Understanding Blockchain, Part 2
In part one of this article, published in the June 2019 issue of the Insurance Research Letter, we provided an overview of how blockchain technology works and how smart contracts are employed to make this technology relevant in this modern economy. Here in part two, we discuss the broader and more global risks of the technology as a whole, and by way of example, the risks as they may present themselves for more specific lines of business. We also present issues to consider as it pertains to the restriction or refinement of policy terms and conditions.
Don’t put an Idiot in Charge (A short story about AI)
Raise your hand if you’ve heard some version of this lately: “In the next 10 years, robots with Artificial Intelligence will replace all rote jobs.” Now, raise your OTHER hand if you heard this same thing in 2005, 2000 and 1990. Learn why this has been a constant drumbeat since the 1950s on page 11
Chinese Tourists in the Hermit Kingdom: From Flux to Inflection
By William A. Hodges
The North Korean government’s recent prioritization of tourism not only demonstrates its attempt to attract more foreign currencies to solve the problems caused by economic sanctions, but also shows its desire to showcase a positive image of itself to the world. In this lies an issue that must balance national concerns of pragmatism and idealism, as well as visibility and invisibility. The current inflectionary status of inbound Chinese tourism comes after years of flux in tourism numbers to the DPRK. This has mostly been as a result of uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its treatment under consequent Western sanctions.
A Mission Unclear
By William A. Hodges
The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam’s widely acclaimed examination of the supposed technocracy behind the American war in Vietnam, focuses heavily on the types of characters within the administration that surrounded President Johnson. Concerned about the war’s impact on his domestic initiatives within the Great Society, worried about the legacy of a Democrat’s overseeing of the loss of China, and concerned about upholding American credibility, Johnson was particularly susceptible to the theories of control espoused by many of his civilian and military advisors alike. Rejecting the notion that foreign policy missions in places like Vietnam could be uncontaminated by domestic concerns, Halberstam states that, “The truth, in sharp contrast, was that all those critical decisions [in Vietnam] were primarily driven by considerations of domestic politics, and by political fears.” (Halberstam)
Brexit – whatever next?
The ever-changing journey of Brexit in British politics and the news has caused many people in this country to feel punch-drunk and helplessly resigned to months if not years of upsets and uncertainties.
The Continuing Evolution of Cyber Insurance Coverages
By Judy Selby
As discussed here and here (links only appear in document), cyber insurance policies are continually being updated to provide new and innovative coverages in light of today’s new and increasing cyber risks. I highlight some of the latest cyber coverage offerings here.
Post-Breach Cyber Mitigation Coverage
At least one insurer is now helping its insureds reduce the risk of future cyber events. This carrier offers coverage for 1) an information security risk assessment; 2) an information security gap analysis; 3) development of an information security document set; and 4) an information security awareness training session. The coverage is available after an insured has suffered a covered cyber event under the policy form.
Cryptojacking and Botnetting Coverage
Coverage is now available under at least one policy for losses resulting from cryptojacking and battening, two of today’s most rampant cyber exposures. Cryptojacking means the unauthorized use of the insured’s computer system to mine cryptocurrency. Botnetting means the unauthorized use of the insured’s computer system to launch a denial of service or hacking attack against a third party. Login or sign up to read more…
What DARPA Technologies can offer the Insurance Industry – In the last decade, many of the giant humming brains of technology have migrated to government projects for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) because the work there has been super fun – their instructions were simply “build whatever massive tool you want to, and then turn it over to our analysts to use or not use as they choose.”
The Insurance Research Letter has been published monthly since 1966 making it the oldest and most venerable source of business insurance articles and information
M&A: No feeding frenzy but activity is up
Marsh’s recent marriage proposal to JLT was the first biggie of the year from my perspective. I thought this would prompt others to step up and that’s just what happened with last week’s engagement announcement between Brown & Brown and Hays Companies. You can read more about this affair later in this issue with an old friend Jim Hays weighing in on the whys. But here’s a hint: ‘culture’.
I am writing this article from InsureTech in Las Vegas, where the newest and brightest technology companies launch their solutions. The top question posed this year is: “Are humans replaceable in insurance.”
During disasters and emergencies people are affected by the stresses and challenges of these events. These stresses can sometimes be quite traumatic. We should be attentive to the ways in which such events affect and change those who are working, living, enduring, and surviving during a high-stress crisis. In addition to recognizing and adapting to the dynamics of those with whom we work or manage who are under tremendous pressures during crises, we ourselves as crisis managers are likewise affected by the stresses of these events.
At the time of writing, July 31st 2018, there stands approximately 11 weeks between the deadline by which the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) must reach some agreement as to what their post-brexit relationship will be. While the date of Britain’s departure from the EU is 29th March 2019 (with a proposed transition period lasting until 31st December 2020), a deal must be agreed by this October because it will require ratification in the individual parliaments of the 27 other EU member states, a process which will at its very least take 6 months.
Does Size Matter?
I may be coloring outside of the lines, but the broker landscape seems to be shrinking once again. Back in my earlier days as a broker with Chicago-based Rollins Burdick Hunter Co, the firm made strategic acquisitions – a good many in California during the early days of chip manufacturing. This made sense because the firm wasn’t going to continue growing in the transportation (mostly rail and airlines) business – we already had many of the major railways (Alexander & Alexander had a good rail group in Baltimore as well); and bus transport (Greyhound) was still a meaningful business. New areas of expertise were needed. We had to be tactical as well as strategic which brought…