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Pandemic Risk: Opportunities to Improve Insurability - Public Dialogue

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In the final Dialogue of 2021, the A2ii and IAIS organised a webinar on ‘Pandemic Risk – Opportunities to Improve Insurability’. The dialogue was moderated by Alistair Gough, executive coordinator at the IAIS and lead on IAIS’s work on pandemic risk protection gaps. The dialogue started off with a brief presentation that highlighted global proposals and initiatives to address pandemic risk in various jurisdictions. What followed was a panel discussion with Hannah Grant, Head of A2ii Secretariat, Leigh Wolfrom, Policy Analyst at OECD’s Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Gunther Kraut, Global Head of Epidemic Risk Solutions at Munich Re and Suresh Mathur, Executive Director at IRDAI. 

The necessity of addressing pandemic risk protection gaps was underlined by Hannah Grant, who pointed out that there is a growing consensus that pandemic outbreaks will become more frequent and potentially more severe. Beyond business interruption, the pandemic has also exposed the extent of the global protection gap as a whole, which if left unaddressed, will continue to grow and contribute to global disparities. 

Pointing to the protection gap, Leigh Wolfrom highlighted the significant gap between the amount of economic losses that result from catastrophe-related events and the share of those losses that are insured. Research done by the OECD revealed that for natural catastrophe perils, about 55%-60% of economic losses since 1990 were uninsured - and there were particularly high levels of uninsured losses from floods and earthquakes. Although current data for Covid-19 is subject to an ongoing debate about the applicability of insurance coverage, it is estimated that 99% of the revenue losses that businesses faced as a result of lockdowns and changing economic behaviours were uninsured.

Gunther Kraut highlighted the difference between pandemic and epidemic  and different approaches  to providing cover against such risks. There is an increasing trend of the frequency and severity of epidemic risks, and there are parameters in place that determine the difference between epidemics and pandemics. 

Public-private approaches are key to ensure cover of these risks beyond relying on insurance alone. To wrap up the discussion, Suresh Mathur spoke about IRDAI’s pandemic risk pool initiative and the incentive behind it, including the role that insurance supervisors can play in such initiatives. Among other roles, IRDAI acted as a channel for engagement with industry, governments and policymakers in the creation of the pandemic risk pool.

Dialogue announcement:

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted economic activity in countries around the world and has subsequently undermined the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  This disruption has resulted in significant losses that are likely to be absorbed by policyholders since pandemic-related risks are inherently challenging and complex to insure. However, the pandemic does provide an opportunity for the insurance sector to explore the availability of innovative products that respond to emerging large-scale risks. It also provides an opportunity for the private and public sectors, including insurance regulators, to play a role in finding a viable solution and supporting financial resilience against future pandemics. 

Join us in discussing these topics on 25 November at the A2ii-IAIS Public Dialogue on Pandemic Risk: Opportunities to Improve Insurability. Participants will hear from speakers representing international organisations, practitioners from the insurance industry and select supervisory authorities who will share their experiences as it relates to addressing the pandemic risk gap and the role that governments, insurance supervisors and the insurance sector as a whole can play in pandemic risk initiatives.


  • Hannah Grant, Head of the Secretariat, Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) 
  • Gunther Kraut, Global Head of Epidemic Risk Solutions, MunichRe 
  • Suresh Mathur, Executive Director at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) 
  • Leigh Wolfrom, Policy Analyst, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD
  • Moderator: Alistair Gough, Executive Coordinator, International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) 

This webinar will be open to all stakeholders and will take place at 14:00 CET in English (with simultaneous Spanish and French interpretation). It will last one hour and will take place via WebEx.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to 

Thursday, 25. November 2021 2:00 PM
to Thursday, 25. November 2021 3:00 PM
1 day
Knowledge category:
Public Dialogues
Emerging Topics