John Neal, CEO of Lloyd’s, said it is too early for the market to assess the likely amount of insurance losses from Covid-19, but a whole range of business classes will be affected. He emphasised that Lloyd’s is treating the crisis as it would any other form of catastrophic loss.
Lloyd’s central solvency ratio was 205 per cent on 19 March, dropping from 238 per cent in 2019, while the market-wide solvency ratio dropped to 146 per cent from 156 per cent last year.
During a Q&A, Neal said that event cancellation insurance is the easiest line ‘to get your arms around’, which includes the Olympics, Wimbledon and Glastonbury Festival: “We are an insurer of event cancellation but not as big as the Munich Res and Swiss Res of this world. It’s not our over-arching issue.”
Swiss Re announced recently that it has an estimated overall market share of approximately 15 per cent of event management and cancellation covers that could be claimed due to Covid-19.
Munich Re has not yet released any numbers connected to Covid-19, although it said in a recent statement that the group’s economic position remains strong: “Even in the very unlikely scenario of a worldwide pandemic equivalent to a 200-year event, insurance claims are expected to be similar in scope to a medium-sized natural catastrophe in property-casualty reinsurance.”
Neal said the market would communicate its market losses in early May, having learned the lesson of the 9/11 terrorist attacks when losses were released too soon and had to be adjusted: “It’s tempting to rush out with a figure but there’s nothing worse than rushing out with the wrong figures. So, let’s make sure we get the numbers right before we go forward.”