Kate Markham

America's next corporate crisis?

The US is in the grip of a terrifying health crisis, caused by powerful and highly addictive prescription painkillers. Millions are hooked on opioids and thousands are dying from overdoses each year. We explore how the social tragedy has unfolded, costing the country’s economy hundreds of billions of dollars and how it could create an unforeseen crisis for liability insurers.

While many are focused on the seemingly 21st century threats of nuclear, biological or cyber attacks bringing cities to a grinding halt, we report on how old-fashioned riots, strikes and widespread disturbances, like the gilet jaunes protests in France, are still costing businesses dearly.

Speaking of cyber risk, companies are investing heavily in sophisticated systems to protect themselves from hackers. But, as we discover, many businesses remain vulnerable because they simply don’t take the time to properly configure these all-singing, all-dancing systems. Many believe (wrongly) that their factory settings are a good enough defence – until they suffer an attack.

We also look at how the continuing political uncertainty in the US impacts the National Flood Insurance Program, with knock-on consequences for millions of homeowners living in at-risk regions.

Bobby Read describes how he recently initiated his 18-year old son into the world of winetasting, while David Slevin, our Head of Transport, Energy and Recall, explains why, if he’s not in the office, you can usually find him on a surfboard somewhere.

In 60 seconds, James Brady, our new Lead Cyber Underwriter, tells us about his childhood love of computing, how he dreamed of becoming a bank manager and his recent encounter with a hacker.

Insurance is a people business, as we know, and communication is never more important than when drafting policies. A slip of the tongue, or pen, can costs millions of dollars; one of our wording experts delves into a landmark case to find out where it all went wrong in our “Spot the wording error” column.

Enjoy reading this issue. I’d love to hear from you what you think of it.