Pandemic is crisis that just keeps on giving

Business insurers and global governments must look to the creation of joint solutions for future global events warned Airmic Deputy CEO Julia Graham.

Speaking at the launch of the risk management organisation’s three-day virtual conference today Ms Graham (pic) said that lessons needed to be learned.

Airmic and Control Risks will use the Airmic Fest event to launch a joint report which examines the actions risk professionals have taken during the Covid pandemic. The report, “New challenges, new lessons”, suggests changes to current practices, with the strategic aim of enabling effective resilience in the ‘new normal.’

The report found that risk managers were very rarely accessing data from risk or insurance advisors to help navigate the risks the pandemic has created.

Organisations were heavily reliant on data supplied by UK government sources for risk intelligence during the Covid-19 crisis. Some 84% of the respondents found it the most useful source of risk intelligence.

This was followed by third-party sources, used by 54.7% of respondents. Meanwhile, less than half of respondents relied on tailored advice and guidance such as from risk advisers (45.3%) and insurance advisers (22.7%).

When asked whether this was a failure of communication between insurers and risk managers or the fact that the insurers data was not deemed to be valuable, Ms Graham said the issues were both internal and external.

“There is a lack of communication between the risk manager and the insurance buyer who can be in separate silos and often have different reporting lines,” she explained. “Therefore, the flow of the information between the two could be better.

“There is also often a lack of understanding that there is a bursary within the insurance sector which can be used to access data and help with the risk management process.”

She added: “The other problem is that the information is not there to be had from the insurance market. We have not had many pandemics from which data can be gathered and those that we have had such as Ebola and SARS have been concentrated in specific regions.

“This is the first global pandemic and the data has not been there to share.”

Ms Graham said the current pandemic was also different to the risks which businesses have faced in the past in terms of its behaviour.

“This a crisis which just keeps on giving,” she said. “Normally a major event would start with an emergency phase, then move to the crisis phase from which there would be a recovery element.

“With Covid we have had a crisis and now face a second spike which will effectively create another crisis. We are facing a crisis loop which may come back again until a solution is found, which in this this case is a vaccine.”

Ms Graham said The UK government and governments around the world have been quick to share information with businesses and looking to the future it was clear collaboration was needed to create workable solutions.

“The insurance industry, their buyers and government need to collaborate, not only in the UK but internationally to create solutions. We have a pandemic at present but what will the next event be?”