FERMA Seeks Insurer Flexibility with Buyers Dealing with COVID-19

A set of protective hands around paper chain people in a circle

April 08, 2020 |

A set of protective hands around paper chain people in a circle

The Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) has called on brokers and insurers to demonstrate enhanced understanding of the insurance needs of European businesses to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent recovery.

In a statement, FERMA President Dirk Wegener said, "Many companies are under great pressure as a result of the pandemic. We need brokers and insurers to work with us as partners at this difficult time. For some businesses, it may be a question of survival."

Mr. Wegener said FERMA believes insurers should be flexible with both business clients and individual consumers. He said the organization is also concerned that imposing retrospective changes to insurance coverages would create a breach of contract certainty and not help in building a relationship of trust. In addition, he said FERMA supports creating national pools to cover future pandemic risks.

FERMA welcomed a statement from the European insurance regulatory agency European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) that urged the insurance industry to treat consumers fairly and exercise flexibility in how they're treated.

"The message is for businesses, too," Mr. Wegener said. "It is essential that we have continuing access to insurance and that we are kept well informed. We also need insurers to exercise flexibility when reasonable and practical. This applies both to timing and extent of premium payments and claims negotiations. We welcome the support that insurers have put in place so far."

The FERMA president acknowledged the stresses facing insurers and said that a healthy insurance industry will be among the things essential to businesses' recovery from the pandemic.

FERMA called on the European Union to support the creation of national insurance pools for future pandemic risks. "National pools have been useful in responding to other severe and widespread risks, such as terrorism," Mr. Wegener said. "We believe they can be so now. We encourage the European Union to support such developments and ask EIOPA to make proposals. FERMA remains available to provide an expert view from risk and insurance managers."

April 08, 2020