This Month: Covid-19

Post April 2020 cover

On the first Friday in April it is hard to remember what the first Friday in March was truly like. To misquote: that past was a foreign country, we did things differently then.

The impact of the coronavirus, particularly since Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared strict near lockdown measures in the UK on 23 March, has dominated everyday life and the news agenda.

The insurance industry and Post have been no exception.

In the past week four of the top five most read articles were Covid-19 related.

Topping this list was our analysis, drawn from across a number of major insurers, that the lockdown had led to a 50% drop in motor claims.

The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on people already hit by storms Ciara and Dennis in early February was second on the list. Our investigation probed how, during this period of isolation, the insurance sector was tackling the particular challenges for those displaced by floods.

A warning from the PRA on bonuses and shareholder payouts during the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak also grabbed the audience’s attention. 

And readers were keen to hear the thoughts of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Sian Fisher on the current situation.

“I know some people will always abuse a situation but my general experience is that people in a crisis situation, actually demonstrate all the behaviours that we really want to bring out … behaviours which are fundamental to create trust,” the organisation’s CEO told Post.

“You’re going to see some amazing things being done, people helping each other and groups being set up.”

Widening the net to the top 10 articles of the week, takes the total Covid-19 stories to six. Which means there was still appetite for business-as-usual stories in these extraordinary times.

The appointment of ex-RSA supremo Andy Haste at Esure as chairman replacing Peter Wood garnered a lot of attention with both the news of his appointment and a blog by Post’s content director Jonathan Swift making the top 10.

And Chubb responding to being targeted by Maze Ransomware hackers also generated a lot of interest. The insurer is a known leader in the cyber insurance market and is investigating as the hackers claim to have encrypted files and stolen data.

The most popular non-coronavirus story though was one that came from the April edition of Post.

In it reporter Harry Curtis analysed the effect of Storms Ciara and Dennis and the ongoing recovery from what has been dubbed the worst weather event since 2015.

In response to the coronavirus crisis Post has decided to switch digital-only editions for the next four months. While this decision was a tough one to make, producing a hard copy magazine together takes up time and valuable resources – especially in a remote working environment. Distributing a printed magazine to thousands of readers would also put unnecessary, additional strain on the postal services and, ultimately, be sent to many empty offices.

Along with Harry’s analysis the online version covered the fears of risk managers around the world that the Aon-Willis mega deal will lead to a reduction of choice in the market.

Our set piece interview saw Crawford & Company’s new UK and Ireland president Lisa Bartlett talking about her plans to upset the status quo having thrown herself into claims management and loss adjusting after a career spent working for insurers and brokers.

Meanwhile, our rising star was Vicky Sweeney of CLS Risk Solutions who heads the managing general agent’s rights of light division.

In a pair of opinion pieces, Axa’s Jon Walker looked at underinsurance and SMEs while LV’s Steve Treloar shared his views on delivering better customer outcomes.

In another double header, David Worsfold took an in-depth look at the impact war and terrorism had on the insurance industry in the 19th and 20th centuries while in a second feature Tim Evershed asked how insurers are responding to the rise of cryptocurrencies.

Unsurprisingly, the topic of coronavirus was also prominent in the magazine. According to David Worsfold so far the industry is not doing a very good job of protecting its reputation.

“Some of its responses have been leaden-footed, clumsy and seemingly divorced from the grim realities many policyholders are grappling with. It must do better and without delay,” he urged.

And so our look back on a world changing month ends with the same message as last week. We wish you all the best in these extraordinary times.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay at least two metres apart.

Emmanuel Kenning
Senior reporter

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