It’s Time To UNMUTE Your Policy Language

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Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading What Do Customers Want From Their Insurance Partners? This week we’re bringing you:


Workplace violence an ever-growing concern for employers*

Workplace violence is an ever-growing concern for employers and their employees in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), almost two million Americans are victims of occupational violence every year, and that’s only the cases that are officially reported.

OSHA defines workplace violence as any “act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” This can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide, which is currently one of the top causes of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.

Occupational violence is covered under most workers’ compensation insurance policies, providing coverage for employees that suffer physical injuries and/or mental distress. There are some exceptions to the rule, especially if incidents of workplace violence involve horseplay or some form of personal grievance between employees. Those situations are often subject to investigation and may not be covered under workers’ compensation.

While most cases of occupational violence are isolated incidents of verbal abuse or physical assault, there has been an increase in recent months of more extreme events involving active shooters. On March 22, 2021, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting event at King Sooper supermarket in Boulder Colorado, and less than a month later, on April 15, a mass shooting occurred at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, where nine people were killed.

Find out more in-depth here.


Program administrator hires former Willis execs*

Specialty program administrator Dual North America Inc. has recruited two former Willis Towers Watson PLC executives to newly created leadership roles and promoted Kris Finsel to chief financial officer.

Brad Dame has joined Dual as chief commercial officer and Kimberly Jenkins as chief M&A officer, Naples, Florida-based Dual said in a statement Tuesday.

Mr. Dame was previously head of middle-market broking solutions and chief operating officer, middle market & specialty broking, North America, and global broking program manager at Willis Towers Watson. He is based in Alpharetta, Georgia, and will drive product strategy, development, distribution and operational execution.

Ms. Jenkins, based in Denver, was most recently the large accounts sales operations leader at Willis Towers Watson. She will lead M&A growth strategy in the North American market, working closely with Mr. Dame.

Mr. Finsel will transition to the role of CFO, succeeding Tracy Keill, who has retired, Dual said. Mr. Finsel, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, joined Dual in April 2020 as finance director, working closely with Ms. Keill to oversee the corporate finance function.

Find out more in-depth here.


It’s time to UNMUTE your policy language*

“You’re on mute!” It’s a phrase we’ve all said or heard a hundred times in the past year as we navigate the “new normal” of remote work and virtual meetings.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix. We click a button, turn our microphones back on, make some witty comment or reference to noisy kids or an overzealous dog in the background, and the meeting goes on.

IF ONLY it were so easy to unmute other aspects of silence in the insurance industry.

Over the past year, insurers have been told time and time again that they’re “on mute” in certain areas of their policies. In particular, I’m referring to the silent or somewhat ambiguous policy language relating to coverage for viruses or communicable diseases.

Since March 2020, COVID-19 pandemic-related litigation has flown in thick and fast with businesses around the world suing insurers over a perceived lack of insurance coverage. The majority of lawsuits have revolved around denied business interruption (BI) claims after mandatory closure of non-essential businesses.

Most commercial insurance policies and traditional BI policies do not offer coverage for BI or supply chain disruption due to a pandemic such as COVID-19. Generally, BI insurance will only trigger if there is a direct physical loss to property – unless there is unique language written into the insurance contract that deems otherwise.

Aye, there’s the rub.

Find out more in-depth here.


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