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Weekly News Roundup, August 18

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In this week’s news will talk about Hawaii's Maui wildfires insured losses, Auto insurance shopping spikes in Q2, Minnesota cannabis insurance poses an unusual challenge and much more…

Auto insurance shopping spikes in Q2

US auto insurance shopping growth experienced a year-over-year increase of 5.2% in the second quarter, according to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Insurance Demand Meter.

The growth was driven by consumers reacting to widespread rate increases by auto insurers in an increasingly challenging market. However, while shopping growth remains high, new business volumes have started to surpass shopping, indicating that consumers who are shopping are finding suitable policies that meet their individual needs, LexisNexis reported. The quarterly year-over-year growth in new policies, which represents the rate at which consumers either switched or purchased new coverage, was strong at 10.2%.

Minnesota cannabis insurance poses an unusual challenge

Minnesota cannabis legalization comes with an unusual caveat for cannabis insurance providers, as the state has also authorized the sale of intoxicating cannabinoids in grocery stores, gas stations and at restaurants/bars.

“This is something that I haven’t seen in any other state,” said Norman Ives, broker, cannabis practice leader at Amwins.

“With this product being sold in various places, you’re seeing a consumption liability risk evolve, especially in places like bars.”

Crop insurance sector hits record high in premiums

The US crop insurance segment faced significant challenges in 2022, despite reaching a record high of $21.5 billion in premiums, according to a new report by AM Best. Widespread drought and unfavorable growing conditions led to an underwriting loss for the industry.

The U.S. crop segment comprises both the federal Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) program and private crop insurance products, with the MPCI program accounting for 93% of premiums written in 2022. The report, titled "US Crop Insurance: Premiums Reach New Highs, Drought Claims Drive Losses," reveals that MPCI insurers experienced a combined ratio of 102.8 in 2022, marking a deterioration of nine percentage points from the previous year.

Hawaii's Maui wildfires insured losses to top $1 billion – Moody's

Insured losses from the wildfires that have destroyed much of the Lahaina community and led to the deaths of at least 96 people in Hawaii’s Maui are expected to top $1 billion, Moody’s has estimated.

“Given the damage assessment and Lahaina's relatively high $1.5 million average single-family home value, we estimate insured losses will be at least $1 billion and primarily affect P&C insurers with significant homeowners and commercial property market share in Lahaina,” Moody’s said.

It is likely to take “weeks or months” to determine the full extent of insured damages, Moody’s said.

HUB reports data breach

Insurance brokerage firm HUB has reported a cyber breach mainly related to its US operations, with former and current staff as well as clients potentially affected.

In a statement shared with Insurance Business, HUB International, the parent company of HUB, provided updated information about the cyber event.