Senior Leaders From the Four Businesses Sent a Letter to the European Commission Coordinating Response Team

Apr 2, 2020

COVID-19 and Public-Private Partnerships for Pandemic Risks

Dear President, Executive Vice-Presidents, Commissioners,

Marsh & McLennan welcomes the European Commission’s vision for a common European response to the outbreak of COVID-19. We commend you for taking steps to combat the devastating social and financial cons equences of this crisis in the European Union. The business community is eager to step up and contribute to your efforts. 

As the world’s leading insurance and reinsurance broker and risk advisor, Marsh & McLennan has a particular expertise in pandemic risk. On behalf of our 23,800 European employees at Marsh & McLennan, we write to offer our assistance in developing solutions that will serve two vital European interests:

(1) assist in the recovery of the EU economy; and

(2) protect against the economic consequences of another pandemic in the near future.

Our clients are the businesses and organisations, big and small, of the EU. In addition to the tragic human toll of COVID-19, we are deeply troubled by the economic hardships confronting European companies and their employees. 

Businesses of all sizes and in all sectors are in a situation where they do not have a reliable support mechanism to deal with the financial impact of the current crisis. Furthermore, there are no instruments in place for future pandemics or a second wave of this one, which means that European businesses, especially small and medium-sized, will suffer twofold in the mid- to long-term. The stakes are too high to not take immediate action to remedy this state of affairs. 

The insurance industry, thanks to its unique expertise, is well placed to help Governments devise solutions both in the short and longer term. 

In the face of the increased likelihood of a recurrence of pandemic risks, the European Commission, Governments, the insurance sector and businesses need to immediately start working together to devise mechanisms that will provide a buffer against future risks. Such Public-Private Partnerships are already in place in a number of Member States for risks that are likewise devastating and difficult to quantify, such as flooding or terrorism. 

We have utilised our risk-modelling capabilities to analyse data from past pandemics, including MERS, SARS and Ebola. Given the magnitude of the COVID-19 exposure, this is not a risk that can be borne by the private insurance sector or Governments alone.

Public-Private Partnerships are the viable solution moving forward, with all parties – policyholders, tax payers, insurers, reinsurers and Government – taking part in the discussions. The level of involvement of the different parties and exact set-up of these Public-Private Partnerships will differ between Member States, but we all have to work together to close this protection gap.

The benefits of such programs will be crucial to businesses and organizations of all types and sizes across the EU by:

• Facilitating access to capital from lenders, and the equity markets, that will require assurance against future pandemic risks;

• Establishing a viable insurance market for pandemic risk with sufficient, affordable capacity;

• Creating greater certainty for businesses and their employees during a recurrence or future pandemic; and

• Enhancing the resilience of the European economy and its capacity to bounce back more rapidly from a future pandemic  event.

We encourage you to lead the discussions and raise awareness through your communications on COVID-19 to the Council and your own interactions with Member States.

We copy Mr Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, in this letter, to ask EIOPA to support the discussions with the European Commission, the insurance sector, national supervisory authorities and legislators.

Thank you for considering our recommendations and we look forward to assisting you in any manner as part of your actions on COVID-19.




Massimo Reina       Davide Taliente       Siegmund Fahrig       Tom Geraghty      
Guy Carpenter Oliver Wyman Marsh  Mercer