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«April 2020»

Central Bank of Ireland: Expectations of Insurers during COVID 19 Crisis

  • Insurers must put forward consumer-focused solutions on policy payment breaks, rebates and claims 
  • While most insurance policies are clear, if  there is a doubt about the meaning of a term, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer should prevail
  • The Central Bank expects the CEOs of Irish authorised firms to take responsibility for the oversight of how their firm is managing determinations of whether claims are covered or not in the context of COVID-19.

The Central Bank of Ireland has today set out its expectations of how regulated insurance firms should treat their customers in light of the significant economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Central Bank has written to the Chairs and CEOs of both life and general insurance firms requiring them to take account of the challenging situation in which many of their customers find themselves and to put forward consumer-focused solutions for insurance payment breaks, policy rebates and claims in light of the emergency.

Where a claim can be made because a business has closed as a result of a Government direction due to contagious or infectious disease, the Central Bank is of the view that that the recent Government advice to close a business in the context of COVID-19 should be treated as a direction.  This is a view that has also been set out by the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.  Firms must ensure that claims are appropriately assessed and where there is insurance cover in place that claims are accepted and paid promptly.

Where relevant, firms must proactively communicate in a clear, transparent manner to customers about the levels of cover provided by individual insurance policies including informing them, when renewing existing policies, if there are any changes to those policies arising from COVID-19. 

Firms must ensure that their customer-facing functions are adequately resourced to ensure that customer needs are met and queries are handled in an appropriate timeframe and that they have processes in place to engage positively with customers who are experiencing difficulties in the payment of premiums as a result of COVID-19.

Firms must also engage with their intermediaries and partners to keep them fully informed at all times about the implications of COVID-19 for existing and new policies.
In relation to insurance claims, firms must ensure that they are fully compliant with the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 and all other relevant regulatory requirements. Any claim settlement offer made to a claimant must be fair, must take into account all relevant factors and must represent the firm’s best estimate of the claimant’s reasonable entitlement under the policy.

Firms must ensure that they handle claims effectively and properly and where appropriate to do so they must offer to assist their customers in the process of making a claim, including, where relevant, alerting the claimant to policy terms and conditions that may be of benefit to the claimant. Although the Central Bank expects that  most policy wordings are clear in terms of what cover is provided and what is excluded, where there is a doubt about the meaning of a term, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer should prevail.

In the case of Irish authorised insurance

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The State of Online Reputation Management 2020

With most of the working world now doing so remotely, a company’s online reputation is more crucial than ever.

Linus Gregoriadis, Director of London Research, and Phil Capper, of, explore in  recent webinar how companies can manage their reputations more effectively to build trust among consumers and improve commercial performance. The webinar covered the results of recent business and consumer surveys involving hundreds of businesses across the world and 4,000 consumers in the US, UK, Germany and Australia.

Content covered:

  • Online reputation maturity – what leaders are doing differently from their peers
  • Importance of building trust as part of effective customer experience (CX) and voice of customer (VoC) programs
  • The power of online ratings and reviews across different business sectors
  • Overcoming barriers to more effective online reputation management
  • Consumer expectations around how feedback and comments are addressed


The State of Online Reputation Management 2020

Click on link to register and view – viewing time is 1 hour approximately.

Courtesy of Digital Doughnut

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Webinar: Building a resilient supply chain

EY Ireland’s webinar this week focussed on the impact of the Covid 19 crisis on supply chains but also make the point that there were changes prior to this due to trade wars and global economic uncertainty.

Graham Reid, Head of Markets, Alan Dickson, Head of Supply Chain EY Ireland & Neil Byrne, Global Trade Leader, Andrew Caveney, Head of Global Supply Chain.

You can watch the webinar here

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Resiliency In Times Of Supply Chain Disruption

Richard Howells of SAP explores the current status of global supply chains

The world we live in, while often turbulent, has been turned on its head recently. Highly variable demand for goods and services, uncertain supply of critical materials, and constrained labour and resource capacity in manufacturing and logistics are resulting in critical shortages for medical equipment and consumer necessities. These unparalleled supply chain disruptions are major contributors to the current global economic environment. Thankfully, many companies are stepping up to handle the most urgent situations.

Medical shortages

As the virus has spread from country to country and hot spots have risen, the medical profession has been overrun. It is in desperate need for:

  • Hand sanitiser to prevent the spread of the virus

  • Masks and robes for the safety of medical professionals testing for and treating infected patients

  • Ventilators to fight the most severe cases and save lives

We have seen many examples of companies collaborating to find a solution and re-purposing facilities to change their business processes:

  • Automotive manufacturers are collaborating with medical-device companies to become contract manufacturers in producing ventilators. This requires R&D departments and manufacturing departments from different companies to collaborate to ensure a smooth handover to the third-party manufacturers of designs and processes.
  • Clothing manufacturers have started to produce medical masks and protective clothing.
  • 3D printing companies are collaborating on designs to print protective visors.

Consumer shortages

As we realised that millions would be staying at home for several weeks, human instinct kicked in. The demand for vital commodities, such as milk, eggs, bread, hand sanitiser, and toilet paper increased, and the demand for discretionary and luxury items dropped drastically.

This put a huge strain on the manufacturers, distributors, and retail outlets that provide these commodities.

