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Top of Mind: Challenges & Future Opportunities in Insurance in the Era of COVID-19, according to Lecturer Marguerite DeMartino

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it both identifiable and impending strain on all industries. Across these industries, one that will be universally affected is insurance. As the world begins to count its losses and rebuild, insurance providers will be reassessing their offerings and their operational and business strategies.

In the Top of Mind series, Columbia University Insurance Management lecturers provide their observations, insights and predictions for the industry as the United States begins to recover. Increasing needs and nuance for responsive insurance management are developing.

Prompted by the Academic Director, Teresa Chan, this series will offer observations about what insurance providers should anticipate as insureds look to them for support in the future.

In the first installation, lecturer and Vice President of Operations at SCOR Reinsurance Company Marguerite DeMartino discussed the opportunity to incorporate more technology into assessing risks in the industry.

What are the short and/ or long-term effects of this pandemic on each of the key operational divisions within insurance companies, intermediaries and reinsurers?

The simple gesture of a handshake was once used to greet clients and close deals. But now, according to Anthony Fauci, M.D. NIAID Director / NIH, “we may never shake hands again.” Something so common can now be a major risk in any industry, exposing a vulnerability that was once invisible to all of us.

For the short term, there has to be continuous adjustment as we see the pandemic globally affect resources, production and communications from an operational perspective. These effects are forcing an antiquated industry to make better use of technology to reassess the risk associated with everyday tasks."

Marguerite DeMartino, Lecturer - M.S. in Insurance Management Program

Long-term controls need to be established to manage risk at every angle ranging from nationwide testing, to the development of better governance and corporate policies, and managing privacy. We know the technology is available and the industry must make the necessary investments to ensure seamless operations and mitigate the risk in this new-found time as we all work from home and shelter in place.

Learn more about Columbia University's Master's in Insurance Management program and read the latest news here.