 2014. But overall,
the non-life sector remains well capitalized with solvency at a record high of 130
percent in 2015, up from 124 percent in
2014, the report concluded. This should
allow insurers as a group to better survive
periods of economic or market turmoil.
Swiss Re expects that global non-life
sector growth will weaken because of
moderate economic activity and soft
pricing, mainly in advanced markets.
In emerging markets, Swiss Re finds
that the outlook is mixed.