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Ebola's Impact on Insurance Lines

Businesses are increasingly turning to insurers as the threat of Ebola rises...
October 29, 2014

Businesses are increasingly turning to insurers as the threat of Ebola rises. While it is an outbreak that could potentially impact several lines of insurance including workers' compensation, business interruption, supply chain disruption, general liability and directors & officers, Randy Nornes, executive vice president at Aon Risk Solutions, said that since there have been only isolated cases in the U.S. it's too early to tell how this will affect coverage.

Meanwhile, Zurich-based ACE Ltd. has said that it may impose restrictions on liability claims related to Ebola for commercial customers with employees traveling to West Africa. The action is believed to be the first by an insurer. ACE said it would selectively exclude Ebola from coverage for U.S. customers "on a case-by-case basis."

Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), said, "It is standard operating procedure for insurers to adjust the questions they ask when it comes to underwriting an insurance policy in the face of new risks." He notes that unlike auto and homeowners insurers, which can be subject to strict oversight by state regulators, commercial insurers have a fair amount of leeway setting the terms and conditions of policies they sell and renew.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports close to 9000 cases of Ebola with nearly 4500 deaths as of mid-October. Of those infected, only a handful has been reported outside of Africa.

Facts and Perspectives on the Ebola Pandemic (I.I.I. 10/13/14)
Ebola Outbreak: Lockton White Paper (10/15/14)
Aon Activates Ebola Response Task Force (10/20/14)
Ebola Crisis Spurs New Insurance Products(10/22/14)

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