Date: Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 by Jim Sherwood.
This is the second edition of Global Insurance Law Connect’s RADAR report, in which we try to capture the important legal, regulatory and socio-economic issues facing insurers in each country that we operate. However, this year is different. Shortly after our members drafted this year’s report, the world was shocked by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 will introduce a completely new set of priorities for insurers. Already, we have seen a huge impact across multiple lines of cover. The immediate issues arose around business interruption insurance, where pandemic cover was in some cases valid, and in some cases not. In several countries, notably the US, there have been calls for insurers to be forced to pay many more claims by retrospectively rewriting insurance contracts. The question of what is and isn’t covered has generated, and will continue to generate, legal activity across the world.
Event cancellation is another contentious issue, with every major sporting event in 2020 cancelled or put on hold. This includes the largest sporting event in the world, the Olympics, whose re-scheduling has generated a near $1bn loss event for insurers.
Meanwhile, beyond the industry, the economic shock of the COVID-19 shutdown is causing a contraction in jobs and GDP across the globe that is completely unprecedented. While governments struggle to support workers in their local economies, many businesses are failing and this will impact insurers through D&O cover and investor litigation.
Of course, all of this pales into insignificance compared to the lives that are being lost in the pandemic, stretching the health systems of every country almost to breaking point. Against this rapidly moving backdrop, we found it impossible in April 2020 to quantify every impact that COVID-19 will have. We have decided that we will tackle the specific legal issues raised by coronavirus in a separate report, and we look forward to sharing that with you in the coming months.
Meanwhile, other market forces still exist, some of them hugely significant in their own right; and some, such as climate change, brought into new focus by the notable climate impact of the global economic shutdown. These issues remain important and are the focus of this year’s RADAR report.
GILC remains, as ever, a network of like-minded specialist firms, many with a unique and well-recognised expertise in insurance law in their own markets, as this report demonstrates. Whatever the environment, we continue to provide clients with unrivalled expertise and a personal service that we think few other networks can match.
We hope that our guide is a useful country-by-country reference point, and I am delighted to be able to share it with you.
Jim Sherwood, Chairman
Our vision and focus is to use the strength and depth of our company to help our clients reduce the time and money they spend on managing risk. If you need a global group of legal advisers, delivering a creative, commercial and specialist service, talk to Global Insurance Law Connect today.
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