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Suez Canal blockage a huge loss event for global reinsurers

Posted on: March 31st, 2021 by hema kashyap No Comments

The blocking of the Suez Canal and the resulting disruption to global shipping is likely to cause a large loss event for the reinsurance industry. It is estimated that losses may easily run into hundreds of millions of euros.

The shipowner’s protection and indemnity club will probably face claims from the owners of the cargo on the Ever Given and of the other ships that are blocked in the Suez Canal for losses related to perishable goods and supply chain disruptions.
In addition, they may face claims from the Suez Canal Authority itself for loss of revenues. According to press reports, more than 300 ships are stuck at either end of the canal.

A large share of those losses will probably be reinsured by a global panel of reinsurers. It will add pressure to global reinsurers’ 1H2021 earnings—earnings that have already been knocked by catastrophe events such as winter storms in the US and flooding in Australia, as well as by additional coronavirus pandemic-related losses.

Last year, global reinsurers reported heavy declines in earnings due to paid claims and claims reserves related to the coronavirus pandemic. However, underlying performance improved due to significant price increases in non-life primary and reinsurance, and their capital positions remained very strong at end-2020. The sequence of catastrophe events in 2021 will put additional strain on commercial insurance and reinsurance markets, pushing prices even higher in an already hardening market.

FIFA world cup 2022 insured for US$900m

Posted on: March 26th, 2021 by hema kashyap No Comments

FIFA has procured insurance coverage of $900m for the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament. It covers the association’s additional costs on incidents of cancellation, postponement and/or relocation of the event as well as risks such as natural disasters, war, acts of terrorism, accidents, turmoil, and communicable diseases.

FIFA said the amount was the “maximum insurance volume”, in a disclosure in the small print of the governing body’s newly-published 2020 financial statements, reported InsideTheGames.biz

The statements also said, “The risks covered include natural disasters, accidents, turmoil, war, acts of terrorism and communicable diseases.”

Furthermore, they said, “FIFA’s financial position depends on the successful staging of the FIFA World Cup because almost all contracts with its commercial affiliates are related to this event.

“In the event of cancellation, curtailment or abandonment of the FIFA World Cup, FIFA would run the risk of potentially being exposed to legal claims,” the accounts added.

FIFA is currently budgeting for total revenue of $4.67bn in 2022. More than half, that is, $2.64bn of this would come from broadcasting rights, with a further $1.35bn from marketing rights and $500m from hospitality rights and ticket sales.

The governing body plans to invest just under $1.7bn in the competition.

FIFA said it took out the insurance in 2019, which was in advance of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to affect top-level sport and has forced international spectators to be barred from the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics later this year.

IRDAI orders insurance companies to be more transparent while processing health claims.

Posted on: March 23rd, 2021 by hema kashyap No Comments

The regulator, IRDAI has asked all insurers to be more transparent in their health insurance claim settlement process and apprise the policyholders of reasons for denial of claims.

It is essential that all insurers establish procedures to let policyholders get clear and transparent communication at various stages of claim process, IRDAI said in a circular.

“All the insurers shall ensure putting in place systems to enable policyholders track the status of cashless requests/claims filed with the insurer/TPA through the website/portal/app or any other authorised electronic means on an ongoing basis.
“The status shall cover from the time of receipt of request to the time of disposal of the claim along with the decision thereon,” said the regulator.

The circular on ‘Health Insurance Claims Settlement’ is addressed to life, general and standalone health insurance companies including the third party administrators (TPAs).

In case the TPAs are settling the claims on behalf of the insurers, policyholders should be notified about all the communications as well as location to track the claims, IRDAI said.

“As specified in the IRDAI (Health Insurance) Regulations, 2016, where a claim is denied or repudiated, the communication about the denial or the repudiation shall be made only by the insurer by specifically stating the reasons for the denial or repudiation, while necessarily referring to the corresponding policy conditions,” IRDAI said.

