George Freeman calls for support so the insurance industry can support businesses and employers

17th March 2020

Following the statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Freeman calls on the Government to reinforce the insurance industry which has the wherewithal to deliver support to small businesses and local employers. 

George Freeman MP speaking in the House of Commons, Mar 2020, Coronavirus
 

I congratulate and thank the Chancellor on behalf of the people in Mid Norfolk for a coherent and comprehensive package, in particular the support on rates and mortgages. In my rural and quite fragile economy, it is the pubs, the high streets, the small businesses, tourism and farming, and food processing that are the backbone of the economy. May I press him on the insurance point? The policies of many of my local employers simply do not cover liability for epidemics. Would it not be sensible to look at reinforcing the insurance industry, which has the wherewithal to deliver the support, so that those that have made money in the good years can help companies that really need it in tough times?

I appreciate the point my hon. Friend is making. The steps today on insurance are welcome, but he is right to identify that retrospectively changing the situation that insurers would have reserved against could have a very significant impact on their solvency, which would send a ripple effect throughout the insurance market. That is not something that any of us would want to see.

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