Will Obamacare End Up Affecting the P/C Insurance Industry?

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  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had its most significant moment at the start of this year when the coverage mandate went into effect, and while that has certainly had a major impact on many aspects of the health insurance market, some experts are now wondering whether this will also have an impact on property and casualty insurers. Therefore, insurance agents working in this field may have to prepare themselves for new realities in their market.

    There are a number of aspects of the ACA that could end up affecting P/C insurers in addition to those in the health industry, according to a report from the Claims Journal. Perhaps chief among these is that many insurers are more likely to keep better records on consumers overall, and share them more freely. However, there is likely to be a 15 percent increase in demand for health services, even as the amount of available care does not increase, and experts further note that pharmacy and medical equipment costs could rise more marginally.

    Interestingly, though, it seems likely that the largest of these issues will be the number of injuries caused by automobile accidents, the report said. As a result, many of the people who suffer injuries in such incidents could simply shy away from P/C plans because their auto insurance covers them. 

    “In Florida, before 2013, about 11 percent of patients were seen in the emergency room for automobile accidents,” Michele Hibbert‑Iacobacci, vice president of information management and support for San Diego-based Mitchell International, told the site. “We do have a benchmark that we’re going to be looking at. Florida’s one of our largest transaction states, because it’s a [personal injury protection] state in auto. We plan on looking at that metric and seeing if it changes over time.”

    On the other hand
    However, it also seems likely that auto insurers will only cover medical expenses after an accident up to a certain point, as most already do, the report said. As such, P/C insurers may have to pick up the slack even above and beyond the coverage provided by health insurance, especially for more catastrophic injuries.

    Certainly, P/C insurers might want to prepare themselves for the new realities brought on by alterations to health insurance law in a number of ways, but it may take a little bit of time to see exactly how the fallout of these changes will impact them.