Products designed for the risks of remote working will become commonplace moving forward

Insurance policies will need to change in order to reflect the fluctuating risk environment created by the Covid-19 pandemic, while new products centred around remote working, for example, will become more common, according to data and analytics firm GlobalData.

To mitigate the spread of coronavirus, prime minister Boris Johnson instructed Brits to work from home where possible back in March – this has had a knock-on effect on claims and insurance risks, with a dip in theft, burglary and household damage claims, for example around burst pipes or leaking appliances, where individuals have been present at home more.

However, GlobalData said this transition to home working brings other insurance-related concerns, primarily around the physical and mental health of employees, which is not typically covered within standard household insurance policies.

The company added that the lack of specifically designed workspaces could lead to ergonomic and postural injuries, while reduced social interactions could put strain on employees’ mental wellbeing.

Some insurers are already tackling this conundrum; GlobalData cited that Chubb has launched work from home insurance for the Asia Pacific region that includes cover for postural strains and injuries, as well as mental health support.

Long-term change

A recent poll conducted by GlobalData found that:

  • 27% of respondents want to work from home permanently post-Covid-19.
  • 46% of respondents would prefer a mix of home and office working moving forward.
  • 27% of respondents want to return to the office full time.

Yasha Kuruvilla, insurance analyst at GlobalData, said: “With people spending more time in the house, the risk of accidental damage has increased. According to Zurich, claims for flat-screen TVs have increased by 22% since lockdown began and accidental damage to glass increased by 57%.

“Once the risks associated with remote working become clearer, more insurers will release products to cater to this growing group of individuals so that businesses can keep their employees healthy and well protected.

“Home insurance premiums will also be affected. However, insurers will need more data to ascertain whether the decreased cost of theft and escape of water outweighs the increased costs of home accidents.”