Top Insurance Journal International Stories of 2017

By | December 29, 2017

Blockchain, cyber, mergers and acquisitions and London’s devastating Grenfell Tower fire are just some of the topics that dominate the most popular articles in Insurance Journal’s International section during 2017.

Here we provide an overview of 12 of the top International stories, in reverse order:

12). Stories about cyber attacks, risks and trends always get a lot of attention from Insurance Journal readers. Just one of our many cyber articles is the 12th most well read, titled “Days of Cyber Insurers Avoiding Costly Claims May Be Numbered.” Published in July, it discusses the fact that cyber crime insurers have largely avoided costly claims from the cyber attacks, including WannaCry and Petya, which hit global businesses this year. However, the article cautioned that the next global cyber virus could change that.

11). Trends in insurtech continue to dominate our headlines, including this July article, titled “Q2 Insurtech Funding Rises to $1B….” The articles discussed a Willis Tower Watson report, which revealed that during Q2 2017, insurtech funding rose to $1 billion, a 150 percent increase from Q2 2016.

10). Another report, this time from Deloitte, provided the material for our 10th most-read International article. Titled, “Confusing, Costly Cyber Policies Create Obstacles to Market Growth: Deloitte,” this story published in March discussed the reasons for the failure of buyers to widely embrace cyber coverage, while many insurers remain cautious about writing the coverage on a large scale basis.

9). Here’s a “cheerful” article, which attracted a lot of attention from readers, coming in at number nine on our list. Titled “According to the Computer, You’ll Be Dead in 5 Years,” this piece published in June revealed that computers will one day be able to predict a patient’s lifespan simply by looking at images of their organs, which has implications for the early diagnosis of serious illness and medical intervention.

8). Articles about business moves from companies moving into potentially lucrative Asian markets, with their growing middle class, generally attract a lot of attention from our readers. One of these in 2017 was a story published in July titled “Aetna Acquires Bupa Thailand to Expand in Asia Health Insurance.” The item discussed an acquisition that “will significantly increase Aetna’s presence in Asia, and is key to the company’s strategy to go ‘broader and deeper’ into local healthcare markets.”

7). A report on cyber risks from Aon’s Stroz Friedberg got a lot of attention early in the year and came in at seventh on our annual list. Titled “2017 Cyber Risks to Intensify as Hackers Become More Cunning: Report,” the article predicted that top cyber threats during 2017 would include nation state cyber espionage, a rise in data integrity attacks and an increase in attacks harnessing Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It would appear that these predictions were right on the mark.

6) and 4). London’s devastating Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 71 people (originally estimated at 79) and injured many others, were the sixth and fourth most well-read International articles for the year. The tower fire has raised safety concerns about the flammable cladding used in high-rises around the world. Ranking at number six was the article titled “Norway’s Protector Forsikring Insured Grenfell Tower Fire; Price Tag Debated.” The fourth most well-read article was titled “Whirlpool Fridge Started London’s Grenfell Tower Fire that Killed at Least 79.

5). When Fairfax Financial Holdings completed in July its largest and “most significant” acquisition – of Allied World – it was bound to get a lot of readership attention because of the critical mass it creates for the two companies. In an article titled “Fairfax Financial Completes $4.9 Billion Acquisition of Allied World,” it was revealed that Allied World “writes $3.1 billion in business, and it has a major presence with the large brokers like Marsh, Aon and Willis and with Fortune 1000 companies in the U.S….”

Prem Watsa, chairman and chief executive officer of Fairfax, also attracts a lot of interest in the world of insurance. Described as the “Warren Buffett of Canada,” Watsa oversees an insurance conglomerate, bases his investments on their long-term value and runs his companies on a decentralized basis – similar to Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

3), 2) and 1). Articles on blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), were the top three International articles in 2017. There has been a lot of press – some would say “hype” – about blockchain and its potential to revolutionize the industry’s processes and ultimately improve the customer experience. The year has shown that the industry is slowly finding ways to use this potentially revolutionary technology.

In our top three articles, a story on blockchain published in May ranks number three. Titled “The Present Use and Promise of Blockchain in Insurance,” it discusses how using a shared ledger “eliminates the need for multiple databases and the errors that arise from maintaining and transferring data among them.”

Ranked at number two is an article titled “What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?” Quoting experts on how this technology could work for the insurance industry, this article, published in June, provides an explanation of how this complicated technology works.

And last but not least is the article that topped our list for most well-read International articles in 2017. Titled “Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i Grows to 15 Members,” the article, published in February, discusses an industry initiative that is exploring the ability of blockchain technologies to increase efficiencies in the exchange of data between reinsurance and insurance companies. Real progress has been made by B3i during the year.

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