The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the largest economic loss events in history for companies and insurers alike. However, it’s not only the magnitude of the impact which is unprecedented. Claims trends and risk exposures are likely to evolve in both the mid- and long-term as a result of the pandemic. With the reduction in economic activity during lockdown phases, traditional property and liability claims have been subdued, most notably in the aviation and cargo sector, but also in many other industries with fewer accidents at work, on the roads and in public spaces, according to a new report Covid-19 – Changing Claims Patterns from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).
“The coronavirus outbreak has reduced risk in some areas while, at the same time, changing and heightening it in others. The wider changes in society and industry brought about and accelerated by the pandemic are likely to have a long-term impact on claims patterns and loss trends in the corporate insurance sector,” says AGCS Chief Claims Officer Thomas Sepp in an interview on AGCS’ website. “The growing reliance on technology, shift to remote working, reduction in air travel, expansion of green energy and infrastructure and a rethinking of global supply chains will all shape future loss trends for companies and their insurers.”
Estimates vary, but the insurance industry is currently expected to pay claims related to the pandemic of as much as $110bn in 2020 according to Lloyd’s. AGCS alone has reserved about €488mn (US$571mn) for expected Covid-19 related claims, especially for the cancellation of live events and the disruption of movie or film productions in the entertainment industry.
Surged and subdued
“We have seen claims in some lines of business, such as entertainment insurance, surge during Covid-19, while traditional property and liability claims have been subdued during lockdown periods,” says AGCS Global Head of Claims, Philipp Cremer. “There is still the potential for claims to occur as factories and businesses restart after periods of hibernation, and given the longer development patterns for third-party claims in casualty lines.”
Claims notifications from motor accidents, slips and falls or workplace injuries slowed as more people stayed at home, and with the temporary closure of many shops, airports and businesses during lockdowns across the world. AGCS also noticed a positive impact on US claims settlement from the suspension of courts and trials. Some claimants and plaintiffs have been more open to negotiating settlements out of court rather than opting to wait a long time until their case is scheduled – a trend also highlighted in another recent AGCS publication on liability loss trends. In general, claims activity is likely to pick up again following resumption of economic activity.
The AGCS report identifies the impact of the pandemic on claims trends in different lines of insurance and how they might evolve in future:
Property damage claims were not significantly impacted by Covid-19 as loss drivers such as weather are not correlated. However, as production lines restart and ramp up, this can exacerbate the risk of machinery breakdown and damage and even fire and explosion. “Restarting a factory is a stress test. We have already seen a few claims related to ramp-ups in the past few months – and there may be more to come”, says Raymond Hogendoorn, Global Head of Short-Tail Claims, AGCS. In addition, with fewer people potentially onsite, inspections and maintenance may be delayed or loss incidents such as a fire or escape of water may be noticed too late, increasing the severity of damage.
Covid-19 has caused business closures and disruptions globally – which often may not be covered in the absence of physical damage as trigger of coverage. However, the pandemic has impacted the settlement of standard business interruption (BI) claims in different ways. On one hand, factories in hibernation will not produce large BI claims, as many manufacturers, their customers and suppliers, either shut down or scale back production. When a US automotive supplier was hit by a tornado in spring, the resulting business interruption loss was lower than it would have been during normal operations. Conversely, containment measures during lockdowns can lead to longer and more costly disruptions as access restrictions prevent effective loss mitigation and prolong the reinstatement period, as a fire and explosion at a chemical plant in South Korea demonstrated.
Liability and Directors & Officers (D&O) Insurance
To date, AGCS has only seen a few liability claims which are Covid-19 related. However, liability claims are typically long-tail with a lag in reporting, so general liability and workers’ compensation claims related to Covid-19 may yet materialize. A number of outbreaks of coronavirus have been linked to high-risk environments such as gyms, casinos, care homes, cruise ships or food/meat processing plants.
A wave of insolvencies, as well as event-driven litigation, could be potential sources of D&O claims. To date, only a relatively small number of securities class action lawsuits related to Covid-19 have been filed in the United States, including suits against cruise ship lines that suffered outbreaks. The pandemic could trigger further litigation against companies and their directors and officers, if it is perceived boards failed to prepare adequately for a pandemic or prolonged periods of reduced income.
The aviation industry has seen few claims directly related to the pandemic to date. In a small number of liability notifications, passengers have sued airlines for cancellations or disruptions. Slip and fall accidents at airports – traditionally one of the most frequent causes of aviation claims – have declined with the massive reduction in global air traffic, which fell by a record 94% year-on-year in April 2020.
