Bonita Springs, Fla.–Thinking beats cowering, a top disability insurance market watcher says.
Drew King, president of JHA, Portland, Maine, called for a calm, analytical response to the recession here at his firm’s annual disability insurance conference.
“I encourage you not to be part of the herd,” King said at the general session that kicked off the conference. “Let’s not go in the bunker.”
Instead of adopting a “duck and cover” strategy, disability industry executives need to decide what they think the situation is and make choices based on how they think the recession is going to end, King said.
“And it will end,” King said.
JHA is a disability insurance risk management and consulting arm of General Reinsurance Corp., Stamford, Conn. Its conference draws many of the movers and shakers in the disability market.
This year, because of the economy, “we’re a little bit smaller,” King said. But he estimated premiums from in-force coverage increased 2% for group long-term disability in 2008 and 2% for group short-term disability. JHA also surveys the group life market, where in-force revenue may have increased 4%, he said.
Past recessions have led to increases in disability claims. So far, however, the current recession has not had much, if any, effect on claims, several speakers said.
One theory is that policies and claim management strategies have improved. Another is that workers are too worried about job security to file disability claims, Gerard Lynch, president of General Re-New England Asset Management Inc., Farmington, Conn., said at a conference breakout session. His Gen Re unit manages assets for insurers.