Despite this, the IUA’s chairman says capital coming into the commercial insurance market is a ‘healthy sign’ 

The availability and affordability of insurance has been an issue across many different classes of business during the pandemic, according to Rob Kuchinski, chairman of the International Underwriting Association (IUA).

Kuchinski raised this point in the IUA’s Annual Review 2020/2021: Expanding your Sphere of Influence report, which launched on 20 September 2021, at the time of the association’s annual general meeting.

He said: “In recent years, a sustained hard market has created difficulties in some industries and raised questions about the provision of cover.

”But new capital coming into our market is a healthy sign. London remains a popular location for international business, with investors ready to back new ventures in our sector. The continuing growth, both in London company market premium income and IUA membership, are clear indicators of this vitality.

”Together with Lloyd’s and an incredible array of broking talent, London remains unrivalled globally as the go-to market for transacting just about any type of (re)insurance transaction our global customers’ demand.

”Our role is to accelerate the pace of change and service excellence over the coming years.”

This is Kuchinski’s first annual review as chairman of the IUA, after taking the helm back in February.

Preparedness for future pandemics

The IUA’s review highlighted that some business classes have been impacted by the conditions of a hard market, as well as driven by their own particular circumstances.

Pandemic restrictions have also had dramatic effects in particular areas, resulting in regulatory concerns.

Business lines impacted includes event cancellation cover, indemnity for vaccine administration by pharmacies and contingency cover for film and television production.

There has additionally been discussion about general liability and preparedness for future pandemic events.

The review stated: “Where cover is deemed too expensive or unavailable and there is potential damage to wider industry, the subject has received much public attention and there is a greater government willingness to intervene with targeted insurance solutions.”

The IUA has consequently been in frequent contact with various government departments over the past year, discussing the commercial appetite for risk and explaining its members’ position.

The aim in each of these conversations is to help ensure a competitive marketplace, where clients can have the widest possible selection of coverage available.

In some cases, this has led to government-backed indemnities to support commercial provision, such as the live event reinsurance scheme in partnership with Lloyd’s of London.

Meanwhile, other solutions are more focused on changing rules, regulations and cultures in affected industries to improve risk management and create more sustainable underwriting conditions.

The review said: ”The pandemic experience will clearly have a long-term impact on the way the London market conducts its business.”