The US faces “the storm of the century” in the aftermath of the upcoming presidential elections, according to David Sampson, president and chief executive of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).
Giving the opening remarks of the APCIA Virtual Annual Meeting, Sampson warned of the high risk for political and social unrest following the election that is scheduled for November 3, describing 2020 as “the year of the unthinkable”.
Until relatively recently the idea that US democracy could itself be under threat would have seemed far-fetched, but such are the inconceivable ideas that no longer seem so absurd. A large number of Americans have told pollsters they may not be willing to accept the result if their side loses.
Polls that show around 40 percent of Americans—on both sides of the political divide—believe some violence would be justified if their side loses the election, Sampson said.
He warned of a failure to contain, and even an apparent desire to inflame, political tensions. These tensions will likely be exacerbated given the possibility of the result not being known for weeks, and possibly months, after polling day, Sampson warned.
“APCIA has been on a ‘war room footing’ in recent months.”
David Sampson, APCIA
Getting through the election process without violence will require patience and trust, two things that are currently in short supply in US politics, he said.
“Political violence has no place in America,” he added, calling on Americans to respect the rule of law and the checks and balances in the US political system.
Meanwhile, Sampson said, APCIA has been on a “war room footing” in recent months as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout, for example in holding back efforts to retroactively force insurers to cover pandemics through their business interruption policies. APCIA has also worked hard to dispel narratives that have called into question the industry’s commitment to its customers, he added.
Sampson noted that the insurance industry faces threats at both the federal and the judicial levels and warned these will intensify into 2021 and beyond.
While the insurance industry has struggled to get to grips with new challenges such as COVID-19 and the possibility of political violence, more predictable types of risk have surged in 2020.
This year has been only the second time in the history of naming storms that meteorologists have had to use the Greek alphabet, Sampson said.
Main image: shutterstock.com / bgrocker