Tag Archives: COVID-19 economic impact

P&C COVID-19 Wrap-up
The Path to Reopening

Just as it has played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the insurance industry will be integral to the economic recovery as businesses and communities reopen. 

Aon forms recovery coalition 

Re/insurance broker Aon has formed a coalition of companies and organizations to focus on aiding social and economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reinsurance News reports

Starting in Chicago, the coalition will create a model and framework to inform criteria and guidelines to help restart the economy worldwide, with the aim of scaling the work to other key geographies, including London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo. The coalition will work closely with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s and Mayor Lightfoot’s offices to ensure alignment with public health and city/state official recommendations. 

The broker believes this will help to assess impact and measurement of efforts, evaluate the latest technologies, and develop guidelines to help navigate the challenges businesses face as society reopens. 

“We have used our expertise to assist clients in maintaining operations and mitigating risk during the pandemic—and believe we have a responsibility to play a larger role in helping the private and public sector navigate the recovery,” said Aon CEO Greg Case. 

Initial coalition members include: Abbott, Accenture, Allstate, Beam Suntory, BMO Harris, CDW, CNA, ComEd, ConAgra, Exelon, Fortuna Brands, Hyatt, JLL, McDonald’s, Mondelez, Morningstar, Motorola Solutions, Sterling Bay, Ulta Beauty, United Airlines, Walgreens, Whirlpool, and Zurich. 

S&P panelists wary of post-COVID-19 headwinds 

A panel of property and casualty insurers at the S&P Global Ratings’ Annual Insurance Conference  raised concerns about the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reinsurance News reports

S&P analysts currently believe COVID-19 related losses will total between $15 billion and $30 billion for the U.S. P&C market alone over the next two years. 

The panelists agreed that coverage for pandemic-induced business interruptions and losses will be a complicated issue for the industry to face, even though viruses are generally not a covered peril for commercial properties. 

“I never envisioned managing through a global pandemic,” said Christopher Swift of The Hartford.  

“Clearly the challenge is how you are operating both internally and externally,” said W. Robert Berkley, Jr., of WR Berkley. “It calls for flexibility, but also for the ability to plan amid uncertainty.” 

Panelists said workers’ compensation claims due to COVID-19 illnesses could be an inflection point, though, as states scrutinize policies given the rising number of these claims. If coverage is expanded, insurers will need to evaluate this risk and price accordingly. 

Moderator Kevin Ahern, managing director and analytical manager, S&P Global Ratings, noted that the U.S. P&C market faces many headwinds, not just those related to COVID-19. These include competitive pressures, the pricing/underwriting/reinsurance environment, and evolving regulatory and legislative developments. 

Iowa Legislature approves COVID-19 liability shield 

Legislation headed to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk would provide liability limitations on potential COVID-19 lawsuits for a broad range of businesses and organizations — among them restaurants, retail establishments, meatpacking plants, churches, medical providers and senior care facilities — provided they followed public health guidance, Business Record reported
 
Senate File 2338, the COVID-19 Response and Back-to-Business Limited Liability Act, would prohibit individuals from filing a civil lawsuit against a business or health care organization unless it relates to a minimum medical condition (a diagnosis of COVID-19 that requires in-patient hospitalization or results in death) or involves an act that was intended to cause harm or that constitutes actual malice. 
 
The legislation would protect tenants, lessees and occupants of any premises — including any commercial, residential, educational, religious, governmental, cultural, charitable or health care facility — in which a person is invited in and is exposed to COVID-19.   

However, liability would extend to anyone who “recklessly disregards a substantial and unnecessary risk that the individual would be exposed to COVID-19,” or exposes the individual to COVID-19 through an act that constitutes actual malice or intentionally exposes the individual to COVID-19. 

The provisions, which would be retroactive to Jan. 1, also shield health care providers from liability for civil damages “for causing or contributing, directly or indirectly, to the death or injury of an individual as a result of the health care provider’s acts or omissions while providing or arranging health care in support of the state’s response to COVID-19.” 

Ill. workers comp measure becomes law 

Legislation signed into law in Illinois will provide worker compensation benefits for front-line and essential workers who contract COVID-19 on the job under certain conditions, Business Insurance reports

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed H.B. 2455, which will provide death benefits for first responders who were presumably infected with COVID-19 on duty and also revises state code to expand unemployment benefits and enhance sick pay and leave for workers who contract the virus. 

Under the law, employers can rebut claims under certain conditions, including if they can demonstrate the workplace was following current public health guidelines for two weeks before the employee claims to have contracted the virus; provide proof the employee was exposed by another source outside the workplace; or that the employee was working from home for at least 14 days before the claimed injury. 

