Sunday, February 4, 2018

GE's "Long-Term-Care" Fiascos



GE’s “Long-Term Care” Dilemma is an instructive example of failed risk management.

General Electric’s financial arm has been in trouble for some time. At first, I found this situation bewildering because most financial operations have been profitable in the post-recession period. Then I learned about the source of GE’s troubles: long-term care. GE holds responsibility for approximately 300,000 long-care-policies that pay for nursing homes and related high-expense care:
Scism, Leslie (2017, October 23). General Electric has a long-term care problem. It isn’t alone. FoxBusiness news, http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/10/23/general-electric-has-long-term-care-problem-it-isnt-alone.html

Leslie Scism (2018, January 19). General Electric is the latest casualty of long-term care insurance. Market Watch, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/general-electric-is-the-latest-casualty-of-long-term-care-insurance-2018-01-19
GE’s direct and “reinsurance obligations” from long-term care insurance illustrate a failure to anticipate the costliness of end-of-life care.

No doubt GE’s insurance actuaries over-estimated the probability that people would simply die suddenly and quietly in their own homes before undergoing protracted suffering requiring 24-7 end-of-life care.

Of course, the great irony is that GE’s failures of risk management are compounded by a similar discounting of future suffering in its energy division.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster involving GE’s Mark I reactors was anticipated by GE engineers back in the 1970s who warned that lack of proper venting could result in hydrogen explosions when reactors are scrammed (i.e., shut down quickly).

GE’s failed risk management of a hazardous reactor design has contributed significantly to the artificially-produced ionizing radiation that is an important factor in producing long-term suffering requiring intensive end-of-life care. For example, see the dispersion map at my blog site here: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/chronic-radiation-exposure-and-human.html

In addition to causing cancer, medical research is increasingly linking exposure to ionizing radiation at both low and high doses to “most types of circulatory disease”:
Little, M. P. (2016). Radiation and circulatory disease. Mutat Res. 2016 Oct - Dec;770(Pt B):299-318. Epub 2016 Jul 30. 10.1016/j.mrrev.2016.07.008 
... The review provides strong evidence in support of a causal association between both low and high dose radiation exposure and most types of circulatory disease.
Additionally, exposure to ionizing radiation during early development may impact synaptic migration and development processes, potentially leading to cognitive and other neurological impairments:
Majia's Blog: Autism and Radiation
Majia's Blog: Autism and Ionizing Radiation
Majia's Blog: Ionizing Radiation and Our Neural System
Majia's Blog: Could Ionizing Radiation Play a Role in Autism?
Majia's Blog: Ionizing Radiation and Germ Cell Damage: Link to Autism?
Furthermore, I suspect that exposure to ionizing radiation is one of the “environmental triggers” causing neurological diseases in adults such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. These disorders are occurring more frequently and at younger ages of onset:
Majia's Blog: Thyroid problems, Pituitary Gland tumors, Parkinson's ...
Majia's Blog: Neurological Diseases in Adults Growing
There is no doubt that the effects of ionizing radiation are complex and, most importantly, are mediated by other systemic exposures and the biological resilience of those exposed.  Yet, despite the uncertainties associated with modeling such contingencies, research increasingly shows long term cognitive effects from relatively "low" levels of exposure:
Kempf SJ, Azimzadeh O, Atkinson MJ, Tapio S. (2012). Long-term effects of ionising radiation on the brain: cause for concern? Radiat Environ Biophys. 2013 Mar;52(1):5-16. doi: 10.1007/s00411-012-0436-7. Epub 2012 Oct 26.
GE’s “nuclear” medicine – from medical isotopes to CT scans – may contribute to the types of diseases requiring long-term care that GE policies lose money on.

GE’s incapacity to adequately model hazards produced by its technology may inadvertently have contributed to its long-term care mistakes.

Testimony to GE’s deficiency in risk management, Fukushima Daiichi continues to contaminate the ocean and atmosphere with tritium and other radioisotopes: