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View the preliminary results of the A2ii Covid-19 survey here.


The A2ii team has put together the following list of country-responses, resources and news related to COVID-19. Please check back for updates, and make sure to register for the A2ii-IAIS webinar series on the pandemic and implications for insurance supervisors - for further information, go to our events page.

Please share any updates or new information with us by emailing secretariat@a2ii.org, by tagging Access to Insurance Initiative on LinkedIn or on Twitter @a2ii_org.

Follow the links from the lists for specific information or scroll down for the complete overview. 

Last updated: 14 September 2020

AM Best Analysis and Commentary

BFA Global 7-Country Survey

CGAP Covid-19 (Coranavirus) - Insights For Inclusive Finance

covid-finclusion.org forum

FinDev Gateway COVID-19 Resources

FSI: Insurance regulatory measures

IIF Global Policy Response Tracker

Coronavirus Resource Center

IOPS Members: measures taken

OECD Consumer Protection responses

OECD assessment of insurance coverage & gaps for Covid-19

OECD Policy Responses

Overseas Development Institute

WEF report on Covid-19 risk outlook

Yale Program on Financial Stability

 

Recursos en español

Los podcasts del Toronto Centre

Noticias

Asian Insurance Review

Artemis.bm

Commercial Risk. 4

The Economist

Financial Times

Insurance Journal 4

MEIR Insurance Review.. 4

Reinsurance News

 

Video: Insights and inspiration on how insurers are coping with COVID-19

. 4

 

Key News Articles

Click here for the full list of key news articles

How the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the world’s poor

 

 

 

 

A2ii-IAIS Consultation Call webinar series on the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and implications for insurance supervisors. 3

Am Best Webinars

Cenfri: Exploring the impact of Covid-19 on livelihoods in Africa

InsurTech for Good initiative

. 3International Insurance Society

Microinsurance Network 

MFW4A

Toronto Centre webcasts/podcasts

Big Data

Business

Catastrophe Bonds

Climate. 13

Contracts. 14

Digital Finance

Digital Payment Providers

Digitalisation. 14

Impact of COVID on Gender

Inclusive Insurance 

Informal Economy. 15

Microinsurance

MSMEs/SMEs

Parametric Insurance

Post-Covid

Public-Private Partnerships. 15

Regulation. 15

Reinsurance

Technology

 

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Resources and General News

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AM Best Analysis and Commentary

To address the effects of COVID-19 on the insurance industry, we are developing stress tests to assess the impact of the pandemic and its secondary effects on our rated insurers. We are closely monitoring the financial impact on rated entities and will continue to provide updates on this rapidly changing situation.

Please visit this page regularly for the latest AM Best analysis and commentary: http://www.ambest.com/about/coronavirus.html

BFA Global 7-Country Survey

Impact of COVID-19 on financial lives, including financial resilience, in 7 countries

https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/1yyG5QHGV-v-bxw6pJNZvwtqnIfCLj-7q/page/rw0JB

Early findings

Taking the COVID-19 temperature in emerging markets: A dipstick survey to draw early insights about impact on Livelihoods

CGAP - Covid-19 (Coranavirus) - Insights For Inclusive Finance

Blog, lessons from previous crises.

9 June blog - How Is the Pandemic Affecting Agents? Here’s What Providers Tell Us

covid-finclusion.org

A forum for the financial inclusion sector to discuss Covid-19

FinDev Gateway COVID-19 Resource Hub (from CGAP)

Data tracker, weekly updates, blog, discussions, papers

Global community response list

FSI Brief no. 4: Insurance regulatory measures in response to Covid-19

Download the PDF here

Highlights
• Currently, insurers are more likely to experience losses from financial market volatility than from higher insurance claims arising from Covid-19. Few insurance supervisors have seen a need to strengthen or adjust prudential requirements to insulate insurers from current financial market uncertainties.
• So far, authorities have responded mainly by taking measures to provide operational relief to insurers from regulatory and supervisory requirements so that they can continue providing insurance services. These measures will also help insurers to enhance risk monitoring of their Covid19 financial exposures.
• Some authorities have set out expectations for insurers to conserve capital through prudent exercise of dividend and variable remuneration policies. The aim is to enhance their resilience against huge uncertainties from potential Covid-19 fallout. Other capital-related measures should relieve
supervisory pressures and reduce the tendency of insurers to manage their investments in a procyclical manner. These measures include: extending the supervisory intervention ladder, triggering the countercyclical lever and recalibrating capital requirements.
• The far-reaching impact of Covid-19 calls for sustained vigilance by both supervisors and insurers. In the post-pandemic phase, the extraordinary measures currently warranted will need to be unwound through a carefully crafted exit strategy that preserves sound risk management practices and protects policyholders’ interests.

IIF Global Policy Response Tracker

Download latest version here: https://www.iif.com/covid-19

IOPS Members measures taken to address the COVID-19 crisis

Information from IOPS members and other relevant supervisory authorities in response to the current situation, to help financial institutions and consumers from the private pension sector to face the consequences of this major crisis

Microinsurance Network

16 July 2020 survey: Responses to COVID-19: The Scope for Hope

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Coronavirus Resource Center

Find US state actions taken in response to the COVID 19 pandemic that impact insurance. Use the category menu to search by insurance topic and further sort by state, type of action, and/or line of insurance.

OECD: Financial Consumer Protection responses to the Covid-19 crisis

Policy makers and public authorities from around the globe are taking action, providing guidance and recommending measures to help address the collective challenge caused by the coronavirus crisis COVID-19 that is affecting all countries in 2020.

We are sharing information from participants in the G20/OECD Task Force on Financial Consumer Protection and public authorities in other jurisdictions in response to the current situation, to help financial consumers and financial services providers deal with the consequences of this major crisis.

Click here to visit.

OECD: Initial assessment of insurance coverageand gaps for tackling COVID-19 impacts

Click here to view the PDF.

OCED Policy Responses

Click here to view all policy responses.

Highlight: Responding to the COVID-19 and pandemic protection gap in insurance

 

Overseas Development Institute

Latest research and analysis on the implications of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.

WEF report on Covid-19 risk outlook - a preliminary mapping of emerging risks:

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_COVID_19_Risks_Outlook_Special_Edition_Pages.pdf

Yale Program on Financial Stability

Blogs, Analyses of Specific Intervention Types --  https://som.yale.edu/faculty-research-centers/centers-initiatives/program-on-financial-stability/covid-19-crisis

Coronavirus Response Tracker - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s6EgMa4KGDfFzcsZJKqwiH7yqkhnCQtW7gI7eHpZuqg/edit#gid=0

Purpose: This tracker follows interventions by central banks, fiscal authorities, and organizations aimed at restoring financial stability. The tracker will also highlight proposals from people and institutions outside of government.  

 

Recursos en español


Los podcasts del Toronto Centre

Ep. #22 – COVID-19 y Estabilidad Financiera: El caso de la Supervisión de Seguros

Ep. #21 – Crisis Económica por COVID-19- Retos y Enseñanzas para los Supervisores Financieros

Noticias

19 de marzo - Sin seguro y vulnerable: cómo la pandemia de coronavirus está afectando a
los pobres del mundo - MICROINSURANCE NETWORK

 

General News

Websites:

Asian Insurance Review

Artemis.bm

Commercial Risk

The Economist

Financial Times

Insurance Journal

MEIR Insurance Review

Commercial Risk Online

Reinsurance News

 

 

Key News Articles

May - COVID-19: The Great Reset - This essay looks back at the main themes of Insurance Futures, after what we call ‘The Great Reset’. We explore geopolitics, climate change, financial stability and trade. We take another look at cities, sustainability and radical innovation.

28 May - Designing insurance for the next pandemic (Financial Times)

24 Apr - Coronavirus to be largest industry loss ever: Chubb’s Greenberg & Lloyd’s Neal

26 Mar - Willis develops pandemic tracker to help clients assess P&C exposures

19 Mar - Uninsured and vulnerable: how the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the world’s poor (MicroInsurance Network)

 

 

12 Mar - Why ins­urance cover rarely extends to epi­de­mics - Many companies are complaining about the cost of the coronavirus crisis. Losses of this nature are usually not insured as the consequences of a pandemic are hard to calculate. Besides, the insurers are already liable through other business lines

24 Feb - In the Regulatory Hot Zone: How NAIC’s Historical Data Can Inform the Insurance Sector’s Response to Coronavirus"I recently went through the NAIC archives to see what I could learn about pandemics and their effect on the insurance industry. NAIC’s commitment to studying the influence of pandemics on the insurance industry goes back nearly 150 years..." (LinkedIn article)

  • Read article in French & Spanish
  • Microinsurance provides a degree of protection for the world’s most low-income and vulnerable populations, but we already know that inclusive insurance penetration rates are alarmingly low in developing economies. The current coronavirus pandemic will only make things worse for them.
  • Most obviously, health insurance can help with hospital bills, medicines or cash to replace lost income. In Kenya, after initial reports that some health policies - which typically exclude pandemics - would not cover coronavirus-related medical costs, the government’s Insurance Regulatory Authority has stepped in to ensure payments will be made. Indian insurers have gone out of their way to reassure life policyholders that nominees of individuals who die from coronavirus will get the sum assured, even though many life products exclude coronavirus on the grounds that it is not classified as a ‘critical illness’. “Lots of policies have had exclusions placed in them in the last 10 years due to [insurers’] experience with flu-type outbreaks,” says Michelle Crorie, a partner at law firm Clyde & Co.

Webinars and Podcasts

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News by Topic

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Big Data

How insurers can use big data to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

Business


BUSINESS AND COVID-19: SUPPORTING THE MOST VULNERABLE - RESPONSE FRAMEWORK

Jane Nelson, Director, Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School
and Zahid Torres-Rahman, CEO, Business Fights Poverty 

Catastrophe Bonds

6 July - World Bank shelves plan for PEF 2.0 & further pandemic cat bonds: Report

14 Apr - World Bank pandemic bonds will be triggered if virus cases escalate in developing world

23 Mar - The payout from the World Bank issued pandemic catastrophe bonds, as well as the pandemic risk-linked swaps that were issued at the same time, may reach just under $196 million in total, if the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak triggers the financial instruments.

The impact from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has more than surpassed the levels needed to trigger the instruments, but a number of factors need to be calculated and clarified before a payout would be deemed due.

As the world grapples to control the coronavirus outbreak, with tragic scenes occurring in many countries around the world, this arrangement looks set to come good and deliver on its promises as a source of additional capacity to help poorer nations in their response at a time when a pandemic is worsening.

In total, the payout looks like to be just below $196 million, with some $132.5 million coming from the IBRD CAR 111-112 pandemic catastrophe bonds and another almost $46 million being funded by the triggering of pandemic risk-linked swaps that match the terms and conditions of the pandemic bonds.

That funding, if triggered, will be disbursed to the World Bank housed Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and will be used to help some of the poorer nations most at need in their response to the worsening global coronavirus outbreak

 

 

Climate

5 May - Lessons from Covid-19 could help with climate change 

Contracts

25 Mar-COVID-19:Understanding the legal risk landscape             

The COVID-19 pandemic is radically altering commercial expectations, creating legal risks and uncertainty for existing contractual relationships.

It may be possible for a party to be excused from the proper performance of a contract, depending on the scope, meaning and effect of a force majeure provision, the application of doctrines such as frustration at common law (or statutory equivalents in jurisdictions across Asia, including mainland China) and other mechanisms, such as termination, material adverse change or change in law.

The current market dislocation can be expected to give rise to significant disputes focusing on the circumstances in which contracts end, so parties should be extra vigilant about the consequences of premature or wrongful termination.

 

Cyber Risk

26 Mar - Remote working in Covid-19 pandemic will spike cyber risk, warns Zurich

24 Mar - Beazley reports 131% ransomware spike and warns Covid-19 will heighten cyber risk

 

Digital Finance

Digital Finance & The COVID-19 Crisis
University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2020/017
 

Abstract
The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is putting unprecedented strain on markets, governments, businesses and individuals. The human, economic and financial costs are increasing dramatically, with potentially huge impact on developing countries and emerging market countries in addition to developed countries and regions. Across all of these, the greatest toll is likely to fall on those least able to bear it, with terrible damage to human development across the world.

This paper examines how the digital financial infrastructure that emerged in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis is being, and can be, leveraged to overcome the immediate challenges presented by the pandemic and manage the impending economic fallout. The origins of the 2008 crisis and current crisis are different: 2008 was a financial crisis spilling over into the real economy. 2020 is a health and geopolitical crisis, spilling over simultaneously into financial markets and the real economy. As such, this crisis requires different approaches.

Digital Payment Providers

20 Mar – March Reader

In this difficult moment, digital payment providers might well find ways to reduce transaction costs to customers, helping low income users and proactively showing that they are not benefiting from the crisis. Following a call by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, for example, for banks and mobile money providers to consider reducing costs of transactions, Safaricom announced that it would double the daily transaction limit to Ksh150,000 (US$1,500) and that all person-to-person transactions using M-Pesa below KSh1,000 (US$10) would be free for the next 90 days. Bank of Uganda has followed suit, instructing all commercial banks and mobile money operators to drop transaction fees for bank-to-wallet and wallet-to-bank transfers; mobile money providers in Uganda have also slashed merchant payment charges. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also waived all charges on fund transfers through online banking channels. In Singapore, Standard Chartered announced that late payment fees, late interest charges for credit cards and personal loans, and late fees and default fees for retail mortgages would all be waived. Bank of Baroda took similar steps in India.

Digitalisation  

28 May - How COVID-19 accelerates the digitalisation of the insurance customer journey

Economic Impact of COVID

21 Apr - Swiss Re Institute highlights economic impact from COVID-19 lockdowns

Gender 

 

COVID-19 and the Insurance Industry: Why a Gender-Sensitive Response Matters (IFC)

  • Women play key roles in their homes, communities, and businesses. If insurers develop targeted approaches and products for women, they have the potential to earn up to $1.7 trillion by 2030. They can also help increase women's understanding and willingness to buy insurance products to better protect their families or the companies women own or operate.
  • The COVID-19 crisis poses new challenges for women and insurers. This guidance note highlights best practices from insurance companies on how they can support female employees, customers, and agents during the pandemic. The publication also explains how women can contribute to the success of the insurance industry and how insurers can better engage with them during the crisis.

Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis (OECD publication)

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is harming health, social and economic well-being worldwide, with women at the centre. First and foremost, women are leading the health response: women make up almost 70% of the health care workforce, exposing them to a greater risk of infection. At the same time, women are also shouldering much of the burden at home, given school and child care facility closures and longstanding gender inequalities in unpaid work. Women also face high risks of job and income loss, and face increased risks of violence, exploitation, abuse or harassment during times of crisis and quarantine.Policy responses must be immediate, and they must account for women’s concerns. Governments should consider adopting emergency measures to help parents manage work and caring responsibilities, reinforcing and extending income support measures, expanding support for small businesses and the self-employed, and improving measure to help women victims of violence. Fundamentally, all policy responses to the crisis must embed a gender lens and account for women’s unique needs, responsibilities and perspectives

1 Apr - Gendering COVID-19: implications for women, peace and security

Inclusive Insurance

AXA and Democrance expand inclusive insurance

Informal Economy

Lack of health, unemployment or life insurance is a particular challenge for the millions of people who work in the informal economy. Vidya Diwakar, a Senior Research Officer at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), notes that such workers - many of them women - may not have the luxury of staying at home without paid sick leave. “People living in or near poverty often lack disposable cash and cannot easily stockpile food. Hunger, malnutrition, pneumonia and other forms of health-related shocks and stresses compound vulnerability to the virus and contribute to a vicious cycle of disease, destitution and death. Poverty can fuel contagion, but contagion can also create or deepen impoverishment,” she says. (Microinsurance Network)

Microinsurance

20 Mar - Comment le Coronavirus affecte le secteur de la microfinance

MSMEs

13 Apr - MAPFRE will return over $32m premium to self-employed and SME policyholders

19 Mar - The economic fall-out for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and for the millions of low-income people who are informally employmed, will be significant. According to the Asia Business Review, business interruption (BI) insurance typically protects against losses caused by physical damage such as fire or flood - but it is unclear whether this will extend to the presence of coronavirus. In addition, micro BI insurance for low-income businesses is still in its infancy, and needs urgently to be scaled up. As with other types of microinsurance, the vulnerable are those that need it most and the sums insured are relatively small. Insurers themselves will be hard hit: “The main losers will be firms with large whole of life books but low levels of reinsurance, and there is likely to be a large amount of sum at risk for policyholders in their 50s and 60s,” notes the Review. (Microinsurance Network)

1 May - UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is going to ask the courts to provide legal certainty over business interruption (BI) insurance cover for Covid-19 pandemic losses, in order to ensure customers are treated fairly.

It will obtain a court declaration based on sample cases and BI policy wordings to resolve uncertainty for SMEs that have been closed in the government-ordered lockdown. (source: Commercial Risk Online)

The FCA has also written to insurers asking them to clarify by 15 May whether their BI policy wordings cover non-property damage claims.

Parametric Insurance

7 Apr - The African Risk Capacity (ARC), a parametric sovereign disaster risk insurer for African nations, is planning to add coronavirus protection to its planned outbreaks and epidemics parametric insurance product, which it aims to have available from 2021.

3 April - This Insurance Would Have Helped in Coronavirus Crisis But Nobody Bought It

25 Mar - Covid-19 and corporate insurance : how to reduce your insurance budget ahead of an economic crisis? For brokers, integrating parametric insurance into the programs can be a very efficient optimization tool while facilitating the placement. (Descartes Underwriting)

Post-Covid

1 May - Swiss Re: What will life look like in the post-COVID-19 World?

Public-Private Partnerships

23 July - Lloyd’s creates Syndicate 1796 to insure transportation of COVID-19 vaccine

17 June - Ins­urance indus­try advo­ca­tes a pri­vate-public sec­tor pro­tec­tive shield

June 2020 - Report on Pandemic Risk Protection: Accelerate Recovery and Build Resilience Now Through Public-Private Partnership 

Regulation

24 Mar- cerlatam - COVID-19 y el futuro de la regulación

Reinsurance

21 Apr - $500bn Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) reinsurance program in the works (USA)

2 Apr - Reinsurers well-placed to manage COVID-19 disruption, says Willis Re

SCOR says re/insurers have expertise to understand COVID-19 impact

Forced COVID-19 payments could impact insurer stability: Sampson, APCIA

5 May - AXA XL responds to COVID-19 with remote risk assessments

Technology

13 May How big tech plans to profit from the pandemic

 

BIS Bulletin - Technology to combat the pandemic: online appendix

Applications to combat the pandemic have been classified into four categories by country:


• Telemedicine applications provide remote medical consultation and counselling. The exact coverage
of telemedicine varies across countries, ranging from new apps to record symptoms and provide
Covid-19-related or other medical advice, to hospitals, clinics and new intermediaries offering video
consultation with doctors on non-critical situations.
• Flow modelling applications detect aggregate movements of people or how many people pass
through places and how quickly. This technology often uses aggregated and anonymous geolocation
data to generate heat maps, which show if people are abiding by social distancing measures.
• Location tracking uses global positioning system (GPS) data or geofencing for individuals who are
subject to a quarantine. They can be used to monitor adherence to quarantine measures or, if location
information is stored, to create maps that track the virus.
• Contact tracing applications track the points of contact between infected people and others. The
technology uses GPS and/or Bluetooth. GPS cross-checks the location history of infected people, while
Bluetooth stores information on proximity to other phones

News by Region: Asia

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Asia

DBS Bank, a leading financial services group in Asia, has launched financial relief packages and initiatives to accelerate digital adoption and transaction fulfilment needs amid the coronavirus crisis. This includes a contact-free, emergency financing line for businesses, collateral-free digital loans, and digital processing of trade financing with no physical paperwork or contact needed by integrating all stages including letters of credit, import bills, trust receipts, banker’s guarantees and shipping guarantees online.

20 Mar - Aspire to Innovate (a2i), a programme of Cabinet Division and ICT Division of the Government of Bangladesh supported by the United Nations Development Programme, has formed a public-private consortium linking the government’s phone-based health service ‘Shastho Batayon’ with health-tech startups like olwel.com to provide digital health services whilst also encouraging social distancing. This uber-doctor model connects people with hundreds of doctors around the country through a toll-free hotline and online portal (corona.gov.bd). Other medical call services such as those provided by Synesis Limited and TRCL charge users a premium to connect and get professional advice, but at a much lower consultation cost than a hospital visit.

UNCDF is working with Ministry of Development of Digital Economy in Burkina Faso to accelerate the rollout of DiagnoseMe, a telehealth and diagnostics solution, conceived during the Hack for Wuhan event, held by Wuhan2020, an initiative that unites developers, designers, builders, and creators who use technology to find solutions for the coronavirus. (link)

13 July - Allianz Group forecast the Chinese insurance market to undergo strong recovery in 2021

8 July - Online health insurance market will grow 43% per year until 2025

10 June - Insurers show support for 'street vendor economy'

13 Apr - Ping An motor app provides services tailored to pandemic lockdown
Ping An Insurance Group said that since the outbreak of COVID-19 and China's strict lockdown measures were implemented in January, its Ping An Auto Owner app has provided services to 12.3m users, with online self-service insurance claims accounting for 40% of the services.

2 Apr - Coronavirus drives digital shift in insurance sector

1 Apr - CBIRC investigates Q1 operational status of life insurers

10 Mar - Blockchain technology helping overcome Covid-19 outbreak in China

For example, Alipay, the world’s leading payments and lifestyle platform owned by Ant Financial Services Group, has launched a blockchain-powered online information platform for epidemic prevention materials in Zhejiang Province, ensuring the logistics and usage of materials such as face masks and protective clothing more transparent. Alipay has also launched a blockchain-powered program for developers working on epidemic mini-programs on the platform.

Ant Duo-Chain, a blockchain-powered supply chain finance platform developed by Ant Financial, is helping many small and medium-sized suppliers to apply for loans from banks based on their receivables from large enterprises. The platform helps them deal with potential financial constraints during this epidemic. For example, Guangzhou Wubiao, an import and export trading company, recently received loans amounting to 2 million-yuan with its receivables from e-commerce platform 1919.com.

10 Mar - Digital insurance products are being launched. In China WeSure, the insurance arm of Tencent, has rapidly launched a suite of products, accessible within the WeChat Pay, to cover those affected by coronavirus, from medical personnel to SMEs. It has also launched a free insurance policy open to all Chinese citizens aged 0-65 through its corporate social responsibility arm.

23 Mar - SCOR launches COVID-19 insurance info

SCOR has set up an insurance information platform in China to help it in its battle against COVID-19. According to a press release by SCOR, the new platform would help those on the frontlines battling the coronavirus pandemic, stay informed of their rights and access insurance protection cover.

In China, with exceptional containment measures adopted after the breakout, things seem to be settling down, yet, many people in the country are still battling the virus and medical teams are trying to stem its spread.

SCOR said, “The Chinese insurance industry has decided to take action: 70 of the country’s largest insurance groups are now offering free coverage for people on the front lines of the disease: Doctors, nurses, police officers, military personnel, taxi drivers and so on. However, not everyone is aware of this free cover.”

SCOR Global Life China head of marketing Tiger Li, said, “Recently after speaking to a doctor friend, I realised there was an information gap and that only a few of China’s medical personnel were aware of what insurers were offering for them specifically.”

To reduce this information gap, Mr Li and SCOR Global Life China head of innovation Wang Fei, have teamed up with Xiao Le Health founder Wang Kai, and 10 actuarial science students from Nankai University, to develop a free insurance information platform.

The platform identifies and lists all the policies offered by each insurance company and filters the available offers according to the user’s profile. With more than 200 potential insurance scenarios on offer for each person, the platform enables users to go straight to the ones most applicable to them.

 

16 June - Contactless insurance sales extended

13 July - IRDAI plans to set up a pandemic risk pool

11 June - Health insurance purchase doubles between March and May

8 June - Surge in COVID-19 cases but insurance claims low

21 Apr - Public sector general insurance agents seek financial package

20 Apr - IRDAI directs settlement of COVID-19 insurance claims within two hours

16 Apr - Force majeure will not apply to life policies

13 Apr - Indian insurer offers policyholders more time for premium payments

7 Apr - World's largest public health insurance to cover COVID-19

3 Apr - Affordable COVID-19 insurance product launched

2 Apr - New standard health insurance policy to cover COVID-19 treatment

Even as India registered its largest one-day peak in COVID-19 cases on 1 April 2020, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) cleared the standard health insurance policy that would also cover the cost of hospitalisation treatment on account of the pandemic.

1 Apr - India: Insurer to support its COVID-19-positive agents financially

25 Mar -Indian brokers association asks for lightening of regulations during epidemic

25 Mar - IRDAI urges insurers to extend life premium renewal period

25 Mar –New group-health insurance cover for COVID-19

A new employee health benefits platform, www.plumhq.com, in collaboration with an Indian health insurer, has introduced a group-health insurance cover against the COVID-19 pandemic for corporate employees and their families.

The new group-health insurance policy will provide a hospitalisation cover of $6,535. It additionally offers an outpatient-department benefit of $65 which can be used against consultations, prescribed diagnostics and prescribed pharmacy.

24 Mar – IRDAI eases rules as brokers voice fears of lapses in insurance coverage

Large corporations risk lapsing insurance policies for their plant and machinery as well as employees, as both insurers and businesses are forced to shut shop because of coronavirus-related lockdowns in several parts of the country.

In a development, the IRDAI yesterday announced several measures aimed at ensuring continued proper service to policyholders and customers. All insurers have been asked to maintain continuity of business operations through alternative modes including telephonic and digital contacts.

23 Mar 2020 - Insurer launches cheapest COVID-19 cover

The ‘COVID-19 Protection Cover’ provides cover to individuals between 18 and 75 for a sum insured of $330 for a premium of $2.

The policyholder, if tested positive for COVID-19 at any government-authorised testing centre, will receive the entire sum insured amount in a lump sum irrespective of hospitalisation expenses, subject to an initial waiting period of 14 days.

The cover excludes people with travel history to any location overseas after 31 December 2019. Another exclusion under the cover is that no policy benefit can be availed if the insured has been quarantined for suspected COVID-19, or diagnosed with COVID-19, before the risk inception date, or within the initial 14-day waiting period.