“Although a large proportion of the world’s airline fleet have been grounded loss exposures do not just disappear. Instead they change and can create new risk accumulations,” says Joerg Ahrens, Global Head of Long-Tail Claims at AGCS. For example, grounded aircraft might be exposed to damage from hurricanes, tornados or hailstorms. The risk of shunting or ground incidents also increases and can result in costly claims.
Long-term claims trends
Covid-19 is accelerating many trends such as a growing reliance on technology and rising awareness of the vulnerabilities of complex global supply chains. Going forward, many businesses are expected to review and de-risk their supply chains and build in more resilience. This could involve some reshoring of critical production areas because of disruption caused by the pandemic. Such a move would likely impact frequency of claims and the costs of any future business interruptions.
Meanwhile, the growth of home working means that companies may have lower property assets and fewer employees on site in future, but there would be corresponding changes in workers` compensation and cyber risks. During the pandemic cyber risk exposures have heightened, with reports of the number of ransomware and business email compromise attacks increasing. To date, AGCS has only seen a small number of cyber claims which are Covid-19 related however.
Digital claims handling
Covid-19 has also reinforced the need for digitalization of claims handling. Remote claims inspections and assessments for tornados, floods or major industry accidents are now possible through satellite, drone or image capture technology and tools such as MirrorMe. “Just a few years ago, claims processes were mostly manual and paper-based and many people could not have imagined handling claims remotely,” says Cremer. “Now technology plays a key role. AGCS’ cloud-based claims platform has passed the test of the coronavirus with our digital claims processes proving resilient throughout the lockdown. This, together with a strongly collaborative approach from our clients and brokers, has enabled our claims teams to handle a surge in claims and deliver expert service without disruption while working remotely.”
EFCC Arraign Insurance Brokers For N26bn PHCN Severance Benefit
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, arraigned Abiodun Waheed Hassan and his company, Bestworth
Insurance Brokers Limited, before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal
Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja on a five count charge of
alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the
tune of over Twenty Six Billion Naira (N26billion).
The defendant allegedly diverted humongous sums of money earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), into the corporate account of entities.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited on or about 15th January 2015, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being entrusted with certain property to wit:
the sum of N26,236,594,986.00 (Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and
Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred
and Eighty-six Naira only) paid into Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 from PHCN STAFF Severance Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did
commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by
dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N2,500,000,000.00( Two Billion
Five Hundred Million Naira only) thereof when you transferred the said
sum into Kakatar CE Limited’s Zenith Bank Account No.1012637660 and you
thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.”
Count Five states, “that you , Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited on or about 18th December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction
of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being
entrusted with certain property to wit: the sum of N26,236,594,986.00
(Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred
and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-six Naira only) paid
into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No.
1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N6,000,000,000.00 ( Six Billion Naira only) thereof when you
transferred the said sum into PJO Venture Limited’s Skye Bank Account
No.1771645235 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under
Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’, when the charges were read to him.
Based on his plea, prosecution counsel, Benjamin Lawan Menji, ask for a
trial date and prayed the Court to remand the defendant at the
Correctional Service pending the trail.
Counsel for the defendant, Ade Olusalako told the court that the defense
had filed a motion for bail of his client and pleaded for the remand of
the defendant in the custody of the EFCC pending the determination of his bail application on the grounds that “the defendant has been on administrative bail for almost five years and he has an underlining sickness”.
However, the prosecution counsel objected to the application. “As he
rightly submitted, we received the application but we shall vehemently
be opposing the application; we said vehemently so that the court will
know that we have a strong opposition. Moreover, our facility is
overstretched because of the issue of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the little
we have we are trying to manage them. The proper place of detention or
custody is the Correctional Service which the government has done its
best in providing”, Menji told the court.
However, Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021 for
hearing on the bail application and remanded defendant in EFCC custody.
Sovereign Trust Insurance Pays Claims From EndSARS Protests, Others Totalling N2.9B
Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc paid claims totaling N2, 900,626,054.21 to various insured spread across the country in 2020, in keeping faith with its promise to pay all genuine claims as and when due.
The company’s Spokesperson, Mr. Segun Bankole pointed out that the underwriting firm is committed to claims settlement as and when due beyond lips service. He stated that the claims experience in 2020 was quite interesting in the sense that the company had to settle some claims that emanated as a result of the civil commotion in the country occasioned by the EndSARS protests in major parts of the country.
