week commencing 03/05/20:

The Luther grapevine tells us more insurers and brokers consider home working the ‘new normal’ and there’s plenty of evidence that business is still broadly on track. But if video calls are here to stay, maybe it’s time to lose the long hair and athleisure in favour of something less Anna Wintour?

Positive news included…

Brit gains approval for follow-only syndicate

Brit has become the second syndicate this week to gain approval at Lloyd’s, following Carbon underwriting’s Syndicate In A Box, hosted by Asta. External-link. [Insurance Insider]

London market modernisation accelerates rapidly

New data from PPL and Hyperion X underlines that, as expected, home working has led to a step change in the use of online platforms for insurance. External-link. [Reactions]

Lloyd’s set for gradual reopening of 1 Lime Street

Lloyd’s has set up a working group to plan for the partial reopening of 1 Lime Street, seeking a volunteer group of non-vulnerable individuals whose jobs are most difficult to perform from home. External-link. [Insurance Insider]

AIG launches delayed HNW syndicate

AIG announced this week that its new high net worth Syndicate 2019, set to be one of the largest ever launched, but delayed since last October, is now approved to go ahead. External-link. [The Insurer]

FCA launches digital sandbox pilot

This launch, designed to provide a collaborative environment for firms to test innovative new ideas, has been advanced because of coronavirus.  It will now prioritise projects relating to the pandemic. External-link. [Professional Adviser]

Buffett remains optimistic and would underwrite pandemic cover

Warren Buffett’s shareholder meeting was held digitally for the first time this week, with the veteran reiterating his positive outlook for the firm and the future of America. External-link. [Reuters] He also confirmed he would underwrite pandemic risk “at the right price”, citing the firm’s renowned appetite to quote on contrarian business, and its success underwriting new business after 9/11. External-link. [Artemis.bm]

Venture capitalists seek out new P&C opportunities

Several insurance VC firms, including Stonepoint, Blackstone, Aquiline, Warburg Pincus and CVC are chasing opportunities for new ventures in the sector, looking to exploit disruption from COVID-19. External-link. [Insurance Insider]

While negative news included…

Reinsurers struggle with rate rises

Ratings agency Fitch warned that global reinsurers could struggle to get rate rises at renewal because of the global economic shrinkage caused by the pandemic; even though they need increases to offset pandemic losses. External-link. [Law 360]

Willis Towers Watson estimates US-UK COVID-19 losses at $80bn

Analysts at Willis Towers Watson have estimated the total losses from COVID-19 for US and UK insurers to total around $80bn, across at least eight lines of business. External-link. [Insurance Day]

Regulator steps in to resolve BI disputes via courts

The Financial Conduct Authority has pre-empted legal action by groups of claimants by asking for a ruling itself, in the hopes of finding a faster solution, and reducing the financial strain on vulnerable businesses. External-link. [Financial Times]

AIG results show COVID impacts

AIG announced results in which earnings dropped from Q4’s $1.58 per share to $0.11 per share in Q1, driven by large investment losses and an underwriting loss of $87m. External-link. [Businesswire]

Swiss insurer makes COVID offer to BI policyholders

Helvetia has made a pragmatic offer to its BI policyholders.  Acknowledging that protracted lawsuits help no one, it has offered to pay 50% of coverholders’ lockdown-related costs, provided they acknowledge that future cover will exclude pandemics. External-link. [The Insurer]

Insurtech briefing reveals dramatic fall in funding

The Willis Towers Watson Insurtech briefing for Q1 revealed a 54% drop in funding for insurtechs.  Although coronavirus played some part in the decline, it seems that the sector was already heading for a pause. External-link. [Willis Towers Watson]

And finally…

The WFH style bible

Since Anna Wintour shocked Vogue readers by appearing at her home desk in tracksuit bottoms, we now know that anything goes.  In case you need some tips, however, fashion blog Refinery 29 looks at how to choose workwear when you never leave the house. External-link. [Refinery 29]

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