19 Mar –  Indian insurers have gone out of their way to reassure life policyholders that nominees of individuals who die from coronavirus will get the sum assured, even though many life products exclude coronavirus on the grounds that it is not classified as a ‘critical illness’. “Lots of policies have had exclusions placed in them in the last 10 years due to [insurers’] experience with flu-type outbreaks,” says Michelle Crorie, a partner at law firm Clyde & Co. (Microinsurance Network)

14 Apr - Life insurers seek to raise payment amount for coronavirus-related death claims

23 Mar - Despite low numbers of infections and low claims, Moody’s analysts believe insurers in Japan and Korea should expect to face business disruption and financial risk from the coronavirus outbreak, with further downside risk should infections rise significantly.

Moody's Analysts say direct claims related to the coronavirus outbreak will come from two main sources: claims related to medical expenses and death benefits from infected victims; and claims related to specific conditions such as event cancellations and business interruptions.

24 Mar – Korea most exposed to a Chinese slowdown, with impact on insurance

23 Mar - Despite low numbers of infections and low claims, Moody’s analysts believe insurers in Japan and Korea should expect to face business disruption and financial risk from the coronavirus outbreak, with further downside risk should infections rise significantly.

Moody's Analysts say direct claims related to the coronavirus outbreak will come from two main sources: claims related to medical expenses and death benefits from infected victims; and claims related to specific conditions such as event cancellations and business interruptions.

7 Apr - General insurers support policyholders through COVID-19 pandemic

3 Apr - Industry finalises details of COVID-19 test fund

30 Mar - A key InsurTech, PolicyStreet, announces measures to help consumers

  • 1. Guaranteed savings for insurance renewal during MCO period, to help reduce SMEs' burden of renewing (mandatory) insurance
  • 2. Piloted an inaugural webinar on "Covid-19: All you need to know about group medical insurance", which was participated by more than 30 listed companies and SMEs
  • 3. Launched 2 online medical cards with Covid-19 coverage. Easy application online, starting at RM37/m. Also partnered with Razer Inc. FinTech and JaGaApp to benefit their end users
  • 4. Launched a Covid-19 insurance helpline. Call 03-33100063 from 930am to 600pm. We help answer any query you may have with your employee medical plan, especially on Covid-19 coverage
  • 5. Structured and customised a Covid-19 coverage plan for all Foodpanda riders 6. motor.policystreet.com enhanced to help Malaysians to compare and renew car insurance online in 3 simple steps

27 Mar - Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announces additional measures to support SMEs and individuals.

23 Mar - Life insurers step up relief measures for policyholders during COVID-19 crisis

The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) and its member companies are taking proactive steps in providing additional relief measures for policyholders who are impacted by the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The following additional benefits are a few examples of relief measures taken by insurers:

  • MYR5,000 ($1,138) cash relief for customers who are diagnosed with Covid-19
  • Cash benefits/allowance for hospitalisation (for example up to MYR250 per day up to 30 days of hospitalisation)
  • Special lump-sum death benefits (ranging from MYR5,000-20,000 upon the death of the insured)
  • Four insurance companies have pledged MYR1m each as part of their financial assistance/support programme for customers affected by COVID-19
  • Nepal

15 June - Insurers start processing COVID-19 claims

21 Apr  - Insurance scheme launched for low-income citizens

2 Apr - Government announces insurance cover for health workers

25 Mar 2020 - Insurer launches first COVID-19 cover

Pakistan has seen a spike in the number of positive cases, prompting private life insurer EFU Life to launch the first COVID-19 cover in the market.

The ‘COVID-19 Care’ cover provides complimentary cover to all clients of the company. In the event that an insured client passes away due to COVID-19, a lump sum amount of $636 will be paid to the beneficiary in addition to the contractual death benefits from the existing policy.

27 Apr - Philippine insurer provides free insurance coverage to delivery riders

17 Apr - State health insurer to cover treatment and testing for COVID-19

13 Apr - Regulator allows online insurance sales during COVID-19 quarantine period

7 April - INSURANCE COMMISSIONER FUNA ISSUES GUIDELINES ON REMOTE SELLING OF INSURANCE PRODUCTS FOR THE DURATION OF THE ECQ

19 Mar - Juan Paolo Roxas, head of the Philippines Insurance Commission microinsurance division, believes the coronavirus pandemic could actually help Filipinos become more aware of the importance of insurance cover. “I think more people will be inclined and be aware that insurance is actually there and helping us,” says Roxas. Jonathan Batangan of Philippines insurance brokers Cebuana Lhuillier thinks the pandemic could provide an opportunity to create new products to provide cover against coronavirus. However, with many countries encouraging ‘social distancing’ and self-isolation, distributing and accessing inclusive insurance products through mobile network operators (MNOs) and online – as well as supporting clients with information – will become even more important. (Microinsurance Network)

6 Apr - Insurance industry supports customers through new COVID-19 measures

1 Apr - Insurers to help customers ride out COVID-19 crisis

24 Mar - Singapore: Regulator advises financial institutions to adopt safe-distancing measures

13 Apr - Insurer offers free cover to state government employees

23 Mar - Taiwan: Regulator directs insurers to respond to COVID-19        

23 Mar 2020 - Several insurers to suspend sales of COVID-19 policies

Such insurance policies offer two types of coverage; a lump sum payment when diagnosed with the virus and medical bill coverage – with premiums ranging from THB99 ($3) to THB1,250.

At the Thai General Insurance Association's meeting last week, participants had expressed concerns about the moral hazards faced by policyholders and insurers underestimating risks associated with providing COVID-19 coverage.

Given that the availability of COVID-19 insurance could encourage policyholders with high sums insured to expose themselves to the virus and make claims, the OIC said it is closely monitoring both insurers and policyholders.

As of 18 March, the OIC had approved 25 firms to sell COVID-19 insurance policies and 20 of them already launched and sold over 2m COVID-19 insurance policies.

However, several insurers are now set to suspend sales of insurance policies covering lump-sum payouts as policy sales approach their threshold of 500,000 to 750,000.

At the same time, some insurers have also paused sales to revise coverage conditions including the implementation of a 14-day waiting period.

In view of such developments, the OIC said it will tighten its approval process for future launches of policies covering lump sum pay-outs.

8 Apr - Vietnam tells insurers to halt sale of COVID-19 related products

News by Region: Europe

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News from Europe

3 June-  France's AXA spurns EU regulators' plea to halt dividends

3 April - EU regulator urges insurers to scrap dividends and share buy backs due to Covid-19

1 April - Europe’s corporate risk and insurance managers would support the creation of state-backed insurance pools to cover pandemic risk and plug the huge coverage gap that has been exposed by the Covid-19 outbreak, based on feedback from leading industry representatives gathered by Commercial Risk Europe.

