Robert Munden, chief underwriting officer, Gresham Underwriting.
Regrettably, as often happens, the pandemic has allowed the insurance industry to again show itself as the bad guy rather than managing to highlight the sterling contributions that so many within the industry have made to assist in keeping the country running through this extraordinary period – through payments, advice and risk management guidance and more.
So, what of the court case itself? Eight insurers all together yet acting independently I think is confusing enough for many. For all to be there because – despite underwriters’ intentions – the contracts were not drafted as tightly or as carefully as they might have been across such a cross section of the insurance industry’s good and the great really doesn’t show the industry in a good light.
The fact that an appeals process is already agreed long before a verdict has been passed down also surely just plays to the perception of the man on the street that this is an attempt simply to avoid paying claims.
We know, of course, that the industry seeks to settle all legitimate claims in as speedy a manner as possible (and indeed this has been the case with Covid-19 related losses where cover is in force) but this case simply reflects the fact that the industry – in its haste to attract customers and premium – left some of its professionalism at the door by failing to adequately draft certain policy wordings and by failing to make absolutely clear what is and what isn’t covered in some of these. Sadly, I think we have a bit of making up to do.