Afternoon Coffee: Global Boom After Financial Crisis Never Arrived; Bunker Launches Live Certificates of Insurance for Gig Economy

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The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip takes a short-term view and a longer term look at why the global economy seems to be stuck in slow growth after the 2007-08 financial crisis. He reports that the world’s economy is growing — but it constantly is revised down as glowing estimates don’t pan out. And it’s not as robust as in the 1990s and early 2000s, but why? “There are two main suspects for this slow-growth equilibrium: demographics and productivity,” Ip writes.

Live COI Targets Static PDFs

Insurance tech startup Bunker announced Wednesday that it has turned certificates of insurance (COI) into “live” documents to meet the way people work today — mobile, freelance and ever evolving.

Bunker’s cloud-based solution “takes the headache away in terms of emailing and reviewing PDF documents, and often times trying to track the data in a spreadsheet,” CEO Chad Nitschke said in an email, adding that it serves desktop and mobile users. “We also make it easy for independent workers and other vendors to comply with insurance requirements, with simple usage-based insurance.”

The San Francisco insurtech firm said its Live COI product offers real-time proof of insurance that can be updated and that serves the current on-demand workforce.

“Because the insurance industry hasn't kept up with the pace of change, up to 40% of independent contractors are non-compliant at any given time,” the announcement said. “In many cases, this leaves the enterprise and contractors exposed to damages, even if they have a seemingly compliant COI on file.”

Amazon Delivers with Robots

Amazon is testing a new delivery method: self-driving robots, the Associated Press reports. The trial deliveries are being done in a county just north of Seattle. The AP describes the six-wheeled blue vehicles as about the size of a large dog. Amazon said a worker will accompany the self-driving robots at first, the AP reports.

Governments Running Up Debt

Government debt worldwide at the end of 2018 has reached $66 trillion, about 80% of global GDP — and “double where it was in 2007, just as the financial crisis was beginning to unfold,” according to Fitch Ratings' new Global Government Debt Chart Book released Wednesday.

"Government debt levels are high, leaving many countries poorly positioned for financial tightening as global interest rates begin to move higher," James McCormack, Fitch's global head of sovereign ratings, said in a statement reported by CNBC.

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