By Muvija M and Carolyn Cohn
LONDON – The head of Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley said on Friday there were rising litigation risks linked to COVID-19 as economies emerge from the pandemic and workers head back to the office.
Corporate risk has been elevated since the onset of the health crisis, Adrian Cox, who took over as Beazley’s chief executive officer earlier this year, said in an interview at the Reuters Future of Insurance Europe conference.
“There are new risks out there, how do companies manage a hybrid environment, a mixture of working from home and the office. How do they manage vaccinations, how do they manage wearing of masks…these things present new risks for employers.”
“I think drivers of social inflation are here to persist for a while,” he said.
Insurers define social inflation as a rise in the size of damages awards made by juries.
Insurers have been scaling back the cover they offer companies in anticipation of a surge in discrimination claims after the lifting of COVID-19 curbs and the gradual return of employees to offices after months of working from home.
Cox had previously told Reuters that corporations were dealing with questions around what could classify as discrimination as they bring employees back into office buildings.
His comments on Friday came after the company reported a surge in premiums written thanks to a steady improvement in rates, with Beazley’s cyber and executive risk business showing a hefty 48% rise.
However, without giving further details, Cox said there were some parts of the company’s portfolio where rate rises were tapering off.
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(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Muvija M; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)