(Reuters) – Chubb Ltd. said on Wednesday that it is lobbying the US government to insure companies for losses in future pandemics, while giving the insurance industry a small part of the business and jumping into a debate on how to insure such disasters.
The US insurance industry has largely denied claims for losses caused by coronavirus-driven corporate outages, and says pandemics are excluded.
The denials have led to lawsuits, political pressure and customer criticism, urging the industry to start lobbying the government for a plan to cover future pandemics.
As one of the largest US insurance policy cancellation providers, Chubb's views are likely to influence the ongoing policy debate.
Unlike some in the industry who want the risk to be borne entirely by the government, Chubb wants the industry to play a role in all government-supported insurance plans, CEO Evan Greenberg told Reuters.
"We think the industry has something to take risks here," Greenberg said. He said Chubb is talking to lawmakers, brokers and other insurance companies about its plan.
According to Chubb's plan, the government would offer up to $ 750 billion in coverage for small businesses with up to 500 employees. Of this, the industry would pay for 6% of claims, or up to $ 1
Small businesses would receive a predetermined payment based on wage costs, which the policy would cover for up to three months.
Chubb's proposal for small businesses would require all business insurance companies to participate. Companies would pay premiums only for the insurance companies' share of the coverage, not for the government, making the premiums "very affordable," Greenberg said.
The proposal also includes a program for companies with more than 500 employees, which would be voluntary for insurance companies and provide a total of up to $ 400 billion in coverage through a state reinsurance unit.
Insurers would split up to $ 15 billion during the first year of the program and rise to $ 40 billion during the 10th. Payments to companies would be limited to $ 50 million per policy.
More insurance and risk management news about the coronavirus crisis here .