Crowdfunding platform specialist Smallbrooks together with the Confederation of Danish Industry and Copenhagen Fintech is developing a crowdfunding platform in Denmark that allows local businesses to sell their goods and services online without having to build a webshop, an approach that could be used elsewhere. (link)

30 June - France:Plans for pandemic insurance cover near completion

3 Apr - MAIF passes on EUR 100 million in motor claims savings to its member-policyholders during coronavirus containment period

France: Financial Stability - impact for Generali France – interview with president and CEO 

18 June - Germany donates $5.9m to protect African countries with climate insurance amid COVID-19 crisis

1 Apr - The German government and the country’s credit insurance industry have agreed to help to maintain insurance cover for trade despite economic hardship related to the coronavirus outbreak, three people with knowledge of the plan said on Wednesday.

Under the plan, the government would guarantee up to 30 billion euros ($32.8 billion) for the commercial credit insurance industry, the sources said.

Munich Re and Swiss Re, the world’s two biggest re-insurers, in recent days sought to reassure investors that the virus would have a limited impact on their businesses.

“Even in the very unlikely scenario of a worldwide pandemic equivalent to a 200-year event, Munich Re would face a maximum of 1.4 billion euros in life and health insurance claims – similar in scope to a medium-sized natural catastrophe in property-casualty reinsurance,” the firm said in its annual report on Wednesday. It doesn’t expect the coronavirus outbreak to have any overall material effect on annual results.

The major impact of Covid-19 on the insurance industry to date is on the asset side of the balance sheet, Swiss Re chief financial officer John Dacey said at an investor conference on Thursday. The company put in place hedges to mitigate the economic impacts of falling equity prices and widening credit spreads and sees the impact to be entirely manageable at this point, he said.

ABI Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Hub - https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/

22 Apr - UK firms plan legal action against the insurer Hiscox over its non-payment of business interruption insurance claims.

21 Apr - Catlin chairs UK pandemic industry group, looks to Pool Re on reinsurance

17 Apr - Institute and Faculty of Actuaries forms COVID-19 Action Group

16 Apr - Financial Conduct Authority of UK asks insurers to settle business interruption claims

6 Apr - UK export credit agency to offer export insurance in all major markets
1 Apr - London insurance market to e-trade during COVID-19 pandemic

20 Mar - FCA asks insurers to stretch policy T&Cs for coronavirus UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that it expects insurers to stretch the terms & conditions of policies to help the population adapt to the socioeconomic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The FCA is in the process of making the re/insurance industry aware that customer behaviour is set to change as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and is guiding the sector on how to respond. The expectation is that the sector should be flexible and treat customers fairly, particularly those in a vulnerable situation at the point of renewal.

19 Mar - Insurance and coronavirus (Covid-19): our expectations of firms – the FCA’s position on

  • Operational resilience and business continuity
  • Travel insurance
  • Motor and home insurance
  • Private medical insurance
  • Product suspension
  • Renewals
  • Mid-term adjustments
  • Expectations of brokers

1 May - FCA seeks court declaration to clarify BI virus cover for UK SMEs

News by Region: Latin America

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Latin America

3 Apr - 18 Brazilian insurers announce that they will indemnify policyholders for events arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mapfre, BB Seguros and Chubb announced that they will pay indemnities in the event of death due to COVID-19, according to the amounts provided for in life insurance policies. The definition overlaps the pandemic exclusion contractual clause, on an exceptional basis, aiming to minimize impacts on society.

Liberty Seguros, Previsul, Sura, Icatu, Prudential, MAG Seguros, MetLife, Pais, Centauro among many others announced last week life coverage for losses from the pandemic. Prudential has already received the first indemnity claims.

 In order to reduce the impacts on society, Mapfre also decided to maintain the same conditions and prices as in 2019 when renewing Auto, Residential and Rural insurance. In addition, Fundación Mapfre is donating € 3 million to support initiatives by government authorities and health entities, both for the prevention and treatment of the disease and the fight against the pandemic in Brazil. The benefited projects will be announced soon. (https://www.segs.com.br)

24 Mar - The Brazilian government announced a set of initiatives including aid to small businesses, informal workers, flexibility in complying with fiscal targets, easing of labor laws, financial support to states (Brazil has 26 states) and extension of tax payments

 

Medidas Covid 19 - Comisión para el Mercado Financiero

The SFC are supporting consumers and supervised entities through their digital channels - they also suspended the terms of the current administrative and judicial processes https://www.superfinanciera.gov.co/publicacion/10102692 - press releases

24 Mar - COVID-19 y el futuro de la regulación

este artículo creado por el equipo legal de Suramericana S.A., para el Centro de Estudios Regulatorios, en donde vislumbra el futuro de la regulación, y del racional del regulador, a partir de los sucesos generados como consecuencia del Covid-19

27 May - SUGESE issued a document of “Good Practices of conduct in the Costa Rican insurance market related to the COVID-19 health emergency”. 
 
This document was a result of the specific process related to COVID-19, of monitoring operations and maintaining regular contact with the industry, in order to know the measures that are being implemented, understand the challenges faced and the expected impacts regarding the fair and equitable treatment towards the policyholders, as well as the sustainability and confidence in the market.
 
Document in Spanish

Document in English

24 Mar - measures adopted by the insurance industry: ALL the companies that are in the health insurance market have decided to exceptionally and indefinitely eliminate their exclusions in the event of a pandemic or epidemic and are committed to providing coverage to all their policyholders in both individual policies, as well as group or collective .

https://observador.cr/noticia/companias-de-seguros-en-costa-rica-y-sus-protocolos-de-atencion-del-covid-19/

The Superintendencia de Bancos goes to digital communications only as of 25 Mar

Medidas de la SBS ante la emergencia sanitaria COVID-19

21 Mar – SBS Peru coordinates with insurance companies to facilitate payment of insurance premiums

 

 

News by Region: Middle East and North Africa

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Middle East and North Africa

2 Apr - Middle East: COVID-19 and low oil prices threaten GCC insurers' earnings

30 Mar - MENA:Most of the region's financial centres slip in global rankings

24 Mar - The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is allowing insurance companies in the Egyptian market an opportunity to extend to policyholders a grace period in which to pay insurance premiums on policies in certain classes of business.

2 Apr - Insurers likely to suffer major losses if COVID-19 crisis drags on

22 Mar - Insurance federation supports government's efforts to combat COVID-19

Ongoing – ACAPS takes measures to mitigate COVID-19: https://www.linkedin.com/company/acaps-officiel/

23 Mar - The Moroccan Federation of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies (FMSAR), has given assurances to policyholders and intermediaries as the Moroccan government announced a state of emergency which took effect on 20 March in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The FMSAR said that its members will continue to provide, through the distribution network, the services necessary to maintain services during the current pandemic.

