First off, my best wishes and thoughts go out to everyone I know (friends, colleagues, contacts) at this uncertain time.
The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, when it comes to the working practices of many in the insurance and reinsurance industry.
It’s also resulted in a significant increase in work-load for some.
We’re running a survey currently, exploring the implications of the pandemic for the insurance and reinsurance market and the early responses have thrown up something very interesting.
Normally, when we run surveys across our readership (close to 200k per month across Reinsurance News and Artemis), the broker community are one of the largest segments of the industry to respond.
In fact, brokers are almost always at least the second largest community to respond to any survey I’ve ever been involved in for the re/insurance sector.
Except this one…
Currently insurance and reinsurance brokers make up less than 10% of the few hundred respondents we’ve already had to our survey.
Insurers and reinsurers, meanwhile, make up more than 60%, with ILS funds another 15%.
What does this tell us?
Either brokers have been told not to give their opinions away freely at this time (which begs the question why), or they’re the busiest role in re/insurance right now.
Why would they be the busiest?
For one thing, when the proverbial hits the fan who do you call, often your broker.
If you have questions about coverage, need more coverage, or just want certainty that deals are going ahead and trading is continuing, then often a broker is still your best bet.
But there’s another reason they could be particularly busy at this time.
Despite what most brokers say, the word in the market is that the response times of some have plummeted and that even some of the very large firms appear to be struggling to sustain business as usual at this time.
Brokers are still dependent on a lot of face-to-face contact and there are many in the industry for who this is all they know. So it’s natural that transitioning to remote, working from home and finding ways to sustain trading continuity may take a little time.
This also likely hasn’t been helped by the fact their own systems aren’t really reducing the human-element of risk trading and placement. Rather they have already seen the benefits of the switch to digitalised contract filing and other systems, but the efficiency gains have been minimal and already offset.
All of which just makes the inevitable switch to true electronic trading of insurance and reinsurance risks so much more important.
If service levels are declining in places, this shift is only going to accelerate.