Asian Piracy and Crime Incidents Drop 65%

The number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in Asia from January to September 2016 decreased by 65% compared to the same period in 2015. A total of 59 incidents were reported during the period, including three piracy and 56 armed robbery incidents, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

ReCAAP emphasized that the decrease in the overall number of incidents was most evident in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Other improvements were reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Vietnam. In these regions, there were only two incidents from January to September 2016, compared to 96 incidents in the same period last year. About 73% of the incidents occurred on board ships while at ports and anchorages, and 27% on ships while underway.

There was also a decrease in hijacking of ships for oil cargo theft during the nine-month period—only two such incidents occurred, compared to 12 incidents in 2015.

Although the total number of incidents has decreased, there is no room for complacency, ReCAAP emphasized. Measures must be implemented to prevent recurrence of incidents involving the abduction of crew in the Sulu Sea and hijacking ships to steal oil cargo. Crews need to be vigilant while underway and maintain watch at ports and anchorages. In addition, authorities should implement port security measures and maintain regular surveillance.

P&C Rates in U.S. Rise 1% in February

The composite rate in the U.S. in 2015 for all property and casualty lines was up 1% in February, compared to flat in January 2015, MarketScout said today.

Pricing measurements by coverage showed no further price deterioration in any line and an increase of 1% in auto, professional liability and EPLI, from plus 1% to plus 2%. By account size, large accounts ($250,001 to $1,000,000 premium) increased from flat to plus 1%, while all other account sizes remained the same as in January, according to MarketScout.

“Could this mean underwriting executives are actually walking away from underpriced business?” asked Richard Kerr, MarketScout CEO.

“February is normally a low volume premium month so we would caution about putting too much credibility in these metrics; however, historically once the insurance market starts softening it normally accelerates rather than moderates or turns around,” he said in a statement. “We speculate insurers are not going to cut deep and long in this cycle. Big data, modeling software and improved underwriting acumen are resulting in insurers simply being too smart to fall for extended and deep price cuts.”

When measuring by industry classification, contracting, habitational, public entity and transportation all increased by 1% in February compared to January.

Summary of the February 2015 rates by coverage, industry class and account size:

By Coverage

Commercial Property         Up 1%

Business Interruption       Up 0%

BOP                                  Up 1%

Inland Marine                   Up 0%

General Liability                Up 1%

Umbrella/Excess               Up 1%

Commercial Auto              Up 2%

Workers Compensation     Up 0%

Professional Liability          Up 2%

D&O Liability                    Up 1%
EPLI                                Up 2%

Fiduciary                          Up 0%

Crime                               Up 0%

Surety                              Up 0%






Controlling Employee Crime

Employee theft costs businesses billions of dollars annually and it is on the rise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports. Strategies for controlling these thefts include pre-employment screening, installing procedures to make theft more difficult, improving employee job satisfaction and maintaining a policy of apprehension and prosecution, according to The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc.

“Business owners spend a significant amount of time and resource protecting their business from a variety of risks, whether it’s liability for their products or services or severe weather,” Helen R. Savaiano, president of management liability at The Hanover said in a statement. “But, what can sometimes be overlooked are the risks presented by unscrupulous employees and unfortunately those types of losses happen more often than business owners think.”

In support of Crime Prevention Month, the company offers insights into the most common crime schemes and steps business owners can take to help prevent these schemes within their own companies.

What business owners can do:

Organizations should make sure there is clear accountability for every position and that no position has broad enough power to authorize payments without another individual’s consent. Companies also need to establish a system of checks and balances and set up an anonymous tip line to encourage reporting of any suspicious activities or business practices, The Hanover said in a report.

Crime Expert Reveals Biggest Gaps in Company Security

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, Canada – After decades of working undercover for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs Service, crime and risk expert Chris Mathers knows where companies are vulnerable and what it takes to protect them.

“In a world where popular culture tells us that the ends justify the means, crime is all about perception,” he said in a keynote address at the 2014 RIMS Canada Conference. “Young people are bombarded with it all the time, but we are in business, too. So the question is, how vulnerable is your business?”

Mathers, who joined the forensic division of KPMG and was later named president of corporate intelligence, shared his insight into how companies can best guard against “the business of crime, and crime in business.”

During his 20 years dealing with drug traffickers, money launderers and members of organized crime syndicates, Mathers developed what he calls a “10/80/10” theory – 10% of the population is truly bad, 10% is truly good and would never lie (but you will probably never meet), and the other 80% is everywhere in between. Identifying and managing the risks of that 80% requires far more work than employers are currently doing, he said.

Background checks may be the single biggest thing companies can do better, Mathers said. While most businesses perform background checks when an employee is hired, such investigations are seldom conducted during the course of employment. As an example, he cited a case where a company had a director who was serving jail time on the weekends. Due to Canadian privacy laws, however, the case was never reported, so no one knew he had been convicted and imprisoned while on staff. In addition to possible reputation implications, the company could have been exposed to liability if any incidents had occurred at work.

While searching for criminal records of new hires is an excellent start, periodic checks should be implemented for all employees. High levels of drug use in the workplace in industries like manufacturing can be further compounded by the lack of drug testing in Canada, Mathers said. Further, 90% of corporate theft cases he have involved perpetrators who were gamblers.

He suggested that investigations should examine whether employees: have extreme views, use or are addicted to drugs, exhibit signs of alcoholism, are addicted to gambling or participate in illegal gambling, frequent prostitutes, or have relatives or a spouse associated with a criminal organization.

Associating with criminals can be a significant risk factor, regardless of the nature of the relationship. “Prostitutes are criminals and associate with criminals,” Mathers said. “They are around that activity and more likely to engage in it, which may mean they steal a client’s wallet or steal the sensitive intellectual property he’s carrying.” Similarly, an administrative assistant who is married to a member of the Hell’s Angels can introduce far more than just reputation risk if the spouse gets involved in illegal activities like drug smuggling.

Employees within a company can also rationalize criminal behavior. In the case of a man found to have stolen thousands of dollars through expense account fraud, for example, Mathers said the company faced a wrongful dismissal suit from the thief. He was never told that he could not steal, the man said, claiming the practice was an “unofficial bonus program.” Further, he claimed his boss had been doing it for years. “People see that behavior and come to think it is OK because they become accustomed to seeing it,” Mathers said. Maintaining regular internal investigations and ensuring compliance does not just bust wrong-doers, but prevents others from developing, especially as new technology continually emerges to make theft easier to commit and harder to track.

“There are no new crimes – they’re the same crimes, they’re just using new techniques to get them to you,” he said. Companies need to keep updating their monitoring strategies to match.