Daily Market Update - July 11, 2014

​Report highlights the growing risk of violence in the workplace… Digital risk officers set to become a hiring priority for businesses… Canadian insurers should not be asking for genetic tests says privacy watchdog… and UK insurance body sets out proposals for clearer renewals…

Risk Management News


Growing risk of violence at work
Few of us would imagine when we set off for work in the morning that we would be at risk of violence in our workplace, but a new whitepaper suggests that this is a growing threat. Insurance broker Lockton says that companies should be addressing the risk to their staff as figures show that more than 570,000 non-fatal crimes occur in workplaces annually; there are 700 deaths at work. Clearly different industries will have different risks; retail businesses for example are potentially more vulnerable from violence from members of the public, while in a secure factory environment this is unlikely. Loss control consultant says that violence in the workplace is an unregulated hazard but points out that “under the Federal OSHA General Duty Clause, employers can still be cited for the lack of a workplace violence program if violence does occur.” The report encourages employers to face the reality that random acts of violence may occur, but they can reduce the potential by taking the appropriate prevention measures and carefully plan their specific insurance coverage.

Digital risk officers are becoming a hiring priority
By the end of next year more than half of businesses expect to have a senior ‘digital’ leader according to a new survey. The ‘2014 CEO and Senior Executive Survey’ by Gartner also shows that by 2017 a third of large businesses will have a digital risk officer. As cyber threats continue to dominate concerns in light of the increasing number of attacks, companies are realising that they need someone to assess risk and manage policies constantly. The skill set required is likely to be someone with a good understanding of both business and technology. Such is the importance of the digital risk officer role, the report says that they will typically not report through the business’ IT structure but will often have a direct line to the board. Paul Proctor, VP at Gartner says: Many executives believe technology — and therefore technology-related risk — is a technical problem, handled by technical people, buried in IT. If this gap is not bridged effectively, technology and consequent business risk will hit inappropriate levels and there will be no visibility or governance process to check this risk."

Genetic tests for insurance should not be requested
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is urging the life and health insurance industry to call on its members to refrain from asking applicants for access to existing genetic test results for the purposes of underwriting an insurance policy. “As science and technologies advance, protecting genetic privacy will become increasingly important and challenging,” says Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien. “We are calling on the industry to refrain from asking for existing test results to assess insurance risk until the industry can clearly show that these tests are necessary and effective in assessing risk.  This would allow people to undergo genetic testing for various purposes without fear that the results may have a negative impact if they apply for insurance.” The step called for in the policy statement issued today would effectively expand the industry’s current voluntary moratorium on asking applicants to undergo genetic testing.

UK insurance body calls for clarity
The Association of British Insurers has made a proposal to add clarity to motor and home insurance quotes. The Financial Conduct Authority is already working on this area and the ABI says its proposals would set a minimum standard of information given to consumers taking out policies. They want to see last year’s premium included on renewal notices to give customers an easy comparison and clearly flagging up any first year discounts that may not be applicable to the renewal.

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