Cédric E. Stephens | Insurance Risks and Confidence Lessons from the Pandemic | Business


There are lessons that society and risk managers in particular, like insurance companies, can learn from the ongoing pandemic. For example, what can we know about people who refuse to be vaccinated? This article will focus on a small subset of a larger group, for example, people who are skeptical about the vaccine as opposed to those who intend to protect their constitutional rights.

What does the behavior of the first group tell us? What are they saying? They could say a variety of things. One obvious thing is that these “refuseniks” are suspicious of the person (s) who convey the message about the need to be vaccinated. The lack of trust could mean that the recipients of the message do not believe the message. They might also question the effectiveness of the vaccines and have doubts about the veracity of the message. They could also say all of the above or other things. We have to listen and decode what they are saying.

These thoughts were sparked by an intriguing headline from a June 2021 Reuters report titled “Rastafarian Distrust of Western Medicine Contributes to Jamaica’s Reluctance to Vaccination.” The article said, “Only 32% of Jamaicans said they would take a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recently released Gallup poll. This estimate is one of the highest vaccine hesitancy rates in the world and well below the roughly 60-70% that experts at the World Health Organization have estimated necessary to achieve herd immunity. ”

The concept of insurance

The two foreign journalists who wrote the article linked the reluctance to vaccination to a cause: Rastafarian beliefs. They also probably overestimated the impact of this set of beliefs on the general population.

The concept of insurance is simple. It is built on trust. In return for the payment of a premium, insurers agree to compensate policyholders for specified loss, damage, illness or death caused by an unforeseen event. In the words of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, insurers offer products “to facilitate difficult transitions in the personal and professional life of clients and to provide them with comfort and assistance”.

Despite the nobility of the mission, insurance has a bad reputation. The cause, in the opinion of One Inc insurance blogger Patricia Moore, is a lack of confidence.

A 2014 survey in Jamaica by the Mona School of Business & Management at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus found that a majority of Jamaicans surveyed trusted credit unions more than insurance companies. They had a negative perception of insurers. Mistrust exists on both sides – between the insurer and the insured. Insurers believe that some policyholders are cheaters. They submit fraudulent claims. At the same time, the survey found that there is a general perception among consumers that insurance companies do not pay claims. I have no evidence to suggest that the situation has improved in the seven years since the investigation was conducted.

Consumers in the United States of America also have a negative perception of their insurers. Only 38% of them trust insurers, 26% trust them but not very much, while 17% have no trust in insurers.

Increase customer confidence

British consumers do not trust their insurers either. The ongoing restructuring within the Association of British Insurers, which I spoke about on August 21, has been described as part of the industry’s efforts to build customer trust and improve the reputation of the industry.

The Geneva Association is the leading international think tank on insurance and risk management issues. In a September 2012 brochure titled, The social and economic value of insurance, he argues that the protection offered by insurers provides individuals, institutions and the economy with what he describes as “a sense of security and peace of mind.” This protection, he says, “encourages loss mitigation, increases prosperity and generally makes people more aware of the reality of risks and their consequences through information and pricing signals. It also discusses some of the misconceptions about insurance coverage, particularly the areas where they have led to disappointments or disillusionment. ”

None of these positive conditions can occur in the absence of trust.

I recently read that the Insurance Council of Australia, the country’s equivalent of the Insurance Association of Jamaica, announced measures to “improve the accessibility and availability of commercial insurance products for the industry. small and medium-sized enterprises, including the creation of an Advisory Board (BAC) to collaborate on solutions to these problems. LAC will bring together the business and insurance sectors to find practical solutions to the problems of insurance availability and affordability.

Improve the reputation of the industry

It’s a great idea that could be easily implemented in Jamaica with the confidence, risk management, mitigation advice, and education included. I recommend such a move to the Insurance Association of Jamaica.

The recent tragedy which resulted in the deaths of three men after entering a septic tank in St Ann has highlighted the safety of employees in a particular industry. He also highlighted insurance protection issues, the need for training and what can be done to prevent a recurrence.

The initiative that I am suggesting to the new IAJ President, if implemented, would go some way to build confidence, improve the reputation of the industry and help it generate more revenue.

– Cedric E. Stephens provides independent information and advice on risk management and insurance. If you need free information or advice to help you resolve a problem, write to The Business Editor [email protected] or contact Mr. Stephens directly at [email protected] Letters and emails will be edited for clarity and length.


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