The authority has said insurers should ensure that policyholders are provided granular details of the payments, amounts disallowed and the reasons for the amount disallowed, as per the regulatory norms.

Besides, they should also PROVIDE the grievance redressal procedures and the insurance ombudsman along with complete addresses of the respective offices.

“Insurers and TPAs, wherever applicable, are advised to ensure compliance of these instructions without fail,” IRDAI said

Cabinet approves increase in FDI limit in insurance

Posted on: March 12th, 2021 by hema kashyap No Comments

According to a report by Press Trust of India, the Indian Cabinet has approved the increase in the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in insurance companies from 49% to 74%.

The decision to increase the FDI was taken during Budget 2021 on February 1. Finance Ministe,r Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech had said “I propose to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the permissible FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in insurance companies and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguards,”.
The new FDI rules requires the majority of directors on the board and management to be resident Indians and at least 50% of directors should be independent.

The companies must also retain a specified percentage of profit as a general reserve.

With the Cabinet’s nod to amending the insurance law, the FDI changes will be introduced in Parliament for approval. Once the Parliament approves the changes, the process to introduce an applicable framework would start, an official said.

The increase in the FDI limit will provide insurance companies with additional funds to expand their business. This will also provide access to better technical know-how, innovation, and new products.

To encourage healthy lifestyles, health insurers are allowing up to 100% discount on renewals

Posted on: March 3rd, 2021 by hema kashyap No Comments

In order to motivate policyholders to adopt healthy lifestyles, private health insurers are granting discounts on renewed policies upto 80-100% along with additional rewards and benefits.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India, most health insurers provide a no-claim bonus for claim-free years usually in the range of 25-50%.

For example, Aditya Birla Health Insurance is offering up to 100% return of the premium if the customer has accrued a sufficient number of ‘Activ Dayz’ (one Activ Day means walking 10,000 steps a day, or any fitness activity specified by the insurer). The insurer will monitor the active lives of its customers through its Activ Health app.

Last month, Future Generali India Insurance launched a health super saver policy offering a flat 80% discount on the premium, provided there was no claim in the first and the second year of purchasing the policy.

Previously also IRDAI has said that insurers can provide wellness benefits to existing as well as new policyholders. It is mandatory to disclose all information about the product, any additional charges to obtain the benefits, a method to earn and redeem points as a part of the wellness plan, etc.

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Axis group receives nod to acquire stake in Max Life

Posted on: February 26th, 2021 by hema kashyap No Comments

The IRDAI has given its formal approval for the acquisition of a stake of up to 12% in Max Life Insurance by Axis Bank and its subsidiaries, Axis Capital and Axis Securities (dubbed Axis entities together), Max Financial Services announced in a stock exchange statement.

The IRDAI approval is an integral step in this long-awaited joint venture transaction which was first announced in April 2020, says Max Financial Services.
Max Life is the fourth largest private life insurer in India while Axis Bank is the third largest private bank. The two companies have shared a successful business relationship for over a decade, providing long-term saving and protection products to nearly 2m customers.

Axis Bank contributes more than 60% of Max Life’s business. The life insurer has other channel partners but Axis Bank has been the main distribution channel.

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IRDA looking to ban credit-linked group health insurance

Posted on: December 8th, 2020 by hema kashyap No Comments

The insurer regulator, IRDAI has proposed a ban on credit-linked group health policies such as critical illness covers that are coupled with home loans. IRDAI is intending to withdraw such policies by December 31, 2020.

“As the primary purpose of any health cover is to meet the treatment costs or to manage the lifestyle on diagnosis of critical illness, no insurer is permitted to offer any indemnity or benefit-based credit-linked group health products,” Irdai said in a draft circular. Exception to this has been made for the sale of personal accident policy only.

Ideally, critical illness covers should be purchased along with the health insurance and not as a standalone cover. Also, premiums on group covers are completely unregulated unlike individual policies, where the regulator ensures the pricing is fair.

In the draft circular, IRDAI said that henceforth insurers that wish to offer group insurance should have a board-approved group underwriting policy.