The approach to use digital channels of the supervisor adopted in ACAPS Morocco: https://www.acaps.ma/fr/l-acaps/notre-actualite/avis-aux-citoyens

  • Oman          

2 Apr - The Capital Market Authority (CMA) has instructed Omani insurers to provide insurance coverage for vehicle owners whose driving licenses have expired after the Royal Oman Police suspended renewal services in line with the measures taken by the supreme committee to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

24 Mar - Insurance federation donates $681k to COVID-19 fund

 

21 Apr - Zurich International Life Limited in the Middle East has offered relief to any customers experiencing financial difficulty, offering a three-month grace period from the date premium payments are due, subject to policy terms and conditions.

In addition to the grace period, a number of products entitle the customer to a premium holiday subject to its terms and conditions

News by Region: North America

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North America

  • United States

  • A REPORT OF THE NAIC ON THE STATE INSURANCE REGULATORY RESPONSE TO COVID-19 (Covering 1 January to 31 May, 2020) - link
  • United States-focused news resource: Insurance Journal
  • Summary: Nearly ten percent of the entire population of the United States - that’s around 27 million people - had no health insurance at any point in 2018, according to the US Census Bureau. As a recent article in Time puts it, “Low-income people are disproportionately more likely to be uninsured or underinsured for medical care, and for many, even stocking up the pantry can be an impossible financial hurdle…Lacking resources to prepare and protect against the coronavirus, many of these individuals face a higher risk of contracting—and subsequently spreading—the virus.” (Microinsurance Network)
  • Kabbage, an online loan provider, has built a dedicated platform HelpSmallBusiness.com to support small businesses to earn revenue despite ‘social distancing’ measures keeping their customers away. (link)

29 June - Tennessee consumers have been repaid over $2.2 million so far in 2020 through mediation efforts by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) that resulted in denied claims being overturned for policyholders

5 June - RIMS backs US pandemic risk insurance act

15 May Pandemic Business Interruption Insurance Coverage: Insights from WSB Survey of Insurance Experts - report

21 Apr - $500bn Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) reinsurance program in the works

14 Apr - California Department of Insurance tells insurers to refund premiums

14 Apr - Risk managers back pandemic pools as US Congress offered Pandemic Risk Insurance Act 2020

8 Apr - Litigation Builds Against Insurers Over Coronavirus Business Interruption

31 Mar - Metlife Foundation Commits $25 Million To Global COVID-19 Response

31 Mar - The state of New York has joined Ohio, Massachusetts and New Jersey by tabling a bill that would retroactively force all state insurers to pay for coronavirus-related business interruption (BI) claims made by companies with fewer than 100 employees, despite the exclusions contained within almost all BI policies

If passed, the bill would apply to all policies in force in the state on 7 March. The bill states that insurers that provide BI and loss-of-use coverage will have to honour “business interruption during a period of a declared state emergency due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic”

30 Mar- NY, NJ, Massachusetts laws on coverage for business interruption losses due to the coronavirus (despite it not being covered) (link)

28 Mar - Coronavirus May Add Billions to the Nation’s Health Care Bill (NY Times)

Insurance premiums could spike as much as 40 percent next year, a new analysis warns, as employers and insurers confront the projected tens of billions of dollars in additional costs of treating coronavirus patients.

25 Mar - NAIC urged to discourage imposition of Covid-19 retroactive coverage

20 Mar - Insurance Journal reported this week that in New Jersey, a bill has been proposed aiming to create business interruption insurance coverage for COVID-19 related claims despite virus exclusions in many policies. 

20 Mar - COVID-19 - Sorry, All Your Actuarial Projections Were Wrong (Gen Re)

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has instructed insurers to submit details of business interruption policies that have been provided to insureds, as well as the coverage each policy offers regarding COVID-19.

DFS issued the instructions in an effort to provide both parties to the insurance agreement with a base understanding on coverage issues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This comes as businesses are forced to shut down and are increasingly interested in what coverage might be available to mitigate their losses, regulatory officials familiar with the matter told Insurance Journal.

Clifford Rossi, professor for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, said he expects other states will follow in New York and New Jersey’s footsteps.

“Given the potential impact of COVID-19 on business losses, particularly concentrated effects in local communities, DFS considers insurers’ obligations to policyholders a heightened priority,” DFS stated in its March 10 instructions.

“Other progressive-minded state legislatures are likely to look at what New York and New Jersey is doing with P/C insurance BIC provisions,” he said.

Alexandra Roje, partner in Lathrop GPM’s insurance recovery practice, agreed, adding she believes other states should follow suit – and soon – in order to push back against the widespread impact of this pandemic.

“They will, and they should do so soon, if they have any hope of stemming what may become a deluge of bankruptcies, job losses and closures,” she said, adding that she believes taxpayers, insurers and policyholders will need to all share in bearing the risk from COVID-19.

“The impact and burden of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy is so large and so ubiquitous that it simply cannot be shouldered by any single source,” she said. “As a result, the question is not whether the burden is better handled by one entity or another; it is whether it can be handled at all. To that end, everyone, including insurers, needs to participate in the solution.” (source)

News by Region: Oceania

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Oceania

8 Apr - Three major insurers defer premium payments for six months

1 Apr - Income-protection insurance may offer relief during COVID-19 disruption

25 Mar –Australian regulator adapts 2020 agenda to prioritise COVID-19 response

As its focus shifts to COVID-19, APRA said it is suspending all substantive public consultations and actions to finalise revisions to the prudential framework that are currently underway or upcoming. This includes consultations on prudential and reporting standards.

While the regulator said it will keep the situation under review, it currently does not plan to recommence consultation on any non-essential matters before 30 September 2020.

