Aussie underwriter to offer ‘world first’ Ebola cover

by IBO 10 Nov 2014

Aussie underwriter to offer ‘world first’ Ebola cover

Brooklyn Underwriting has announced that it has released “the world’s first business interruption policy for an Ebola related shut-down".

Brooklyn has teamed up with Ark Syndicate 4020 and Prospect Insurance Brokers at Lloyd’s to provide access to the cover that focuses on “places of public gathering".

Business Development Executive at Brooklyn, Tim Fairbrother, spoke enthusiastically about the partnership and the launch of the product in Australia.

“Brooklyn are always looking for new opportunities for our broking partners. We have been working with Lloyd’s for over a decade and have formed some excellent relationships and niche product lines.

“When the opportunity came up to work with Prospect and Ark in delivering this product to the Australia market we jumped at the opportunity.

Fairbrother continued, saying that demand for the new product has been strong since its launch last week.

“We received a lot of interest in this product on the day we launched to the market.

“Private hospitals and schools plus a handful of other businesses like restaurants have shown interest.

“I think the key here is perceived exposure vs pricing. If the client sees a genuine risk to their business and see value in the insurance purchase then take-up will grow.”

In terms of policy-specifics, Fairbrother outlined what the new line will offer.

“The product will pay a per-day benefit for a period of 30 days and we have limits from $250,000 up to $5 million for the larger risks (following a forced shut-down) plus mandatory evacuation expenses as well.

“Places of ‘public gathering’ are our focus such as medical centres, hotels, shopping centres, bars and gyms for example.”

With this first Ebola coverage launched in Australia, other market players may also begin coverage for a possible outbreak and Fairbrother sees a definite gap in the market for Brooklyn and their partners.

“Following the outbreak of the Avian Flu a few years ago most tradition policies (like the ISR) excluded quarantinable diseases as defined by the act and this included Ebola. With a serious gap in the market, and a genuine exposure, the development of this product has been perfectly timed.”

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, it is still a case of watch and wait, says Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) CEO Tim Grafton.

"Our understanding is that insurers aren't currently applying any special restrictions to Ebola coverage or claims at this stage, however, the situation is being carefully monitored," he said.