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Insurance Protection Gaps in Cyber and Healthcare more acute than in Natural Catastrophes: The Geneva Association

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The insurance protection gaps in healthcare and cyber risks are not sufficiently researched even though their respective protection shortfalls are more dramatic than for natural catastrophe risk, according to the study ‘Understanding and Addressing Global Insurance Protection Gaps’ released today by The Geneva Association.

The report highlights that the cyber protection gap (i.e. the share of uninsured losses in total losses) under various scenarios is estimated at about 90 per cent, representing 0.5 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP); while the healthcare protection gap, using out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. the share of the expenses an insured must pay directly to the healthcare provider, without reimbursement by a third-party) as a proxy, amounts to approximately 2 per cent of the world’s GDP. In contrast, the natural catastrophe protection gap, while still massive, represents about 0.2 per cent of global GDP.

Anna Maria D’Hulster, Secretary General of The Geneva Association, said: “Risk exposures tend to outgrow insurance premiums, leaving individuals, households, firms and the public sector alike underinsured. It is well documented that on average only one third of natural disaster losses are insured. In other areas too, from agriculture to term life, people buy less insurance than is economically beneficial. In addition, the digital transformation of modern economies creates a major gap between cyber risk exposure and available risk management and transfer options.”

The root causes of insurance protection gaps lie with both demand- and supply-side factors affecting the demand for and the provision of insurance services, the study shows. On the demand side, such factors include affordability, product appeal and service quality, as well as policyholder trust. On the supply side, transaction costs and limits to insurability are cited amongst the market imperfections that hold back insurance supply.

When exploring the scope and root causes of insurance protection gaps as well as potential remedies, it is crucial to carefully distinguish between developing (frontier), emerging and mature markets. As the study shows, for example, progress in narrowing natural catastrophe protection gaps has largely remained confined to advanced economies. In addition, the potential for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses to reach catastrophic dimensions is particularly pronounced in low- and lower middle-income countries.

Kai-Uwe Schanz, Senior Advisor to The Geneva Association and author of the report, commented: “The configuration of root causes is the basis for designing remedies and determining the most promising ‘split of responsibilities’ between insurers, governments and other stakeholders. As it is imperative to address both demand- and supply side-issues holistically and simultaneously, a joint stakeholder effort in combination with a perspective that cuts across lines of business and geographical silos appears to be a necessary condition for effectively narrowing protection gaps.”

ENDS

Read the report: Understanding and Addressing Global Insurance Protection Gaps

Read a 4-page research brief

Interviews available on The Geneva Association YouTube Channel

Contact information

The Geneva Association
Daniel Perez-Whitaker
Director of Communications
+41-44-200-4906
daniel_perezwhitaker@genevaassociation.org
or
Isabel Barratt
Communications Manager
+41-44-200-4996
isabel_barratt@genevaassociation.org

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