Coronavirus: Impact on UK Life Branch
Since the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a pandemic, the world has been in a state of emergency. The drastic measures taken by the affected countries to contain this pandemic give an idea of the seriousness of the situation – for societies, the economy and for each individual.
As a globally active company, we too are looking at current developments with concern, but without panic.
Our top priority in these times is the protection of our employees, our clients and our business partners. We have therefore implemented a range of strict new policies that are designed to minimise the risk of infection to our employees and to ensure continuity of business services for our clients and partners. These include, among other things, a moratorium on business trips, the introduction of flexible split-office or home-office arrangements, cancellations of personal meetings and event attendance, and strict restrictions on access to our buildings.
As a progressive and largely digital business, Munich Re already supports extensive flexible working and therefore even in situations such as widespread self-isolation has resilience built into its day to day operations. We are not therefore anticipating any impact to business critical functions on which our clients rely. Specifically, with regards to claims management, we will continue to operate as normal, maintaining our standard claims philosophy that already ensures we treat each individual claim on its own merit.
In terms of the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the assessment work will remain on-going but despite the global increase in the number of infections and loss of life, we do not expect a major strain on the life and health insurance segment. Although a severe global pandemic is the largest possible accumulation risk in this category, we do not currently anticipate the severity to reach several hundreds of thousands of casualties worldwide. Even in the very unlikely scenario of a worldwide pandemic equivalent to a 200-year event, insurance claims are expected to be similar in scope to a medium-sized natural catastrophe in property-casualty reinsurance.
To provide further reassurance, the UK Life Branch business is written directly to the balance sheet of our parent company, ensuring that your business has the highest degree of financial protection. For further financial information please see our financial ratings and recent business results at the following:
With regards to our investment portfolio, while high uncertainty prevails, we expect the impact of falling equity markets, lower interest rates and widening credit spreads be manageable at this point in time. If a worldwide pandemic with the aforementioned effects were to occur, more far-reaching upheavals on the capital markets and more significant implications for our result cannot be excluded. However, Munich Re entered into the current situation very well capitalised, with one of the strongest S2-ratios among its European insurance peers.
In overall economic terms, we currently anticipate the impact of the virus to broaden, although the consequences depend very much on how quickly it can be contained. Generally, we expect to see further volatility and/or losses in all markets over the next few weeks and months, due to the deteriorating virus situation and the plummeting oil prices. Over the longer term, the absence of any safe havens with acceptable yield levels should push the markets back into risk assets, creating new opportunities.
We are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation daily and adapt our plans as necessary to ensure business continuity for you and your customers. To ensure you remain informed of any changes to our plans, we will routinely update this webpage over the coming weeks.
Should you have any specific questions relating to your business please feel free to contact us via the email link below.
This media release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Re. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forwardlooking statements or to make them conform to future events or developments.