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Lloyd's of London reviews insurance contracts due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: A man takes a elevator in the Lloyds of London building in the financial district in London, Britain February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyd’s of London is reviewing the way insurance products are designed and sold as it calls for simpler products in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the commercial insurance market said on Monday.

Insurers have suffered reputational damage as a result of complex products which are hard for businesses to understand, leading to court cases over whether policyholders are covered for the pandemic in countries including Britain, France and the United States.

“The insurance industry must urgently reassess how it can better serve and support its customers,” Lloyd’s Chief Executive John Neal said in a statement.

He said it was imperative to build simpler insurance products that are more easily understood.

Lloyd’s, which runs an insurance market of more than 90 syndicate members, said it would review how products were developed, designed and sold.

It also laid out recommendations for simpler products in a report published on Monday.

These include insurers carrying out a “linguistics review” of policy documents, investing in new products such as parametric insurance which pay out immediately when specific triggers are hit, and involving customers in product design.

A test case over business interruption insurance brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) against eight insurers, including several with a presence at Lloyd’s, is heading for the appeal courts after the regulator said the initial judgment ruled mainly in favour of policyholders.

The case, which is expected to affect more than 60 insurers, 370,000 policyholders and billions in insurance claims, is being closely watched overseas.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by David Clarke

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