The law also says first responders, including police officers and firefighter who die after testing positive for COVID-19 or its antibodies, are entitled to death benefits. However, the virus must have been determined to have been contracted between March 9 — the first day of Illinois’ governor-mandated stay-at-home order — and Dec. 31, 2020. Under the law, the date of contraction is either the date of diagnosis with COVID-19 or the date the first responder was unable to work due to symptoms that were later diagnosed as related to COVID-19 infection, whichever occurred first. 

CORONAVIRUS WRAP-UP: Data and Visualizations (4/20/2020)

The coronavirus crisis continues to generate data that can be valuable for understanding and decision making. Below are just a few resources that may be of interest to insurers and the people and businesses they serve.

COVID-19 Mortality Projections for U.S. States
Graphs from the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium show reported and projected deaths per day across the United States and for individual states.
The Verisk COVID-19 Projection Tool
The Verisk COVID-19 Projection Tool has been made available to enhanceunderstanding of the potential number of worldwide COVID-19 infections and deaths. It provides an interactive dashboard that leverages the AIR Pandemic Model.
How State Insurance Departments Are Responding to COVID-19
This interactive map from PC360 highlights bulletins and procedures released by state insurance departments as of April 15, 2020.
Tracking U.S. Small and Medium Business Sentiment During COVID-19
Small and medium-size businesses account for roughly 44% of the U.S. economy and provide employment to about 59 million people. McKinsey is tracking their sentiment to gauge how their views on economic activity, employment, and financial behavior—as well as their expectations about financial institutions and public authorities—change as a result of ongoing public and private interventions.

CORONAVIRUS WRAP-UP: PROPERTY AND CASUALTY (4/15/2020)

Litigation
Legal Experts Prepare for Battles Over Business Interruption Cover
Travelers Sued Over Coronavirus Coverage
Meal Delivery Services Sued Over Restaurant Prices Amid Pandemic
Pandemic Relief
Swiss Re Donates CHF 5 Million to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Axis Capital, Swiss Re Pledge Donations to Pandemic Relief
Australia’s QBE to Raise $825 Million to Counter Coronavirus Crisis
CA Workers Comp Fund Creates Virus Relief Programs for Policyholders
Coronavirus Litigation Against Nursing Homes Takes Off in Tennessee
Regulation and Legislation
AL Regulator Eases Process for Auto Insurers to Reduce Policyholder Premiums
CA Insurers Ordered to Give Refunds
Politicians Push Insurers to Resolve Mounting Disputes Over COVID-19 Losses

Related:
Risk Manager is Suddenly a Hot Job
How Homeowners Insurance Claims Have Changed During the Pandemic

Battle Plays Out
Over Coronavirus
and Business Insurance

The Financial Times reports that U.S. lawmakers and lawyers are considering efforts to force insurance companies to pay claims related to the coronavirus pandemic. Congress also is debating the need for legislation to require insurers to cover costs from business interruption caused by the pandemic. U.S. insurers contend that their business interruption policies exclude coverage for pandemics and that making such coverage retroactive would cause the industry to collapse. Joseph Wayland, general counsel for the U.S. insurer Chubb, said the losses would overwhelm insurers’ ability to pay and that forcing these companies to take responsibility for risks they never underwrote nor charged for represented an existential threat. Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chair of Lloyd’s of London, agreed that such a revision to insurance contracts would jeopardize the industry.

A Wall Street Journal editorial argues that forcing costs of the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic upon insurers would cause long-term economic damage unless a federal backstop is put in place. The editorial says if business interruption insurance “can be stretched and exclusions nullified during a crisis” insurers will conclude that such coverage is not worth the risk and will drop the product.

Triple-I: Insurers are engaged in COVID-19 crisis

A Triple-I Fact Sheet, Insurers Are Engaged In the COVID-19 Crisis, outlines how the industry’s financial stability allows insurers to keep the promises made to policyholders in the event of tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires. It also notes how insurers are contributing to COVID-19 related charities, such as food banks and medical supplies.

“Pandemics are an extraordinary catastrophe that can impact nearly every economy in the world, so it is hard to predict and manage the risk,” said Sean Kevelighan, Triple-I CEO. “Pandemic-caused losses are excluded from standard business interruption policies because they impact all businesses, all at the same time.”


APCIA on how insurers are helping customers

David A. Sampson, president and CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), described in a statement how property/casualty insurers are working “to proactively help consumers in this time of crisis.”

Examples include temporary arrangements for:

  • Flexible payment solutions for families, individuals, and businesses;
  • Suspending premium billing for small-business insureds, such as restaurants and bars;
  • Waiving premium late fees;
  • Pausing cancellation of coverage for personal and commercial lines due to non-payment and policy expiration;
  • Wage replacement benefits for first responders and medical personnel who are quarantined;
  • Suspending personal auto exclusions for restaurant employees who are transitioning to meal delivery services using their personal auto policy as coverage;
  • Adding more online account and claims services for policyholders;
  • Shifting more resources to anti-fraud and cyber security units, in recognition that bad actors  prey on victims during times of crisis; and
  • Suspending in-person loss control visits and inspections.

