Despite pandemic risk being a known threat, COVID-19 has introduced significant uncertainty into the (re)insurance market. Who could have predicted at the turn of the year that, within three months, governments worldwide would simultaneously impose quarantines, travel restrictions, business closures and a variety of other measures in an attempt to mitigate the spread of a virus? Countries across the globe are having to deal with a lack of preparation and planning. While lockdowns have helped to flatten the infection curve in some countries, the economic consequences are considerable.
Unsurprisingly, 10 months into the COVID-19 crisis, with cases still rising and crippling effects to industries still playing out, “spread of infectious diseases” has rocketed up the rankings to become a top concern for businesses, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Executive Opinion Survey (EOS).
The responses of over 12,000 executives across 127 countries reflect not just the current health crisis but also how the fallout may reverberate across economies and societies in the years to come, aggravating pre-existing vulnerabilities to a broad swath of global risks, inflaming already tense divides and surfacing secondary complications, according to Richard Smith-Bingham, Executive Director of Insights at Marsh & McLennan Advantage, and Graeme Riddell, Research Manager at Marsh & McLennan Advantage.