He further said that a very significant number of customers have really come to appreciate the role of insurance in their everyday life and that accounted for the sum paid as claims in 2020.
The summary of the claims paid in 2020 shows that Motor had the highest figure of N948 million with energy Insurance ranking second with total claims settled to the tune of N802.3 million. Fire Insurance claims amounted to N562.8 million, while Marine & Aviation claims stood at N284.6 million. The total sum of N236.6 million was paid as claims on General Accident Policy, with Engineering insurance accounting for N66.4 million.
While commenting on the intent of the organisation as regards claims settlement, the Executive Director, Technical Operations, Mr. Jude Modilim had this to say, “there is no compromise to genuine claims settlement in Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc because the major focus of the company is to ensure that our teeming customers get to enjoy the benefits of taking out any form of insurance policy with us through prompt settlement of their claims when the need arises. That to us, is the only way to prove that we are well and alive to our responsibilities as an Underwriting Firm in the country. We intend to uphold this obligation and we will always continually strive to make good our promise.
In the same vein, the Managing Director/CEO of the organisation, Mr. Olaotan Soyinka also stated that the company has put in place a friendly-claim-process with the major aim of putting smiles on the faces of its various customers across the country by ensuring that claims are settled within the shortest period possible on completion of all necessary documentation.
Our commitment to uphold the tenets of our Vision and Mission has made the company one of the country’s most relevant and responsive insurance companies in the country. Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc is no doubt a formidable force to reckon with in the Nigerian Insurance landscape with a network of offices in all the major cities of the country buoyed by cutting-edge technology in delivering seamless and convenient insurance service to all teeming customers in the country and beyond.
$268b Losses From Natural Disasters Recorded In 2020, With 64% Uninsured
Aon plc has launched its global Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2020 Annual Report. The report evaluates the impact of global natural disaster events to identify trends, manage volatility and enhance resilience.
The report reveals that the 416 natural catastrophe events of 2020 resulted in economic losses of USD268 billion – 8% above the average annual losses for this century – as costs continue to rise due to a changing climate, more people moving into hazard-prone areas and an increase in global wealth. Of this total, private sector and government-sponsored insurance programmrs covered USD97 billion, creating a protection gap of 64%, which is the portion of economic losses not covered by insurance. This highlights the importance of addressing the underserved by ensuring that there is increased access to affordable insurance products in the future.
“The global response to the socioeconomic volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has increased focus on other systemic risks – particularly climate change – and is causing a fundamental reordering of business priorities. This report highlights the increasing likelihood of ‘connected extremes’ and reinforces that leading organisations of the future will be defined by their ability to manage the global implications of concurrent catastrophic events,” said Greg Case, CEO of Aon. “In a highly volatile world, risk remains ever present, is more connected and, as a result, is also more severe – and 2020 has underscored this reality. It has also emphasized the need for enhanced collaboration between the public and private sectors, which will be essential to close the rising protection gap and build resilience against natural catastrophes.”
During the year, more than 8,000 people lost their lives due to natural catastrophes. Tropical cyclone was the costliest peril, causing more than USD78 billion in direct economic damage. It was closely followed by flooding (USD76 billion) and severe convective storm (USD63 billion). From a climate perspective, NOAA cited 2020 as the world’s second-warmest since 1880 for land and ocean temperatures at +0.98°C (+1.76°F) above the 20th-century average.
Steve Bowen, Director and Meteorologist for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, commented: “The world continues to evolve as it is faced with new challenges around natural perils. While many private and public sector entities primarily focus on physical and human hazard risks, an increasing number of global regulative bodies are further pivoting towards how to handle emerging transitional and subsequent reputational risks. This is especially true as the financial and humanitarian risks surrounding climate-enhanced events become more evident on a daily basis. Focus at the corporate and federal levels will be critical around investments in risk mitigation, resilience, and sustainability as the landscape around climate change solutions continues to accelerate with renewed urgency.
Significant regional events during 2020 included:
- Costliest year on record for global severe convective storms led by historic U.S. derecho
- U.S. mainland endured a record-breaking 12 named storm landfalls, including six hurricanes
- Super Typhoon Goni struck the Philippinesas the strongest landfalling storm ever recorded globally at 195 mph
- Ciara became Europe’s costliest windstorm since Xynthia in 2010
- Drought conditions reduced agricultural crop yields in Brazil and Argentina, burning 30% of the Pantanal Region
The most widespread Yangtze River Basin floods since 1998 caused USD35 billion of economic damage in China’s monsoon season.