15 December 2020Insurance

Lloyd’s launches insurance initiative for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Lloyd's of London has partnered with supply chain data insurtech Parsyl to launch an insurance initiative for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The public-private collaboration includes 14 global re/insurers and aims to address critical risks faced by COVID19 vaccines and other health commodities during distribution.

Lloyd’s and Parsyl will launch a Global Health Risk Facility (GHRF) which will make available billions of dollars of insurance coverage, together with risk mitigation services to help protect and support the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as well as critical health commodities.

The launch includes support from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) which has approved up to $26.7 million for the facility.

The DFC loan will be used to capitalise the new public-private Syndicate 1796, and allow the GHRF to offer cost-effective insurance policies for shipments of vaccines and medical products to developing countries.

The facility, which is anchored by Syndicate 1796, will begin underwriting in January 2021.

The GHRF and Syndicate 1796 have been developed in close partnership with Ascot Underwriting as the managing agent, and in cooperation with AXA XL, McGill and Partners, EY and Lloyd’s of London.

Participating re/insurers include Ascot, AXA, Aegis, Beazley, Canopius, Convex, Chubb, Hamilton, RenRe, QBE and Tokio Marine Kiln, among others.

“As the world prepares to undergo the largest vaccination programme in human history, ensuring the safe and effective distribution of the vaccine is critically important in tackling this global health emergency," said John Neal, CEO of Lloyd’s of London.

"We are thrilled to be launching the Global Health Risk Facility at Lloyd’s – a fantastic example of the way in which our global insurance market has come together to deliver an innovative new solution and model for solving complex global risk challenges posed by the pandemic.”

Ben Hubbard, CEO of Parsyl, added: “By unleashing the power of data, we’re addressing a critical insurance gap when the world needs it most. Launching an undertaking with such broad scale and scope couldn’t have happened without the expertise and dedication of this incredible cross-industry group of public and private partners. It’s now time to vaccinate the world and we’re so proud to be contributing to this monumental global effort.”

The proposed loan from DFC, America’s development bank, will enable Syndicate 1796 to write insurance policies for the distribution of health commodities to eligible low, lower-middle, and upper-middle income countries.

Adam Boehler, CEO of DFC, said: “This important project will help ensure that Covid-19 vaccines remain safe and effective during transportation. We believe this innovative insurance industry collaboration can set up a new model for addressing future global health challenges.”

Chris McGill, head of cargo at Ascot Group and active underwriter for Syndicate 1796, commented: “We’ve been working with Parsyl to solve the challenges of insuring health commodities in emerging markets for nearly two years. The unique combination of a private/public collaboration, technology from Parsyl and risk management from market leaders makes up the DNA of the GHRF. Ultimately these elements have enabled the long-term provision of insurance for this vital supply chain.”

A critical feature of the insurance platform will be the Risk Management Accelerator (RMA), which is separately funded by participating syndicates and donors and supported by the risk consulting services of AXA XL.

The RMA will provide funding and services to enable eligible GHRF clients to access better data and risk mitigation solutions which will strengthen the vaccine supply chain. The RMA will fund a range of services, including conducting surveys of storage locations, supply chain risk evaluations and technology enabled data collection.

Sean McGovern, CEO of UK & Lloyd’s market at AXA XL, said: “We’re very proud to be part of this extraordinary collaboration, harnessing AXA XL’s global risk consulting expertise to advise on the safe distribution of vaccines and AXA’s global footprint to provide emerging markets with local insurance cover.”

Kevin Rimmer, head of cargo at McGill and Partners, commented: “In the midst of a global pandemic, this bold initiative demonstrates the insurance industry’s agility to react and create a vaccine distribution solution at scale and speed. We are delighted to have architected the critical development of the Global Health Risk Facility (GHRF) which is openly available to all clients and brokers worldwide.”

Lloyd's noted that distributing cold chain vaccines and pharmaceuticals safely around the world is extraordinarily complex and they can easily spoil if not properly maintained, especially at the last mile of transit where infrastructure is weak.

The GHRF will protect the quality of the goods and the financial investments made to supply and distribute them at a global level.

Shaun Crawford, global industry leader at EY, further explained: “Transporting billions of live vaccines around the world at speed will be a hugely complex process, which requires collaboration across many industries and governments.

"This GHRF initiative demonstrates the importance of aligning market-leading innovation in the global life sciences industry with the deep-rooted insurance expertise of the UK specialty market and governments around the world to respond to this most pressing global health challenge. We are proud to play our part in supporting the world’s largest vaccination campaign.”

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More on this story

21 December 2020   The company was boosted by an investment from Searchlight Capital Partners in June.
18 January 2021   The GHRF is developed by Parsyl, led by Ascot, and anchored by new Lloyd’s Syndicate 1796.
7 September 2021   The executive has extensive experience in the global marine, logistics, and transportation markets.