23 Mar - Govt allows those financially stricken by COVID-19 to withdraw super funds early

8 Apr - New Zealand clamps down on misleading COVID-19 insurance ads

News by Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

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Sub-Saharan Africa

19 May- African regulators diverge on approach to Covid-19 payouts

South African insurers will not be forced to pay out Covid-19 claims on business interruption (BI) policies where non-physical damage was not written into the policy, after the South African regulator took a stance that is in contrast with the view of the Kenyan regulator. The move comes as the regulator reported most South African insurers look set to withdraw…

 

Financing the coronavirus response in sub-Saharan Africa - Working and discussion papers - April 2020

Key messages

  • The health impacts of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa remain highly uncertain, but the costs to livelihoods will undoubtedly be great. Estimates of economic impacts vary, but are in the order of at least $100 billion.
  • Many African governments have been quick to put in place stringent measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus. Economic and social protection measures have lagged behind as policy-makers face major liquidity and fiscal constraints.
  • African governments should not have to bear sole responsibility for financing the response to the crisis. Much of the global economic dislocation stems from decisions to protect citizens in richer countries, and international solidarity is required in the response. Successful containment of the virus also calls for a global response.
  • A number of financing proposals are on the table and need to be delivered on. Special drawing rights should be increased to help plug gaps from capital outflows, and international actors should agree to a moratorium on debt service repayments and look to coordinate a voluntary standstill on interest payments on bonds.
  • Multilateral development banks can expand their non-concessional lending to the region by $68 billion, and bilateral donors should commit to allocating 0.7% of their economic resource packages as aid to poorer countries. Development finance institutions can provide liquidity to protect private sector jobs.

20 Apr - Tailored regulations needed for the continent's different insurance markets

13 Apr - Sub-Saharan Africa:Region faces recession for first time in 25 years

7 Apr - The African Risk Capacity (ARC), a parametric sovereign disaster risk insurer for African nations, is planning to add coronavirus protection to its planned outbreaks and epidemics parametric insurance product, which it aims to have available from 2021.

19 Mar - Africa is particularly vulnerable. At the time of writing, infection rates across Africa are lower than in other developing regions. While this is possibly due to existing containment measures for dealing with other infectious diseases such as ebola, capacity to roll out testing is limited and the potential for widespread transmission remains. The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent coronavirus test kits to 40 African countries; until two weeks ago there were only two laboratories on the entire continent that could test for the virus. If there is any good news, it is that inclusive health insurance products have - according to the Landscape study - “experienced a boom since 2014”. Health products represent the second-highest proportion of reported lives covered in the countries covered by the study - 4.3 million people - but that’s still a tiny fraction of those at risk.

Furthermore, healthcare systems in many African countries are already stretched by the “big three”: HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria. The IMF has set aside US$10 billion in emergency funding for low-income countries aimed at helping fragile states support their health care systems, especially maintaining supply chains of personal protective equipment for front line health workers and building virus-testing capabilities. The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says his “biggest concern” is coronavirus spreading in countries with weak health systems. One report in sciencemag.org claims “experts worry the virus may ravage countries with weak health systems and a population disproportionately affected by HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and other infectious diseases. Social distancing will be hard to do in the continent’s overcrowded cities and slums.”

However, the report does note some grounds for optimism. “Sub-Saharan Africa has one major advantage when it comes to COVID-19: Its average age is the lowest in the world … Children rarely get sick from COVID-19, and most young adults appear to suffer mild symptoms … Only 3% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is older than 65, compared with about 12% in China.”

Nonetheless, as a BBC report points out, about a billion people globally live in slums with little ventilation, drainage and sewage facilities, with diseases spreading easily. For example, Nairobi’s Mukuru slum is home to around 7,000 primary school children, half of whom cannot afford soap and who live in houses with no mains water or sanitation. “It’s not clear how confinement would work in African households where many generations live together,” Francine Ntoumi, a parasitologist and public health expert at Marien Ngouabi University in the Republic of Congo, told sciencemag.org. “How do you protect the elderly, how can you tell village populations to wash their hands when there is no water, or use gel to sanitise their hands when they don’t have enough money for food?” (Microinsurance Network)

19 Mar -  In Kenya, after initial reports that some health policies - which typically exclude pandemics - would not cover coronavirus-related medical costs, the government’s Insurance Regulatory Authority has stepped in to ensure payments will be made. (Microinsurance Network

15 Mar -  blog from FSD Kenya

Government’s actions so far

  • The Ministry of Health’s initial communication confirming the first case and subsequent information on identifying, quarantining, and testing those in contact.
  • The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) press release with a cautionary notice on illegal price increases and hoarding that could “attract a penalty of 10% of the respective turnover”.
  • The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) engagement with the insurance industry to assure the public that the “insurance companies will continue to provide their services to policyholders affected or infected by the virus”.
  • The President’s decision to institute new containment and treatment protocols including appeals to the financial sector to encourage the use of digital finance.

Concerns from the FSD Kenya team:

We are also worried for the majority of Kenyans without stable incomes and are most likely to feel the economic impact of this pandemic. These include micro, small and medium enterprises, casual labourers who are paid daily based on need, salaried staff who may be laid off or sent home on leave without pay, and dependents who rely on the benevolent support from their social networks.

How could Kenya’s financial sector live up to its own social contract during these challenging times?

  • In addition to the fees already reduced from some payment service providers, could the government consider a temporary removal of the 20% tax on digital payment transactions to encourage the switch from cash to digital? Could the government reduce digital economy taxes to boost e-commerce and remote delivery of goods and services?
  • Could more financial service providers reduce costs to ease the burden on both merchants and consumers and encourage the switch to digital and remote payments and banking services? (Learn how switching to digital already saves money in our Cost of Banking report).
  • Could the Ministry of Labour use its communication channels with the older population through Inua Jamii to provide this higher-risk group specialised guidance on prevention and treatment?
  • Could credit providers consider temporary suspensions of interest, repayment delays or rescheduling in line with the needs of businesses and individuals considering downturns?
  • Could credit providers provide emergency liquidity facilities for sectors (like tourism) that are more likely to be impacted to help them manage this crisis?
  • How can healthcare providers and transporters embed financial solutions to enable vulnerable populations to access care?
  • How could the financial sector provide financing to help key sectors operate in this new environment such as schools needing to adopt on-line platforms or businesses needing to develop delivery capability?
  • How can insurance providers and others help the vulnerable manage risks including farmers who need to be planting this season with the onset of the rains?
  • Other countries have made policy decision to ease credit market including Italy’s decisions to suspend mortgage payments and the US decision to reduce interest rates. What steps could Kenya take to help enable the financial sector provide liquidity and risk solutions such as those outlined above?
  • How can informal financial mechanisms such as chamas and harambees leverage digital tools and payments to continue?
  • Namibia

  • 13 Apr - Regulator guides insurers on how to treat insurance premiums & claims during pandemic

 

Responses updated as of 30 April 2020

FSCA COVID-19 Industry Communication

  • As part of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s (FSCA) efforts to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on financial customers, regulated entities and the South African economy, the Authority has released various communication to provide guidance for customers and Financial Services Providers during this time. 

13 Apr - Association says life industry able to weather COVID-19 turmoil

6 Apr - Regulator urges consumers to utilise credit life insurance for COVID-19 relief

 

  • Zambia 

11 May - Insurance regulator issues pandemic-related guidelines

13 Apr - Regulator gives policyholders choice of paying insurance premiums in foreign currencies

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