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Weekly News Roundup, February 2

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In this week's news will talk about how AI is set to change insurance in 2024, Super Bowl LVIII: What it takes to insure the big game, and much more...

Insurers brace for impact as sea-surface temperatures soar

Insurers and reinsurers, such as Swiss Re and Munich Re, could find themselves in hot water due to record sea-surface temperatures, according to a report from Bloomberg Intelligence (BI).

These rising temperatures, coupled with a weakening El Niño, pose a significant threat of increased catastrophe claims, potentially outstripping recent price adjustments.

“El Niño didn’t drive above-average cyclone activity in the West Pacific in 2023, contrary to expectations. The region endured 17 named storms (including Dora which crossed the East Pacific dateline). The only year to have had fewer named storms since 1951 was 2010, with 15,” said Charles Graham, senior industry analyst at BI.

Gallagher acquires Viriginia-based retail agency

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. continues to expand its M&A portfolio with the addition of Shelton & Alderson Insurance Agency, Inc.

The Virginia-based retail agency does business under the name FarmPLUS Insurance Services. It specializes in agricultural and crop insurance coverages, serving clients across Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

With the acquisition, the FarmPLUS team, including founders Tim Alderson and Amy Alderson, will remain in their current location in Blairs. They will operate under the guidance of Bumpy Triche, who leads Gallagher’s Southeast retail property/casualty brokerage operations.

APIW names Insurance Woman of the Year

The Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW) has announced that Brenda (Ballard) Austenfeld, president and CEO of RT National Property, has been named the 2024 recipient of the APIW Insurance Woman of the Year Award.
Austenfeld will receive the award at an event on May 14 in New York City.

“We are thrilled to present the 2024 APIW Woman of the Year award to Brenda Austenfeld,” said APIW president Elizabeth Kramer. “Brenda’s executive leadership, both at RT Specialty and within the insurance industry’s largest associations, has been second to none. Currently, Brenda serves on the executive board of directors of the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) – slated to be the next president starting in March 2024 – the board of directors for the WSIA Diversity Foundation, and the board of directors for the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB).

How AI is set to change insurance in 2024

Artificial intelligence is set to play a transformative role in insurance processes for 2024, according to new analysis from Xceedance, a global provider of strategic operations support and technology services.

The report, which drew insights from discussions with carriers and MGAs worldwide, outlined how the use of AI has evolved in the insurance sector. It also made note of the ways that insurers will be looking to advance their use of the technology across multiple business processes.

Among these insights, Xceedance identified four primary issues that insurers must address as they increase their utilization of AI.
One of these issues tackled in the report involves the use of generative AI.

Super Bowl LVIII: What it takes to insure the big game

Insuring an event like Super Bowl LVIII is no small feat, and, according to Martin Ridgers, owner of MKR Specialty Insurance Brokerage, insurance preparation for the apex of the football season begins two years in advance.

“In many ways, with these big events, it’s almost like setting up a small city for the period of time that the event is going on,” Ridgers said. “How long it takes to properly find and identify all the probable risks and find the right coverage is based on who is involved with this project, what experience they have insuring a big event and what are the complications they might have to work with.”