As well as the devasting personal losses, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the global economy. We are now facing a significant recessionary pressure globally, with a slow recovery predicted.
And the insurance industry is no exception.
To help navigate these monumental changes, we have compiled a report on: ‘Responding to a market in flux — what does the pandemic mean for the insurance industry?’ Our commentary considers the macro-dynamics created by COVID-19 and how they will potentially disrupt current operating “norms” and alter the future insurance landscape.
Based on this research, we will be sharing a blog series over the coming weeks addressing a variety of issues raised.
In this initial post, we take a top-line look at how this unprecedented year is transforming the market, consumer behaviours and our own organisations —and fundamentally altering our norms.
What is the new “norm”?
There’s no doubt COVID-19 will bring about lasting change for the insurance industry. While it may be still too early to describe with clarity what form our “new norm” will take, the developments that will shape it are evident.
The pandemic is already shifting our industry’s dial on multiple fronts, as insurance organisations (and their clients) rethink business strategies, forecasts and objectives in response to shifting priorities, a volatile marketplace and changes in customer demand.
Here are some of our specific predictions for developments within the insurance industry:
- A decline in GWP — due to diminished exposures from a contracted global marketplace.
- Greater pressure on profitable underwriting — due to reduced investment returns.
- Rates will begin/continue to harden across numerous lines — while insurers reassess capacity allocation as the profitability of some lines comes under scrutiny.
- The introduction of more rigid terms and conditions — with more prescriptive wordings to remove uncertainty/ensure coverage accurately reflects the specific exposure submitted.
- Higher deductibles — while the scope of cover may contract.
- Increased onus to demonstrate effective risk management practices/mitigation measures — to secure cover/complete renewal negotiations at acceptable terms.
- Continued class actions emerging out of the complexities of a COVID-19 world — and increases in fraudulent activity/claims exaggeration due to economic hardship.
- An increased burden of proof/stricter causation examination requirements — with insurers keen to ensure insureds have met the risk management requirements stipulated in the original contract terms.
In such a demanding new environment, the insurance process itself could be disrupted at any stage – from policy inception through to claim resolution. It is clear transitioning to a new market norm will be extremely challenging. However, it’s important to remember that considered planning and close collaboration will help make the transition as smooth as possible.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the societal impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and how these impacts are providing the context in which a new insurance market norm will emerge.