Heather Du Plessis-Allan discusses pandemics, reputations, new risks, yoga and wellbeing with Managing Director Ian Pollard.
Ian Pollard, Managing Director of Delta Insurance is with us now. Hi Ian.
Hi there Heather … how’re you doing?
Very well thank you. I want to talk to you about pandemic insurance … are you guys offering it?
No, it’s not something we’re offering at the moment. It’s not actually something that is that prevalent in the insurance sector. There’s quite a bit of dispute out there around whether it’s covered under certain property insurance coverages, but property insurance coverages were never really intended to cover pandemics. When you look at property insurance in the commercial insurance space prior to February, many people wouldn’t have been willing to pay the extra premium for a pandemic-specific coverage.
It’s only really now that pandemic insurance and business interruption-type insurances have risen its head and with our background in innovation with commercial insurance, we’re looking into doing something here in New Zealand and also in Asia in the future.
Do you imagine that pandemic insurance will be something that will be offered … and will be something people want to take out?
Yes I think it’s one of those things that as a risk exposure, it is being explored, not just with regards to pandemic-related business interruption, but we’ve seen it rise in a number of different business interruption-type exposures over the last few years.
So for example, cyber insurance is largely a business interruption-focused insurance offering. We started looking at other areas – non-cybertech-related interruption type insurance covers – and also some other intangible insurance coverages, such as reputation risk. So this is a bit of a trend towards non-property, or intangible, business interruption risk exposures that more businesses are actually going to be faced with in the future.
Is there something that you guys are looking into, almost in a bid to try and set yourselves apart from the big boys?
Yes most definitely – that’s been our mantra from the get-go, so certainly product innovation is an area that we are very passionate about we’ve been first market with many interesting and unique commercial risk areas – such as environmental risk, intellectual property risk, manufacturing risk, and technology risk.
The other thing we focus on that really sets us apart from our competitors is that we actually don’t just look at risk transfer, which is your traditional insurance. We also look at risk management services … so we actually look at certain things, such as cybersecurity risk, where resilience is part and parcel of our insurance offering … and we partner with cool kiwi companies, such as RedShield and InPhySec.
Also things like Business Continuity Planning tools, which through a partnership that we’ve got with ResilienceTech, is something that we’ve bolted on … and it’s actually been a really good test case during the pandemic, helping businesses out through their continuity planning.
The other one is training and compliance tools. A lot of risk that businesses face is actually around training and compliance and we partner with a kiwi company called Dacreed. We’re really only scratching the surface from that sort of risk management side of things.
Rather than the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we’re actually trying to be more proactive about helping insurers improve their risk posture, before they actually have a claim.
What is reputation insurance? Why would I take that out?
So that’s still a relatively new area of insurance. At the moment there are reputational insurance coverages is out there that cover crisis costs, PR cost, media costs etc but they’re starting to develop. Where there’s a reputational exposure, or a reputation event triggers an insurance policy … this is something we’re looking into at the moment and doing some research into it.
Where you have a reputation event, it could be anything. It could be a director scandal, a physical asset problem, etc. That trigger event will then lead to perhaps a drop in revenue, which is akin to business interruption or increased cost … where the premise is that sort of reputational cover is kicking in, is where there’s a dip or a loss in revenue, that insurance will kick in and cover that kind of revenue.
That’s fascinating. So would you only offer it to the business, or would you offer it to the individual for loss of income as well?
At Delta, we’re working with commercial customers in the specialty commercial insurance space, so for now that’s where our focus is. But there is a precedent to focus on personal risk … from the sort of innovative products that we’re working on, we’ve actually moved from the commercial cyber space to looking at personal household cyber insurance and some risk management tools around that, so it’s not unprecedented to move from some of these really niche intangible new-risk areas into more of the personal space.
And do you imagine that if somebody was to just hypothetically offer it to individuals for loss of income, it could be triggered by something like the cancel culture perhaps … cancelling them?
Yes, so the cancellation of events and things like that?
No, the cancellation of their reputation … you know, on the social media, if you do something that the cancel culture don’t like, they cancel you?
That could be a very good exposure, and we’re certainly seeing that in the cyberworld as well.
Ian, what is a yogi?
Say that again?
What is a yogi? Am I pronouncing it wrong?
In what context?
Is it someone who does yoga?
Oh yes it is indeed … yes it is.
Is it just the average person who does yoga, or is it somebody who’s very experienced?
A lot of people do yoga now. There’s actually been quite an explosion in yoga over the last few years. I think also during the pandemic, people are doing yoga from their homes.
So you’re quite into it. Did you pick it up during the pandemic or beforehand?
I picked up yoga three or four years ago when I started having quite a few problems with my back and neck as a result of playing a very high level of football for a number of years. I wish I’d picked up years ago.
It’s really fantastic for the body obviously, and also for the mind, and it’s something I do now in the privacy of my own home and it’s something I really enjoy. It’s something I supplement with my other activities … I do a lot of cycling … I’m doing a lot of running … I still I do a lot of gym work … and I really enjoy yoga … it’s a good escape from the day to day grind.
Yeah seems to me there’s been a lot of conversation about the fact that this kind of thing … a physical outlet like that, something to kind of destress … has become increasingly important to – especially people like yourself in high pressure roles – to be able to handle what’s just happened?
Yes absolutely … 100% agree with that and that’s actually something that I’ve always done, I’ve always had a physical outlet. So prior to moving to New Zealand 10 years or so ago … and also prior to starting Delta, I worked for a multi-national insurance company around the world in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York.
One of the first things I did before I got flat in any of those cities – I was a bit of a corporate gypsy, going where my employer sent me – I used to find a football team as I felt it was an important outlet, both socially and also physically. That’s always been a key part of what I’ve done and obviously as I got a bit older and less fit and struggling to keep up with twenty-year-olds, I started to steer away from football and then I got into cycling.
I think it’s an incredible part of one’s welbeing, but that’s not the only part. That’s something I’ve learned over the last few years. The mental part … watching one’s health … but also watching one’s sleep …. that’s something I’ve really got into it in the last couple of years. Sleep is such a critical part of one’s overall wellbeing, not just mental health.
Yes absolutely. Ian, thank you so much. It’s been great chatting to you. Fascinating stuff. Ian Pollard, Managing Director of Delta Insurance, ladies and gentlemen.