The COVID-19 outbreak has been a social and economic disaster, and it is no surprise that authorities have been keen for re/insurers to help businesses pay the rapidly escalating bill resulting from the economic shutdown. But forcing institutions to pay out for risks that were never factored into their original premiums is not the way to go, says Michael Mead of M.R. Mead & Co.
The world is changing rapidly, and the insurance industry is reinventing itself to offer new solutions to emerging risks through both traditional products and alternative risk transfer solutions. To ensure it remains relevant in a future dominated by intangible assets and risks that are difficult to price, the insurance industry must revolutionise its use of data and seek collaboration with insurtech companies and customers alike, says Guglielmo Maggini of the Allianz Group.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed how interdependent risk has become in the modern world, and the extent to which a single event can devastate whole economies, let alone individual businesses. The world must respond by becoming much more creative in its approach to risk management, and captives should be at the heart of those efforts, says Michael Zuckerman of Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
New and existing captives must provide adverse scenario modelling as part of their feasibility and application process, but most domiciles do not explicitly outline the specific adverse scenarios that should be included. Captives should engage their actuaries early and often, say Enoch Starnes and Michelle Bradley at Sigma.
Life science companies originally flocked to captive insurance due to a lack of meaningful product liability insurance capacity. As rates harden and terms and conditions tighten, captives can once again ride to the rescue, say Aon’s Anne Christine Fischer and Simon Huttley.
COVID-19 is causing severe disruption in the US economy, particularly in the healthcare industry, where treatment centres are struggling to cope. Once the crisis starts to subside, captives could find themselves with a more significant role, says Jason Nordby of M3 Insurance.
Captives can offer flexibility in managing the emerging risks faced by cannabis companies, offering insurance where the market is limited or has excluded certain coverages, says Alexandra Gedge of Marsh Captive Solutions.
Captives have a natural advantage over commercial insurance companies due to the intimacy of their relationship with their client and owner. But they should never take that relationship for granted, and should prioritise customer service and communication the way a business would with any other customer, says Anders Esbjörnsson of NCC Insurance.
Owners of 831(b) tax-elected captives, and their advisors, have watched with alarm as the 30-year old 831(b) tax election has come under mounting scrutiny. These concerns flared up again with the recent circulation of intimidating letters from the IRS. Owners of 831(b)s have a decision to make about whether they persist with their current arrangements, says Captive Alternative’s Emilie Gastley.
With the EU adding Bermuda to its “white list” of fully cooperative tax jurisdictions, the outlook looks bright for Bermuda’s captive insurance industry in 2020, says Nick Miles of Kennedys.