It is, I believe, still the case that the highest status you can achieve in Cuban society is to be made a Hero of the 1970 Sugar Crop.  Today I witnessed more jostling for a new position of equal of greater prestige.

Flexible Compassionate Action

FCA has confirmed that its proposals around treatment of customers are now official guidance with affect from 18th May at the latest.  You should consider the following:

  • Re-assessing the risk profile of the customer. It might be that the risk profile of some customers has changed because of coronavirus. For example, some motor insurance customers might not be using their vehicle at all or might no longer be using it for business purposes, and customers could potentially be offered materially lower premiums.
  • Considering whether there are other products the firm can offer which would better meet the customer’s needs and revising the cover accordingly. It might be that a customer’s needs have changed as a consequence of coronavirus. For example, a motor insurance customer might no longer need associated add on cover such as legal expense insurance, key cover or other products, or could be moved from fully comprehensive cover to third party fire and theft. There may also be businesses which do not need certain covers for a period.
  • Working with customers to avoid the need for cancellation of necessary cover such as by considering payment deferrals as set out below. Where customers in these circumstances determine that it is in their interest to cancel their policy, without encouragement or suggestion from their provider, firms should waive any cancellation fees where the firm needs to do so to ensure it is treating its customers fairly. Firms should also consider fair treatment of customers when assessing new premiums for customers who cancel and then return to the insurer.
  • In addition to waiving cancellation fees, firms should waive any fees associated with adjusting a qualifying customer’s policy in line with the assessments outlined above.


More from our ongoing study of how Covid-19 is affecting organised crime.  And it is not a pretty tale for Japan’s yakuza gangs.  Because nobody going out and bars and restaurants being shut can really eat into your income if you derive much of it from protection rackets.  And diversification into sophisticated online fraud is a challenge if you are still using fax machines to communicate.  It has got so bad that they have had to engage in humanitarian gestures to try and manage their PR (it’s as bad as the insurance industry).  And they are having to consider granting vulnerable gang members dues payments holidays (this is getting eerie).

But this bit is priceless: “Sky News contacted the yakuza through its official website to ask what humanitarian work it had carried but during the outbreak, but the organised crime syndicate did not respond”.  So, you attempt to contact an underground criminal network which relies, in part, on plausible deniability that it exists through its “official website”.  And then get surprised when it doesn’t reply.  And why did I have to input my bank account number and sort code just to send them an email….?

Angel Gabriel

I spent an entertaining hour this afternoon on a call with Europe’s foremost Greg Wallace impersonator Gabriel Bernadino – who, when not gigging, moonlights as Chairman of EIOPA.  Now I could reproduce a brief precis of what he said in the main body of his remarks, but it is so much easier just to point you at the statement on the EIOPA website that he basically read out.  Things did brighten up a little later when he discussed possible public/private partnerships for future pandemics.  I asked if he saw these as national or supra-national solutions.  Part of his response was that EIOPA was already considering a four tier model in which direct insurer and private sector reinsurer had national governments sat behind as a partial insurer of last resort with EU as a fourth layer of security.  Interesting and something we will seek to discuss further.

But mainly my impression was that EIOPA’s and particularly its Chairman’s interest in this area is to compete to be declared the Hero of the Pandemic…

Fishy Rishi

Two phenomena have been prevalent in lockdown.  One is the need for the technically inept to up their game if they are to be able to continue to work/eat/talk to people.  The other is people engaged in online meetings actually surreptitiously doing something more interesting and then doing something inadvertently that makes this blindingly obvious to everyone involved.  It is hard to know which was in play when the Chancellor of the Exchequer voted against his own government on Wednesday night.  Normally a resigning matter he seems to have styled it out with a dog-ate-my-homework variant – “teething problems”.  Unless he is actually teething, because he could pass for not much more than 18 months.

You will note that Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing bemoaned that “there is no provision under the current temporary system by which a member can change their vote once it has been cast”.  I am always keen for government to move swiftly to the most efficient solution to all challenges.  So can I suggest adopting the model of semi-popular 1970s children’s game show Runaround with Mike Reid?

‘ow much?

Lloyd’s has published the results of a survey and economic study into the potential market impact of Covid-19.  Good to know but I hope this doesn’t lead to excessive insurance industry introspection.  As per our statement in response:

While it’s important to quantify the impact of Covid -19 on the market, the danger with industry numbers is that we focus too much on dissecting them at the macro level, talking about loss ratios and capital adjustments, and not enough on the experience of the individual businesses underlying them. We must not lose sight of the fact that this number is a cumulation of clients in crisis. It’s not just about the money: our members are using all their skills and experience to help these businesses survive what are exceptionally challenging times. This is our chance to bring compensation and support into each business’s story.

Another cure to add to the list (erine)

A couple of weeks back it was reported that smoking could help you avoid contracting Covid-19.  Which is great news because it is also big, clever and helps you look old enough to be served in pubs (if any were actually open).  Downside (if we gloss over slow, painful death)?  Bad breath.  But now you can double your ante by also consuming mouthwash.  I am assuming this is “consume” as in the standard thirty second mouth swill and not “consume” in the Paul Merson context of there being no other alcohol in the house.  But why not give both a go? What harm can it do?


That’s it.  I’m off to teach Rishi Sunak how to use Facetime.  For the four hundredth time.