13th November 2021

Specialist liability underwriter Medical & Commercial International (MCI) today announces the launch of a ground-breaking infectious disease liability (IDL) cover. Based on extensive epidemiological research by leading scientists and liability practitioners, MCI will be the world’s first and only team dedicated to the (re)insurance, management and handling of IDL risks and claims. The cover will be provided by MCI’s Syndicate 1902, which was recently approved by Lloyd’s to underwrite from 1st January 2022 and is managed by Asta, the leading third-party managing agent at Lloyd’s.

The unique product has been designed using real-world outbreak data to reflect precisely the disease-litigation risks faced by a wide range of organisations. It provides cover for healthcare organisations, as well as most commercial enterprises in sectors including hospitality, accommodation, childcare, higher education, retail, and entertainment. It is also intended to be available to entities within the governmental and public sector.
The breakthrough coverage, built on MCI’s comprehensive scientific research, insures against liability arising from bodily injury to third parties due to an insured’s negligence in causing or exacerbating a localised infectious disease outbreak. Written on a ‘claims made’ and notified policy form, the policy will aim to significantly remove doubt about IDL coverage with policy language dedicated to the science of infectious disease, rather than relying on the insurance industry’s language “norms”.

King’s College London immunologist Dr Lauren O’Neill, who joins the MCI team on 1 January as infectious diseases practice leader, said: “We live and work constantly in the presence of infectious pathogens. Typically we fight them off, but as everyone is now fully aware, they occasionally lead to devastating, socially disruptive outbreaks. The rise in zoonotic diseases – those which can jump from animals to humans – and the explosion of global travel have combined to significantly increase the likelihood of pandemics. This new policy is a powerful tool to help entities reduce the liability uncertainties associated with pandemics and infectious disease.”

MCI founder and CEO Philip Trafford, active underwriter of Syndicate 1902, said: “Pre Covid-19, the prevalence of infectious disease lawsuits has increased steadily over the past 3 decades. Following Covid-19, it is clear that the global community requires a dedicated liability product which is not only carefully underwritten by a team incorporating scientific expertise, but also which talks to the sophistication of IDL risks and claims. Through painstaking research, we believe MCI’s new IDL product not only reduces the uncertainty emanating from a growing threat, but also provides a cost-effective long-term solution to the global community. The SIAB (syndicate-in-a-box) Lloyd’s platform we’ve built with Asta is ideal to launch that cover to the world quickly and efficiently though digital distribution channels.”

Asta chief executive Julian Tighe added: “This development shows how an experienced risk-carrying entity with ideas for a new product can get up and running quickly through the Lloyd’s SIAB structure. With a third-party service provider like Asta involved from the outset, the process is relatively straightforward, and allows new products to reach customers around the world with surprising efficiency.”

 

Infectious disease liability insurance cover