Weekly Wrap: 90% of underwriters think e-cigarette users are smokers

PLUS: Lloyd's chief speaks out on climate change and Brown & Brown finishes off a major acquisition.

Catastrophe & Flood


Survey: 90% of Underwriters Think E-Cigarette Users are Smokers
Although electronic cigarettes are frequently touted as a safe alternative to tobacco products, nine out of ten underwriters feel that its users should be considered smokers.

In a survey conducted by Munich American Reinsurance Company at the Association of Home Office Underwriters (AHOU) Conference in Indianapolis, 74 percent of polled underwriters also felt that e-cigarettes should be classified as a tobacco product, whereas only 30 percent agreed that e-cigarettes could be labelled a smoking cessation tool.

“At the moment, there is no way to distinguish an e-cigarette user from a tobacco smoker via cotinine screening, a routine test for most insurance applicants,” said Bill Moore, Vice President of Underwriting and Medical for Munich American Reassurance Company.

Although 41 percent of the representative life insurance companies had an underwriting policy implemented for e-cigarettes, 82 percent of related policies in place consider the personal vaporizing devices to be tobacco products.

Lloyd’s Chief: Climate Change is Here
President of Lloyd’s America Hank Watkins, commenting on the Lloyd’s of London report “Catastrophe Modeling and Climate Change,” acknowledged that the world is facing changing weather patterns, and insurance carriers should prepare accordingly.
“Everybody that produced this report on our behalf is in agreement that climate change is here,” Watkins said.
The report notes an increase in the number and intensity of storms and tropical cyclones, and makes reference to data showing a rise in temperatures worldwide.  It provides suggestions for catastrophe modeling that takes into account extreme weather patterns.
“The way the industry has to prepare for it is to, first of all be well aware of the aggregate exposure that they have in any given part of a country or a region. They’ve got to be prepared to not only provide insurance cover for that, but do it at an appropriate rate, so that there is money available to pay the claims.”

Watkins cites the U.S. drought in particular as a major regional issue that needs to be addressed, but is often disregarded.

Brown & Brown Acquires Wright Insurance Group

Brown & Brown Inc. has finalized its acquisition of specialty insurance providers Wright Insurance Group, having paid $602.5 million to Wright’s equity partner Aquiline Capital Partners earlier this year.

Although Brown & Brown obtained 100% of the Wright Insurance Group’s membership interests and all its subsidiaries outside of WRM America Indemnity Co., the firms have agreed that all leadership positions will remain intact.

The cash transaction will endow Brown & Brown with Wright’s annual $114 million in revenues.


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