Insurers Move Into Lockdown as Covid-19 Fears Increase

As countries across the world continue to enact ever more draconian rules in an effort to battle the spread of Coronavirus insurance and workers across the London and international insurance and risk markets are feeling the impact.

Bars and restaurants are set to be shut in New York and Los Angeles this week, Casinos in Las Vegas are being closed. This follows similar moves in Spain. Belgium, and Italy, with Germany and Denmark shutting their boarders to international visitors and Israel also implementing strict travel conditions. In The UK the Government is set to announce further restrictions this week as the numbers of those infected continue to increase.

The impact has not been missed by insurers. Spain and Italy have said workers can leave their homes to go to work but many insurers and brokers have told staff to work remotely.

In London, free movement is still allowed but it hasn’t stopped insurers pre-empting issues.

Following Lloyd’s decision to close its underwriting room for the first time in 300 years on Friday for a single day, Lloyd’s is to put its staff on a rotating system with one third to work in the building, a third work from home, and a third at offices offsite.

The Lloyd’s Market Association has also told its staff to work from home until further notice.

Swiss Re has told its staff in London and a number of other centres around the world such as Singapore they should work from home and P&I Club Steamship Mutual have also told staff to work from home.

The International Underwriting Association will close its offices today to test its disaster recovery plans.

One underwriter told “We are in the midst of the work to finalise the 1 April renewals and we are now at the point where it is likely that parts of those discussions will now need to be had on the phone and via video calls.

“The London market has been talking about a move to electronic placement and processing of business and it may well be that this pandemic might be the catalyst for that to be delivered. If the UK bans the movement of people then the London market may have a real problem. It is no surprise that many firms are holding tests to see how business can be operated remotely.”