Manufacturers are looking at ways to map inflated demand with volatile supply. More specifically, they are:

  • Looking for alternate sources of material
  • Running planning scenarios and simulations to determine where and what to produce, where to position inventory, and how to satisfy demand
  • Ensuring that key assets are operational, as this has become more important than ever
  • Searching their network of carriers to obtain logistics capacity to deliver goods
  • And always ensuring the safety of their workforce; e.g., modifying technical work practices to accommodate social distancing while keeping production lines operational

Supermarkets are working around the clock to:

  • Open special hours for those most at risk
  • Clean stores to protect both customers and employees (I experienced my first plexiglass separation at checkout today)
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A Time to Pivot: Protect & Re-shape

For an entire generation of business leaders, the actions they take now, will define them and their companies. 

Business leaders working urgently to balance dozens of critical priorities each day are starting to focus on two leading questions: “How can we ride out the crisis to emerge stronger than others in our industry?” and “How can the organisation learn through this experience to win in a new world?” To guide the decisions and actions that will answer those questions—through the welter of competing demands, the sometimes chaotic conditions and the paramount importance of doing the right thing—some leadership teams have committed themselves to two guiding principles: act now to protect and run the business today, and plan now to retool the business for the future.

It helps to understand the different phases of the journey, but business leaders and their teams won’t follow a straight line. During the journey, some phases will overlap and even circle back again, requiring simultaneous action.

Respond to the crisis and protect the business

As external shocks hit the business, the nature of this crisis means that many employees and customers are grappling with a basic human emotion: fear. Businesses in some sectors are seeing revenues decline, and some are confronting the prospect of a liquidity squeeze. Daily heroics have kept operations intact at many companies, but of course, the time horizons remain uncertain.  

Most business leaders have already taken the most important first step: Make the safety of employees and customers the top priority. Beyond travel limitations, in-person meeting restrictions, temporary closures of facilities and rigorous protocols to protect essential operational teams, the Covid-19 outbreak called for a re-examining of policies and practices on employee benefits, remote working and employee engagement. Leading companies have been communicating steadily with employees and customers to be fully transparent about the situation. And some quickly found ways to support their communities with their assets and capabilities.

For many leading companies, the next urgent priority was setting up a fully dedicated Covid-19 war-room team, consisting of senior leaders from disciplines ranging from sales and operations to HR and finance. The team’s mission is to deliver critical business action plans with clearly defined work streams, including initiative owners and designated subteams of experts. The team is action-oriented and Agile, operating in sprints with daily virtual huddles and using a real-time digital platform to track the status of different initiatives. Its members break all normal reporting cycles to overcommunicate consistently and transparently with all key stakeholders across the organisation.

Surviving this downturn also requires immediate action planning for scenarios more aggressive than anything teams could have imagined. Winning businesses in every industry, beyond the consumer-facing companies most obviously affected by the coronavirus, started with a clear, quantitative set of possible revenue and cash scenarios, including extreme downside scenarios. Leaders translated the scenarios into revenue declines and stress tested the P&L and balance sheet. In a matter of days, not weeks, they planned their initial moves.  

Ensure business continuity and stability

As they respond to the early fallout from the crisis, senior leaders are navigating a cascade of operating challenges every day, including supply chain disruptions, call-center closures, network bandwidth issues and more.

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Children's Hospital Crumlin

We have reached out to our members to ask for their support in sourcing cages for Crumlin Children's Hospital.

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SEAI’s Energy Academy Helps Businesses Cut Energy Costs

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has launched a free online training resource to help businesses reduce their energy costs. The SEAI Energy Academy can help to lower energy bills by as much as 10%, potentially even more, by educating businesses and employees on changing energy use behaviours and effective energy management. With the increasing societal focus on climate change, and the launch of the Government’s Climate Action Plan last year, many businesses are seeking to play their part in reducing their climate impact. The SEAI Energy Academy is an ideal starting point and allows employees to upskill on energy efficiency and avail of tailored online training that can lead to important business cost savings.

Commenting on the launch of the SEAI Energy Academy, William Walsh, CEO of SEAI said:

“We realise that businesses are facing very significant challenges right now with many looking for opportunities to reduce their cost base. Reducing energy use can be a great place to start. SEAI is here to help businesses on their energy efficiency journey, helping them identify energy saving opportunities and to implement  those changes. We planned the SEAI Energy Academy as an online resource so it is available to all businesses when and where suits them best. This might be additionally beneficial for those businesses currently working from home or who are planning for the resumption of normal activities, hopefully in the not too distant future.”

The SEAI Energy Academy offers practical step-by-step energy training tailored to specific business needs. The online modules and courses are quick and easy to complete and cover topics such asEnergy and Climate Change; Business Energy Efficiency; Lighting; Heating; Refrigeration; Electric Vehicles; Electricity Bill Analysis; Behavioural Change; and Home Energy Efficiency. Further modules are planned for the SEAI Energy Academy which will make it a vital business energy resource into the future, and will be added throughout the year

On completing a course, learners will receive a Certificate of Completion from SEAI which demonstrates a company’s commitment to educating staff about energy. These courses are also a great way of engaging, upskilling and retaining staff.  

The SEAI Energy Academy is now available on


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