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Insurance at critical juncture in COVID-19 response – John Ludlow

The combined threat of COVID-19 and the hardening market has produced a challenging environment for risk professionals that can be eased by a collaborative insurance market that chooses to work with, rather an against, its customers, according to John Ludlow, CEO of Airmic.

The Association released its own position statement on 12 May calling for a change in insurers’ approach to the pandemic.

“Airmic believes insurers have a choice,” the statement reads. “They can either interpret ambiguous contract wordings with their balance sheet in mind, or they can act as partners to long-standing customers who seek business protection. All parties will benefit from a partnership approach to the current crisis.”

Airmic consulted a wide group of members to inform its position statement and has called for seven important actions. These include the avoidance of last-minute and poorly communicated changes in underwriting policy, constructive dialogue in wording disputes, flexibility in cover and rebates for reduced risk exposure and a commitment to avoid COVID-19 exclusions on Directors & Officers policies.

“The insurance industry is at a critical juncture,” John Ludlow said. “Member surveys suggest the hardening market is already forcing businesses to look at alternative transfer options, and an ill-judged response to the pandemic could prove the trigger.

“We understand insurers are under stress but it is in the interests of all parties that we work together openly, constructively and collaboratively. For years, insurers have said they want to be business partners with our members. Now is the chance to put words into practice.”

The call for collaboration includes support for the creation of national catastrophic pooling and reinsurance mechanisms, similar to those already in place for flood and terrorism, but pooled themselves and embedded in embedded in broader national and international risk strategies.

Read the full Airmic statement here.