AXA has done the numbers - no reason not to pay shareholders a dividend, albeit about half what had been proposed. CEO, Thomas Buberl says that although it has concerns over 1,700 policies, related claims will cost it only €1.2bn. This clarity is welcome but how confident can any insurer be at the moment?
The dimensions of the risk are difficult to assess: the policy types that are enforceable is disputed, policy clause wording will require legal interpretation, and the full impact of COVID-19 on policy holders remains unknown. As corporates struggle to restart mothballed businesses they will need to decide whether to meet Mr Buberl halfway and accept the smaller but immediate settlement.
“We want to go straight to the customer and propose a solution where we pay something and meet halfway . . . we want to find solutions, we prefer dialogue to the court,” he said.