The National Insurance Academy’s (NIA) organised its 16th Annual Insurance Summit as a virtual event yesterday.
The event with the theme ‘Changing dimension of insurance risks – strategies to combat emerging challenges,’ saw a cross-section of industry leaders speak on the challenges and opportunities facing the insurance industry in India today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NIA director G Srinivasan spoke about the transformational phase of the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasised the importance of collaborative risk management for handling emerging risks like climate change, pandemics and cyber risks.

IRDAI member non-life T Alamelu said that the insurance industry has shown resilience in facing the COVID-19 pandemic and worked as a shock absorber for the economy. “The pandemic has worked as a catalyst for the insurance industry to be ready with their proactive plan for future events like this pandemic,” she said.

Speaking about the huge surge in demand for health insurance over the past eight months, she said that the IRDAI had requested the industry to come out with standardised health insurance plans and to simplify and streamline the process and this included redefining the exclusion clause and portability.

“Risks can no longer be ignored and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that insurance can no longer be ignored. While risks are potential business opportunities for insurers, they have to handle it with caution,” she said. She also highlighted the huge opportunities for cyber liability covers in the midst of a manifold increase in digital transactions.

Life Insurance Corporation of India chairman M Kumar spoke about the changing dynamics of insurance risks starting from climate change, Ebola, MERS, cyber risk and the COVID-19 pandemic now which was the final nail in the coffin.

“Climate change will result in frequent catastrophes, pandemics, vector borne diseases, environmental imbalance, food scarcity and social security issues,” he said. He highlighted the importance of embracing technological innovations through AI to manage the emerging risks and the rising expectations of millennial customers.

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