Australia and New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 over the next several months is likely to be “challenging,” and businesses will need to implement new health and safety requirements over the longer term, according to Gallagher Bassett (GB) manager for government and long-tail claims, Scott Newland.
With a second wave of the virus sweeping both countries, Newland says insurers and businesses are likely to be taking a “cautious approach” to all of their activities - and for insurers in particular, remote working and technological enhancement is going to be the key value proposition for both employees and clients.
“In terms of coming out over the next six months, I think it’s going to be incredibly challenging - especially as we’re seeing pockets of COVID-19 popping up and things going back into lockdown,” Newland commented.
“That will continue to slow recovery efforts, and there will be a really cautious approach from insurers and customers in terms of reopening.”
“Businesses will be making sure that they’re complying with health and safety and social distancing requirements,” he continued.
“I can see that being a slow burn over the longer term, and I certainly think practices will change. Some of the things we’ve picked up during these lockdowns will be adopted for the future, and I think a lot of businesses will continue to look at and revise their remote working capabilities off the back of some of the success they’ve had on that front.”
Businesses and individuals have been looking for some payback through insurance throughout the pandemic, but Newland says that travel claims have died down since the first lockdown and the imposition of travel restrictions. However, he says the overall claims volume for GB hasn’t changed - only shifted with rises and falls in claims across various products.
“For the business units that I look after, we certainly noticed an immediate spike in travel claims coming through,” Newland said.
“We also noticed spikes in claims for business interruption and event cancellation for both our government clients and in the general insurance space, and that’s a direct result of COVID.
“We’ve also noticed a slight dip in motor claims in our commercial books given the lockdown during March and April, but outside of that claims volumes remained largely steady - it’s just the mix within those particular portfolios which somewhat shifted and changed.”