The global insurance industry could be hit with losses of $203 billion this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance exchange. The claims costs are on a par with some of the most catastrophic hurricanes of recent years and could rise further if the virus isn’t contained, Lloyd’s said.
“Once the scale and complexity of the social and economic impact of COVID-19 is fully understood, the overall cost to the global insurance non-life industry is likely to be far in excess of those historical events,” Lloyd’s said.
Chubb’s disclosure of second quarter 2020 global net catastrophe losses underscores the damage COVID-19 is doing to some carriers’ bottom lines. The global property/casualty insurer estimated $1.8 billion in pretax catastrophe losses for Q2. Of that number, close to $1.4 billion in pretax catastrophe losses stem from the coronavirus pandemic. Losses from severe U.S. weather events and U.S. civil unrest constitute the difference.
Coronavirus losses could be an issue for some time, Chubb Chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg suggested during his comments about 2020 first-quarter earnings earlier this year. “In this case the degree of revenue impact is simply unknowable,” Greenberg said at the time.
CNA Financial Corporation announced that it expects to report net catastrophe losses in the second quarter of 2020 of $182 million related to COVID-19, $61 million related to civil unrest and $58 million related primarily to severe weather-related events, for a total catastrophe loss estimate of $301 million pretax.
The losses are substantially driven by healthcare professional liability with additional impacts from workers’ compensation, management liability, commercial property, trade credit, and surety. Due to the recent timing of the event, emergence pattern of claims, and long tail nature of certain exposures the losses are substantially classified as incurred but not reported (IBNR) reserves.
W.R. Berkley Corp. cautioned that its 2020 second quarter pretax catastrophe losses will reach $145 million, with more than half of that coming from COVID-19 related costs. Out of that total, $85 million stems from COVID-19 claims, the specialty insurer and reinsurer said. Civil unrest created another $20 million in pretax catastrophe losses, and $40 million stems from severe weather-related events, W.R. Berkley said.
W.R. Berkley indicated its COVID-19 claims, due to the pandemic and resulting economic crisis, consist of losses mostly from “contingency and event cancellation policies, workers compensation, professional liability and other liability-related products, as well as commercial property-related business interruption coverages.