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The rising risk of concussions

The rising risk of concussions

The rising risk of concussions With increasing attention being paid to the impact multiple concussions has on the brain, S&P Global Ratings have suggested UK insurers should pay attention to what is happening in the US to avoid a massive surge in claims.

A new report by S&P Global Ratings has found sports-related brain injuries are one of the top emerging insurance claims in the US and UK. The report Good Emerging Risk Management Can Help Prevent the Rise of Sports-Related Brain Injury Insurance stated two years ago these brain injuries had the potential to top claims lists, potentially reaching a level comparable to asbestos related cases.

It’s an area that is under increasing scrutiny from the media. A long running class action lawsuit taken out against the NFL has only drawn more attention to the issue, and the potential for an increase of liability claims in other sporting codes is a distinct possibility.

Also drawing attention to brain injuries is the increasing rate at which concussions are being reported. According to S&P’s report, 2015 recorded a 32% rise over the previous year of concussions recorded during pre and regular season NFL games. It’s the highest number in four years of record keeping.

The best way S&P suggests managing these claims largely the same tactic used for asbestos related claims. While brain injury claims are unlikely to reach the same level of pay out as asbestos, there are lessons to be learnt from history.

Brokers and insurers in the US are more commonly including concussion-exclusion causes, limiting lawsuit pay outs or requiring sports associations use risk management controls like mandatory coach concussion training. S&P suggests UK insurers should be doing the same.

“In our view, the UK insurance industry can also reduce its exposure to the escalating risk of sports-related brain-injury claims by setting enhanced monitoring and prevention standards and more restrictive terms for relevant insurance contracts,” S&P’s report said. “We believe that the UK insurance industry is uniquely placed do this thanks to its widespread sponsorship of sports.”

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