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Life Health > Life Insurance

Group Life Carriers Feel 9-11 Ripples

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Business ripples from the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster on Sept. 11 are starting to impact the group life insurance business, regulators were told during the winter meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners here.

Group life carriers are having trouble finding catastrophe coverage, said Stephen Rahn, speaking for the American Council of Life Insurers in Washington.

A future attack could expose health rather than life insurers to large claims, according to the discussion. Life insurers bore the brunt of claims in the Sept. 11 attack, because of the extensive loss of life.

However, bioterrorism, chemical and nuclear attacks make it more likely that health insurers will “pay the freight” for radiation sickness if a nuclear or “dirty” bomb is activated, commissioners were told.

Later, Terri Vaughan, the new NAIC President, said that in addition to group life carriers, the lack of reinsurance coverage could conceivably be felt in the group major medical and disability markets.

The growing sense of urgency as contracts near expiration at year-end surfaced in a number of comments made during the meeting.

Commissioners noted that even as the issue was being debated at the meeting, contracts with terrorism coverage were just two weeks away from expiration.

A number of states are receiving terrorism exclusion filings and commissioners have been waiting to see how Congress will respond to the issue. A few states such as South Dakota are approving such filings, according to the commissioners.

Robert Graham, a representative with General Cologne Re in Stamford, Conn., explained reinsurers reluctance to write terrorism coverage. He said General Re had a $1.75 billion WTC-related loss as part of a $2.25 billion total loss of its reinsurance operations. The total is 40% of the surplus of Gen Re as of year-end 2000, according to Graham.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, December 17, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.

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