The landscape for senior living insurance and risk management has changed significantly in recent months, from the rising costs of liability insurance to a rollercoaster of new risks presented during the pandemic.
Even prior to the pandemic, insurance costs and considerations were changing, including rising premiums for senior living providers.
Today, with many COVID-19 risks waning, the insurance landscape has forever changed, and a new set of risks has followed.
In a recent Transform podcast interview, Managing Director and Leader of Marsh’s Senior Living & LTC Practice, John Atkinson, outlined the landscape for senior living risk mitigation and insurance: the good, the bad and the yet-to-be seen.
New and Emerging Risks
While the pandemic presented a new set of risks and unknowns to senior living providers, the post-pandemic landscape presents additional risks — from cyber security to environmental, social and governmental (ESG) concerns.
“Everyone wants to know about emerging risks because [they are] new,” says Atkinson.
While some of these risks are not unique to senior living, they may present unique challenges to senior living operators and owners, Atkinson says.
“Think about the impact of a cyber breach,” he explains. “What if there is a ransomware attack or infiltration where all electronic health records are frozen, and you can’t communicate via email or cell phone? How do you manage that from a preparedness standpoint?”
The practice at Marsh is also seeing operators and equity partners expand their focus on new risks, including:
- Climate – addressing sustainability, adaptation, and resilience
- Diversity, equity and inclusion-related claims
The challenge is that new risks are just that: new. They do not replace a bevy of risks owners and operators already face.
“The problem with emerging risks is they don’t replace risks; they add,” Atkinson says. “We still are battling with the deteriorating litigation environment that preexisted COVID, [including] class action lawsuits alleging discrimination. We are continuing to work with our clients as these new risks continue to evolve.”
Today’s insurance landscape
Given the acute needs and headline risks for care providers during the pandemic, much of the operating landscape looks quite different from a year ago. Inflation, supply chain disruptions and increasing expenses are curbing development in some cases and are calling for new approaches to staff management. The insurance landscape has evolved as well.
“From an insurance perspective, [during the pandemic] we saw the entire industry stop and say: ‘What’s happening?’” Atkinson says. “Things got conflated in the media and there was a lot of confusion on the part of insurance carriers as to what was really happening. If you look at [the data] there were fewer infections and lower severity… but insurance carriers in real time were reacting.”
Yet the surge of expected claims hasn’t materialized today, he says. In large part, industry advocacy efforts have succeeded in educating and informing key players to help shape the insurance marketplace.
“Insurance carriers on the liability side are starting to get a better understanding of how to underwrite infection control capabilities,” Atkinson says. “… Right now there is a pretty good stable of insurance carriers that have been in the space for a while, stuck with the industry during the COVID crisis, and made some modifications to policy forms. We are now seeing rate reductions on the liability side.”
To learn more, listen to the full podcast interview with Marsh’s John Atkinson.
This article is sponsored by Marsh. To learn more about how Marsh’s Senior Living & LTC Practice can assist in your risk management efforts in 2023, visit Marsh.com.