Insurers saw more costly personal umbrella claims before the start of 2020, according to a Gen Re analysis, and the reinsurer expects such claims to continue as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal umbrella insurance covers liability costs beyond the limits of the policyholders’ homeowners or auto policies.
Gen Re has uncovered some of the top drivers for the large claims, and they have to do with some of society’s harshest ills. Top reasons cited were increases in:
- the annual poverty rate;
- opioid prescription rates;
- fatal accidents;
- brain injuries;
- attorney representation; and
- injuries involving a fatality and multiple claimants.
Other notable predictors linked with higher claims severity include laws permitting recreational marijuana and a lack of motorcycle helmet laws.
Gen Re said poverty, opioid use, and marijuana laws were unexpected predictors of umbrella claim severity and that all of the analysis’ findings “will facilitate deeper client interaction on this line of business.”
“Social inflation” – a term used to describe growth in liability risks and costs related to litigation trends – has been a growing concern for insurers. The phenomenon has mostly affected the commercial auto and general liability lines, but the findings here – particularly the increase in attorney representation – suggest that it might be making inroads into personal lines.