Keeping on Top of Coronavirus Information Overload

As quickly as the coronavirus
is spreading, so is the amount of published information available to help
insurers and their customers navigate this confusing environment. But
separating information from misinformation and the truly useful from the merely
“nice to know” can be a challenge.

As a service to our readers,
Triple-I Blog is aggregating and sharing some of these resources. We’re
gathering links and descriptions into blog posts like this one and have
established a page on our website – COVID-19: Issues and Impacts – that categorizes the posts and makes them easier to

Brian Fannin, a research
actuary at the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), published a paper called COVID-19: A Property/Casualty Perspective to “start the conversation about what happens next.”

The paper addresses, among
others, the following questions:

  • To what extent, if any, was P/C risk underpriced?
  • Given the dramatic cessation of economic activity, what lines may have been overpriced? Was such a scenario foreseeable?
  • How will ratemaking models respond to the changes in coverage wording that will undoubtedly appear in the future?
  • How can actuaries assist in the development of viable coverages to meet new demand in the market?
  • Do actuaries have any advice about communication of risk and how best to mitigate it?

National Council on Compensation Insurers
(NCCI) has published an article COVID-19
and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know
to share its answers to questions NCCI has received regarding
COVID-19 and the impact it may have on the workers comp industry.

As part of its effort to provide information on workers comp legislative
activity, NCCI also monitors workers compensation-related bills in all jurisdictions
and the federal government. You can follow such activity here.

On the non-P/C side, The New York
published Coronavirus
May Add Billions to the Nation’s Health Care Bill
, which
warns that health insurance premiums could rise as much as 40 percent next year
as employers and insurers confront the additional costs associated with the

The Times cites an analysis
by Covered
that finds:

  • One-year projected costs in the national commercial
    market range from $34 billion to $251 billion for testing, treatment, and care specifically
    related to COVID-19;
  • Potential COVID-19 costs for 2020 could range from
    about 2 percent of premium to over 21 percent if the full first-year costs of the
    epidemic had been priced into the premium;
  • Health insurers are setting rates for 2021. If
    they must recoup 2020 costs, price for the same level of costs next year, and protect
    their solvency, 2021 premium increases to individuals and employers from
    COVID-19 alone could range from 4 percent to more than 40 percent.

Two recently published pieces provide historical comparisons
of COVID-19 with the 1918 global flu pandemic:

The National Bureau of Economic
(NBER) has published Pandemics Depress the Economy,
Public Health Interventions Do Not: Evidence from the 1918 Flu
, which looks at the
long-term economic impact of the 1918 “Spanish Flu.” It finds that, while the
decreased economic activity caused by the pandemic outlasted it by years, some
societies took steps that softened the economic impact and lessened the death

National Geographic has published How Some Cities Flattened the Curve During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which shows how social distancing saved thousands of American lives during the last great pandemic. The piece includes some great data visualizations depicting how the flu played out from city to city.

Consulting firm PwC has published COVID-19: What
Business Leaders Should Know
that provides advice on six key areas businesses should be
focusing on:

  • Crisis management and
  • Workforce
  • Operations and supply
  • Finance and liquidity
  • Tax and trade
  • Strategy and brand

All of these areas are relevant to risk management and insurance.

Stay tuned – we’ll be continuing our reporting on and curation of
COVID-19-specific information as long as the need for it continues.