On the subject of exclusions for contagious diseases in business interruption policies, the statement said:

 “If policymakers force insurers to pay for losses that are not covered under existing insurance policies, the stability of the sector could be impacted, and that could affect the ability of consumers to address everyday risks that are covered by the property casualty industry.”

It went on to say:

 “APCIA’s preliminary estimate is that business continuity losses just for small businesses with 100 or fewer employees could fall between $220-383 billion per month. The total surplus for all of the U.S. home, auto, and business insurers combined to pay all future losses is roughly only $800 billion, with the combined capital of the top business insurance underwriters representing only a fraction of that amount.”

Related articles:

New York introduces bill on pandemic-related business interruption claims

Policyholders finding out that business interruption insurance doesn’t cover coronavirus

P/C Insurers Put a Price Tag on Uncovered Coronavirus Business Interruption Losses

More coronavirus insurance cover than people think, says Lloyd’s CEO

Standard insurance for Florida businesses likely won’t cover COVID-19 losses

French Laundry restaurateur Thomas Keller sues insurer for coronavirus losses



Momentum for pandemic backstop?

Business Insurance reports that, according to sources inside the federal government, progress is being made on legislation that would provide a federal backstop for pandemic risk insurance and that a related bill could be introduced within the next 30 days. According to the sources, the bill would set up a pandemic risk insurance program that would be similar to the federal terrorism insurance program. They also report that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, is circulating a draft bill including the proposal.

Related articles:

Pandemic Risk Insurance Act – A TRIA-Inspired Model to Backstop the Business Interruption Insurance Market in Wake of COVID-19

As Business Losses Mount, Pandemic Backstop Discussions Grow

Keeping on Top
of Coronavirus
Information Overload

As quickly as the coronavirus is spreading, so is the amount of published information available to help insurers and their customers navigate this confusing environment. But separating information from misinformation and the truly useful from the merely “nice to know” can be a challenge.

As a service to our readers, Triple-I Blog is aggregating and sharing some of these resources. We’re gathering links and descriptions into blog posts like this one and have established a page on our website – COVID-19: Issues and Impacts – that categorizes the posts and makes them easier to find.


Brian Fannin, a research actuary at the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), published a paper called COVID-19: A Property/Casualty Perspective to “start the conversation about what happens next.”

The paper addresses, among others, the following questions:

  • To what extent, if any, was P/C risk underpriced?
  • Given the dramatic cessation of economic activity, what lines may have been overpriced? Was such a scenario foreseeable?
  • How will ratemaking models respond to the changes in coverage wording that will undoubtedly appear in the future?
  • How can actuaries assist in the development of viable coverages to meet new demand in the market?
  • Do actuaries have any advice about communication of risk and how best to mitigate it?

The National Council on Compensation Insurers (NCCI) has published an article COVID-19 and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know to share its answers to questions NCCI has received regarding COVID-19 and the impact it may have on the workers comp industry.

As part of its effort to provide information on workers comp legislative activity, NCCI also monitors workers compensation-related bills in all jurisdictions and the federal government. You can follow such activity here.


On the non-P/C side, The New York Times published Coronavirus May Add Billions to the Nation’s Health Care Bill, which warns that health insurance premiums could rise as much as 40 percent next year as employers and insurers confront the additional costs associated with the pandemic.

The Times cites an analysis by Covered California that finds:

  • One-year projected costs in the national commercial market range from $34 billion to $251 billion for testing, treatment, and care specifically related to COVID-19;
  • Potential COVID-19 costs for 2020 could range from about 2 percent of premium to over 21 percent if the full first-year costs of the epidemic had been priced into the premium;
  • Health insurers are setting rates for 2021. If they must recoup 2020 costs, price for the same level of costs next year, and protect their solvency, 2021 premium increases to individuals and employers from COVID-19 alone could range from 4 percent to more than 40 percent.

Two recently published pieces provide historical comparisons of COVID-19 with the 1918 global flu pandemic:

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has published Pandemics Depress the Economy, Public Health Interventions Do Not: Evidence from the 1918 Flu, which looks at the long-term economic impact of the 1918 “Spanish Flu.” It finds that, while the decreased economic activity caused by the pandemic outlasted it by years, some societies took steps that softened the economic impact and lessened the death toll.

National Geographic has published How Some Cities Flattened the Curve During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which shows how social distancing saved thousands of American lives during the last great pandemic. The piece includes some great data visualizations depicting how the flu played out from city to city.


