Insurance Déjà Vu: Vaccines, AI, Litigation, Recession Made Headlines 10 Years Ago

By | February 1, 2021

How much have things changed for the insurance industry in the past decade? Judging by feature headlines from Insurance Journal published in February 2011, many of the issues and themes talked about then are again, or still, on the minds of insurance professionals in February 2021.

It’s not hard to imagine stories today about liability for vaccine makers; an oil spill investigation, litigation over Obamacare; fears surrounding artificial intelligence; lawsuits driving directors and officers insurance; rising M&A legal costs; post-recession insurance buying habits; risks and insurance of the Super Bowl; health costs, obesity and technology affecting workers’ compensation and Warren Buffett raising eyebrows.

Take a step back to February 2011 with these 10 Insurance Journal headlines:

Supreme Court Rules Federal Law Shields Vaccine Makers from Suits

The Supreme Court ruled that federal law shields vaccine makers from product liability lawsuits in state court seeking damages for a child’s injuries or death from a vaccine’s side effects.

Mood on Main Street: How Recession Changed Insurance Buying Habits

The recession has taken its toll on contractors, restaurants, retailers, small manufacturers and other Main Street business around the country and most of the survivors are not going to soon forget the pain of the past few years. Under pressure to survive, many Main Street customers have changed their insurance buying habits, according to independent agents.

As Merger Lawsuits Increase, So Do Legal Fees

Lawyers are pushing for a $4.5 million fee for their work for investors challenging a corporate merger. The recovery for shareholders? Probably zero. The requested fee is part of a cottage industry of merger-related shareholder cases that are flooding U.S. state courts.

Litigation, Investigation Fears Driving Up D&O Insurance Limits

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is gaining traction as more companies are increasing their D&O liability limits and a growing number with international operations are also purchasing D&O policies in foreign jurisdictions. The buyers are being driven by the potential for litigation and regulatory investigations, according Towers Watson’s D&O liability survey.

A Changing Workforce Among Many Challenges Facing Workers’ Comp

Looking out into the future, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has identified a number of issues that industry stakeholders are watching closely, including: growing healthcare costs; changing nature of the workforce; obesity; improved technology and wellness.

Another Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Against Healthcare Mandate

The case was one of several lawsuits filed against Obama’s requirement that Americans either buy health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning in 2014. Three Democratic-appointed judges have now dismissed challenges, while two Republican-appointed judges have ruled part or all of the law unconstitutional. The matter would end up before the Supreme Court.

Next for IBM’s Watson: Insurance Jobs in Jeopardy?

IBM wasted no time in parlaying the winning performance of its artificially intelligent Watson on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” into real business. It is developing a system to help doctors and nurses identify the most likely diagnoses and treatment options. IBM also sees potential for Watson in insurance, IBM’s Jamie Bisker said that rather than being a threat to insurance agents and customer service representatives, an artificial intelligence wizard like Watson could become their best – and smartest– ally.

No D&O Insurance at Berkshire, Other Notes from Buffett’s Letter

Giant Berkshire Hathaway, which makes much of its money on insurance and investing insurance premiums, does not provide liability insurance for its own directors. Billionaire chairman Warren Buffett in his annual letter to shareholders had things to say about opportunity in America, investing, corporate culture and insurance, or the lack of it in the case of the firm’s directors

BP Workers Might Have Prevented Rig Accident If Consulted: Report

BP had workers on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig who could have prevented the missteps that led to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but they were not consulted, the White House oil spill commission said in an expanded report on the causes of the BP drilling disaster that killed 11 workers and ravaged the U.S. Gulf coast last summer.

Super Bowl Risk Management a Team Effort

With the event the scope of the Super Bowl, there are issues of liability, employee safety, cancellation or preemption of the broadcast, accidents that could befall patrons, extreme weather conditions and even terrorism concerns, according to Aon Risk Solutions’ national entertainment group. Plus, potential risks and threats extend beyond game day.

Topics Lawsuits InsurTech Data Driven

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