Annual Insurance Review 2021

Published on 14 January 2021

Welcome to RPC's 2021 annual insurance review. No prizes for guessing what we will be talking about this year.

In last year's review, we spoke about geo-political instability, Brexit and the US election's impact on international trade, climate change and insurance as a driver of geo-political change.

In common with governments and businesses around the world, what we did not recognise was the risk of a global pandemic bringing unparalleled disruption to global economies – and lives.  

In 2019, we saw what at the time appeared to be unprecedented disruption to global businesses and events due to political uprising and adverse weather conditions, including the cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix and several Rugby World Cup matches due to Typhoon Hagibis.  Of course this year it's hard to think of a sport, cultural event or business sector that has been unaffected by the virus.

Brexit suddenly seemed to almost be a topic of light relief (until very recently, perhaps).

All in all, it's been one of the most volatile and difficult years in history, not just for the insurance market but for virtually all industries and individuals.

Our review this year will provide you with the usual collection of articles from our business class experts and from around the world's key insurance markets.  You can read how Covid-19 has impacted your own market / region, but whilst that is obviously the dominant topic of conversation, there are many other issues that remain of crucial importance.  

Key risk issues from previous years have not gone away – they've just been overshadowed temporarily (we hope).  So, you can read about how over the coming year:

  • there will be re-engagement with climate change initiatives, and a continued drive away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, with some talking of a green recovery from Covid;
  • tech and artificial intelligence gains, accelerated by mass home working and the needs of a global medical emergency, will be built upon and taken advantage of;
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) as a means of evaluating a company's corporate behaviour (including its behaviour whilst under the stress of the last year) will be ever more important;
  • at the time of writing a no deal Brexit looks the most likely outcome after years of uncertainty, which will bring yet more unpredictability for businesses whilst they look to rebuild after this year-of-years; and
  • perhaps the biggest test of all will likely come towards the middle and end of 2021, as governments' financial support is withdrawn and businesses that have struggled to survive 2020 begin to fall into insolvency.
So there is a great deal for our industry to be thinking about and working on, and all at a time when, more than ever, the insurance market's importance as the essential lubricant for business of all kinds, and indeed for society as a whole, is being recognised.  With BI claims and test cases around the world attracting headlines, regulatory, political and societal scrutiny over the insurance industry's provision of products that meet clients' needs and the efficient and fair handling of claims will be more intense than ever.

For now, we wish you all a safe, healthy and happy New Year.


To find out more, explore this year's highlights below or download the full Review.


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