Robert Walling, a Principal at Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, has been a consulting actuary since 1997.
How has COVID-19 changed your daily life? The biggest difference for me, is not being on the road 40% of the time. This has allowed me to spend more time at my desk, albeit at home, doing client work. I must confess that I do miss visiting different places, and seeing the people that I have developed relationships with over the years.
If you had to identify one positive aspect of the situation, what would it be? Personally, it has allowed me to be much more conscious about my choices. It has forced me to look at everything from getting in an extra bike ride, washing my hands and wearing a face mask to my work-life balance.
What has been the hardest aspect of the situation for you? Not being able to see other people. The quarantine has been extremely hard on extroverts like myself, who draw their energy from interacting with others. I think it's part of the reason so many people are scheduling Zoom calls. They miss seeing other face to face and use Zoom to interact.
What are your thought about when normal life will return? I think a vaccine will be the key to some form of normalcy. But let’s be clear, it won’t be “normal.” In some respects, normal wasn’t always that great. I think we will see many people make noticeable shifts in their priorities. I think remote work will be much more common place and this will enable more work-life balance. I also see business travel, industry meetings/conferences, and the hospitality industry being fundamentally changed. I also believe that there has been a fundamental cultural shift on social justice issues such as Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ+ community. It is no longer sufficient to not be racist. Leaders and influencers have a social responsibility to be actively anti-racist, that is proactively supporting social justice issues.
Do you believe the pandemic will highlight the importance of captives? I believe we are going to see scores, if not hundreds of businesses saved by their captives. Contingent business interruption coverage, supply chain coverage and dividends are just a few examples of ways businesses with captives will prove to have been better prepared than those without captives.
What advice would you give someone looking to start a captive in 2020? Be sure to have your decisions rooted in well-designed actuarial models and enterprise risk management processes. Captives are best used as part of an overall risk management and risk financing strategy. Identifying coverages and coverage layers where a captive offers substantial savings over commercial insurance needs to be a data-driven process.
What are your predictions on the future of the captive insurance market? There is an inevitable hardening of the admitted and reinsurance markets happening. Captive growth in the remainder of 2020 and well into 2021 is likely to be significant in response to the material premium increases being requested by carriers.
Reach out to Robert Walling with any questions at RWalling@pinnacleactuaries.com