COVID-19 has forced many people to work from home. In many ways, this has reduced some risks - for example fewer people will be a victim of theft or burglary, and household damage such as burst pipes and leaking appliances will be reduced, which can hold the highest cost to home insurers. However, the transition to working from home has led to concerns in other areas such as physical and mental health, which were not originally covered in household policies. As everyday risks change, insurers will have to adapt their policies accordingly, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
According to a poll by GlobalData, 27% of respondents want to work from home permanently post-COVID-19, while 46% would prefer a mix of home and office working and 27% of respondents wanted to return to the office full time. With such a large proportion of individuals wanting to work remotely either full time or partially, it looks that the changes in risks will remain in the long-term.
Yasha Kuruvilla, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “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%."
Moreover, many homes will not have suitable workstations, increasing the risk of ergonomic and postural injuries. Working from home will limit social interactions, putting increased strain on employees’ mental health. The industry is already reacting to this - for example, 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.
Kuruvilla continues: “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.”