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IRDAI panel proposes pandemic risk pool with $10bn government guarantee

Posted on: September 19th, 2020 by hema kashyap No Comments

A working group set up by IRDAI has recommended to set up a pandemic risk pool for India.

The report submitted by the group to IRDAI said that the actual pool size will depend on the risks covered and the estimated potential losses. However, in the initial stages, it should have $10bn of hedge as guarantee from the government.

The recommended ‘Indian Pandemic Risk Pool’ will be used to address losses caused to low-income sectors of society and will serve as a medium of providing relief to these sectors by the government in case of any future pandemic events.

The working group also proposed that in the first phase of this pandemic pool implementation business interruption impacting the wages of the MSME sector and migrant workers should be given preference.The total pay-out is expected to be around $10.51bn with the estimate of 40m employees and workers getting benefits and pay-outs limited to a maximum of three months.The report also suggested that in subsequent phases, pandemic coverage will be extended to other lines of business. Consequently the exposure will increase and the government backstop requirement will increase to $17bn .

IRDAI executive director and chairman of the working group Suresh Mathur said the pool would require around 20 to 25 years to grow before it becomes self-sufficient.

According to the report, the government backstop will be utilised only when a pandemic trigger strikes and the pool pay-out is higher than the premiums collected, capacity offered by (re)insurers, capacity offered by other bonds and surplus of the prior years.

The working group suggested that Indian Reinsurer GIC Re which has experience in managing the Indian market terrorism risk pool and the nuclear risk insurance pool in India, would be an apt administrator for the proposed pandemic pool.

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Quakes arouses interest in insurance

Posted on: August 12th, 2020 by hema kashyap No Comments

Frequent low-intensity earthquakes are prompting people living in the National Capital Region (NCR) to look for home insurance, according to a survey. According to a report by the National Disaster Management Authority, 59% of India is vulnerable to moderate-to-major earthquakes.

More than 11,000 home owners were surveyed to gain an understanding of people’s attitude towards home insurance. Five out of 10 respondents in Delhi said that earthquakes have made them anxious enough to think about buying home insurance while 35% of the respondents in NCR have home insurance.

Survey findings show however that home insurance is not the first insurance product on most people’s “To Buy” list as 73% of the respondents across India and 57% in Delhi-NCR said that they have so far not considered buying home insurance.

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Seasonal monsoon floods inflict US$20bn economic toll in Asia

Posted on: August 8th, 2020 by hema kashyap No Comments

An active monsoon season prompted more than $20bn in flood-related damage in parts of China, Japan, India and Bangladesh during the month alone. Much of the physical damage to property, infrastructure and agriculture was anticipated to be uninsured – only reinforcing the importance of finding ways to help lower the protection gap across the region.

Furthermore, persistent seasonal rainfall worsened the flood situation across China’s Yangtze River Basin during the month, with the death toll since 1 June rising to at least 175, as extensive flooding affected the hardest-hit provinces of Anhui, Hubei and Chongqing municipality.

The Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) noted that nearly 500,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed and 5.2m ha of cropland affected. Direct seasonal economic losses were estimated at CNY150bn ($22bn), of which nearly $16bn occurred in July. Most of the losses were anticipated to be uninsured.

Other natural hazard events that occurred in Asia Pacific in July include:

  • Record-breaking rainfall triggered widespread flash flooding and landslides across southern Japan from 3-10 July, killing at least 82 people and injuring 114 others. Flood damage was most severe on Kyushu Island as dozens of prefectures reported varying levels of physical damage impacts to homes, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture. The event prompted a nearly $4bn recovery effort by the federal government.
  • Record-breaking rains, described as a 1-in-500-year event by the Meteorological Service of New Zealand, triggered flash flooding and landslides in northern and western New Zealand on 17-18 July. Thousands of homes and a vast area of agricultural land in Northland were inundated. Local authorities of New Zealand expected a multi-million-dollar level of direct damage and economic loss.

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