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Insurance industry brings the "good news" amid COVID-19

Insurance industry brings the "good news" amid COVID-19 | Insurance Business

Insurance industry brings the "good news" amid COVID-19

The coronavirus is widely recognised as the largest insurance challenge ever faced by the industry and the final cost of the losses continues to hang over the sector. Lloyd’s chief John Neal recently suggested that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be the most expensive event in history for the insurance industry, and new issues are arising daily regarding how much accountability insurers will face regarding coronavirus-related claims.  

In the face of this ever-increasing scrutiny on the insurance sector, however, it is important to emphasise how so many insurance professionals and firms from every corner of the market have pledged their financial support, their time, and their expertise to assist their clients. The insurance industry is no stranger to supporting ethical causes from the Insurance United Against Dementia drive to Ecclesiastical’s ‘Closer to You’ initiative to SEIB Insurance Broker’s Virtual Awards, but since the lockdown, many insurers and brokers have outdone themselves when it comes to providing support to their clients and the most vulnerable in society.

For example, when the Government first called for the UK’s lockdown to help fight the coronavirus, the team at JM Glendinning Insurance Brokers immediately implemented a full work from home policy for all its staff. The increased cyber exposure faced by businesses which are operating remotely has been a major concern during the pandemic and, to offset this for its clients, JM Glendinning is offering its policyholders access to a three-month cyber incident helpline courtesy of CFC Underwriting.

Read more: Travelers lead on limiting cyber exposure in light of the coronavirus pandemic

“Many businesses are working from home for the first time and many of them have had to make this change quickly without being able to think about the security implications,” explained Neil Forrest, MD (North East). “So, their cyber risk has increased, but understandably in the current climate they would probably balk at the thought of buying a brand-new insurance policy. So, this service offered to our customers with the assistance of CFC Underwriting gives them many of the benefits of cyber insurance without having to pay anything.”

Brents Insurance, a Chartered Insurance Broker operating in Brentwood, revealed several ways it has been able to support its clients during these challenging times. A client whose business involved imported watches and clocks recently discovered that the factory these were imported from in China has been repurposed to supply facemasks that meet all the relevant quality control criteria. Brents has agreed with the insurer concerned that they will provide cover for material damage and liabilities without a change of terms or premium.

As Brents provides services to many care homes and domiciliary care providers, this has also been an opportunity for the broker to contact as many of these as possible to let them know about this new stock of PPE which is coming into the UK. Brents highlighted its gratitude to NIG Insurance for working with them to help so many of its clients in this way.

Bravo Group also shared several stories about feats of personal fortitude and commitment to customer wellbeing, two of which came courtesy of Ethos Broking businesses, Lockyers and Thompson & Richardson. Sales director at Lockyers, Shaun Mallia was recently contacted by a client who revealed that one of their staff members, who had been working in Nigeria, had contracted COVID-19 and been placed in a detention centre with no medical care facing unsanitary surroundings and racial prejudice. To protect the mental and physical wellbeing of this individual, Mallia’s client wanted to fly his worker home immediately but were struggling to process the intricacies involved in this complex claim.

Mallia worked tirelessly fielding the in-depth questions required to manage this situation, liaising both with his client and with International SOS services in Nigeria. Though he faced several challenges throughout this process, after four days, hundreds of conference calls and indefatigable effort on Mallia’s part, the insurer agreed to repatriate the individual to his home in Scotland. Though it was not smooth sailing, the employee is now home and recovering in hospital. Having utilised his role as a trusted advisor to achieve this result, Mallia highlighted that he called on a true team effort across the entire group.

Tracy McGrath, from Thompson & Richardson, is another individual who went above and beyond for a customer. When McGrath was discussing a policy renewal with a client, she discovered that her client was struggling to find the gloves that she needed to provide care for her husband, who has dementia. McGrath immediately undertook an online search for this equipment via a local community Facebook page and pledged to personally deliver them to her client.

Meanwhile, speaking with Insurance Business, the senior VP - sales leader (southern region) at Marsh Commercial, Terry Edwards (pictured above) discussed the creation of the business’s ‘Book of Smiles’ initiative. Edwards is the brainchild of this production which will be filled with images of the smiling faces of colleagues, children and families at Marsh Commercial, and sent to care homes across the country to brighten up the day of residents during the lockdown.

“We wanted to create a different noise around COVID-19 to help people smile and think about those who may not have the kind of access and mobility that many of us are privileged to have on a daily basis, namely the elderly in care homes,” Edwards said.  “We therefore agreed to start a ‘Smiles’ campaign which would involve participation from children who are also stuck at home and cannot see their elderly relatives when they wish to.”

Edwards said that the resulting engagement from colleagues across the business was incredibly positive and even quite overwhelming. People may feel helpless in times like these but having the opportunity to make a difference means so much to so many.

“Our business is our people and how we treat them speaks volumes,” he continued. “We hope our Book of Smiles reflects the loyalty and respect we have for the families of our colleagues in the UK and beyond.”

The coronavirus has highlighted the capacity of societies and communities to work together for the common good and huge swathes of the insurance sector have risen to this challenge and seized this opportunity. From the measures that insurance companies have taken to protect their staff during this critical time to the work that these companies have down to provide support to their clients, the time is ripe for insurance companies to continue to prove their fundamental role as a force for societal good.