Consulting firm PwC has published COVID-19: What Business Leaders Should Know that provides advice on six key areas businesses should be focusing on:

  • Crisis management and response
  • Workforce
  • Operations and supply chain
  • Finance and liquidity
  • Tax and trade
  • Strategy and brand

All of these areas are relevant to risk management and insurance.


Stay tuned – we’ll be continuing our reporting on and curation of COVID-19-specific information as long as the need for it continues.

Triple-I Webinar Covers COVID-19’s Economic and Health Implications

The Insurance Information Institute invited its members to a webinar titled “Covid-19’s Impact on Health, the Economy and Growth” on March 5 at 11:00 a.m. EST presented by Triple-I Vice President and Senior Economist Michel Léonard, PhD, CBE.

Dr. Lèonard will discuss the following key points:

• Economic impact likely to continue into Q3/Q4 2020 and 2021
• Could reduce global growth by as much as 1 percent and delay recovery by up to 12 months
• Fiscal and monetary policy, rates cuts, unlikely to be effective
• Insurance industry to see higher claims, reduced premium growth

He will also preview the Global Macro and Industry Outlook report before it is made available to the public.

To find out more about the benefits of Triple-I membership click here.

Uncertainty Clouds Business Risks Related
to Covid-19 Coronavirus


Supply-chain disruptions due to Covid-19 could affect health care worldwide and lead to health, travel, life, workers comp, business interruption, and other claims. 


The Covid-19 coronavirus death toll has passed 1,300 and will likely continue to climb, with more than 60,000 cases reported worldwide. The loss of life and costs of identifying and caring for the sick are compounded by the following considerations:

China, where the virus originated and remains most prevalent, is the world’s largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In 2018, Politico reports, citing U.S. Commerce Department data, the country accounted for:

  • 95 percent of ibuprofen imports
  • 91 percent of hydrocortisone imports
  • 70 percent of acetaminophen imports
  • 40-45 percent of penicillin imports, and
  • 40 percent of heparin imports. 

China also is a major supplier of disposable medical devices like syringes and gloves, as well as surgical equipment. Michael Alkire, president of healthcare supply chain consultant Premier, told Modern Healthcare it’s hard to estimate how many of these goods come from China.

“There are critical pieces of upstream supply chain information that are unknown, including raw material suppliers, third party and contract manufacturers, sterilizers and more,” Alkire said. “Because reporting of this information is completely voluntary, most won’t do so until it becomes an industry-wide expectation and best practice.”

Any supply-chain disruptions could affect health care worldwide and lead to liability claims. 

“The good news is that most of the people dealing with China tend to have inventory,” said James Bruno, president of consulting firm Chemical and Pharmaceutical Solutions. “But if this doesn’t straighten out in the next three months, we could have some real problems with supply disruption.”

Health-care facilities and other business can become points of infection. Illnesses contracted in such locations can lead to workers comp claims, as well as claims alleging insufficient care was taken to protect customers and vendors from infection. Health workers who contract the virus on the job would likely be eligible for workers comp benefits, though compensability will be determined by the individual situation, policy wording, and laws of the relevant jurisdictions.

U.S. manufacturers rely on China to supply many industrial components and as a market for their own products. If the virus leads to closures of major ports, businesses in the affected countries could cancel contracts with or default on payments to their foreign counterparties. Contract frustration insurance may cover costs associated with such cancellations, depending on circumstances and the terms of their policies

Auto manufacturing could be an early industry to suffer. China shipped nearly $35 billion of auto parts in 2018, according to United Nations data. About $20 billion of Chinese parts were exported to the United States alone in 2018, according to the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. Supply disruptions lasting more than a few months could add momentum to rising auto repair costs.

Event and travel cancellations hurt local and national economies. Concerts and other public events in China have been cancelled over the virus, but its impact on tourism isn’t confined to that country. The contagion emerged right before Lunar New Year – when many Chinese typically travel in China and abroad.

China accounts for more than 10 percent of global tourism, Wolfgang Arlt, founder of the China Outbound Research Institute, said in an interview with National Public Radio. While the most popular destinations for Chinese visitors are in Asia, Arlt said, Paris, Sydney, and New York City also are favorites. That helped make China the biggest international tourism spender in 2018, pumping $277 billion into the travel industry, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Due to China’s outsized role in global tourism, Covid-19 could affect travel, hospitality, and tourism-dependent businesses around the world. With cruise ships quarantined after the disease was detected, cruise lines may have to deal with longer-term impacts on their businesses, as well as immediate ones related to passenger care and vessel decontamination.

Past outbreaks, such as SARS, Ebola, and Zika, have led many insurers to exclude infectious diseases from coverage in their policies. While specific policies for infectious diseases have been developed, companies reportedly have been slow to purchase them.