Debate about insurance against future pandemics


Debate about insurance against future pandemics

Munich . The insurance industry, which has come under pressure in the corona crisis, is pushing for mandatory coverage against future pandemics in Germany, which should be borne jointly by the insurance industry and the state. The aim should be “to provide protection, especially for small and medium-sized companies for possible future pandemics, with foresight, more predictable and faster right from the start,” said Klaus-Peter Röhler, member of the board of the market leader Allianz in Munich.

The General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) is already preparing for a lengthy discussion: “At the moment, the political forces are logically concentrating on combating the current pandemic, so I do not expect any short-term political decision on our concept,” said GDV General Manager Jörg Asmussen. “It remains a topic for the federal election year (2021).”

Call for state participation

The proposed discussion stipulates that corporate customers pay into a pandemic insurance in which the state participates. “In the case of a defined pandemic, the insurers would take over benefits up to a contractually agreed amount; if this amount is exceeded, the benefits would be covered by state takeover,” said Allianz board member Röhler.

The corona pandemic has brought criticism from the insurance industry – virtually around the world – because many insurance companies did not pay for officially ordered company closures, even if corporate customers had taken out insurance. The result was a wave of lawsuits that hit Allianz among others.

For insurance companies, a global pandemic is the extreme case of an “accumulation risk” – that is, damage that hits host of customers at the same time and therefore entails immense financial burdens. The industry argues in international unity that a purely privately financed pandemic protection without state participation would exceed the financial performance of the insurance companies. For example, the two major US industry associations APCI and NAMIC have described pandemics as uninsurable.

But even with state aid, Allianz believes that pandemic coverage would only be affordable for customers if it were mandatory: “A compulsory solution would be that a voluntary insurance solution would not result in comprehensive coverage; Find a patchwork quilt, ”said Röhler. “In addition, with a voluntary solution it is more difficult to keep the premiums affordable if the price is calculated correctly. We absolutely want to avoid that. “

Duty for everyone?

The GDV already presented a discussion paper in the summer in which a mandatory solution is mentioned as a possibility. In July, Joachim Wenning, CEO of reinsurance company Munich Re, also advertised a joint private-government initiative. According to GDV, the German Ministry of Finance has now announced a research project on the subject. The association wants to tinker with its model and “further concretize” this, as General Manager Asmussen said. (APA / DPA / red.)

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