Zika Virus and pandemic risks in 2016


Zika Virus

We said goodbye to 2015 which had some highs and lows and rang in 2016….Happy New Year!! Unfortunately 2016 is starting off with turmoil in the equity & oil markets, ongoing Flint, Michigan water crisis, Presidential political debates and the Zika Virus.

The Zika Virus presents some recent scare in the media as to how fast and how quickly it can be transmitted.  The number of cases year over year have increased significantly.  We are not here to agree or disagree about whether Zika should be classified as a pandemic.

According to Lloyd’s, some have argued historical pandemic impacts would be reduced if they were to recur today. We have:
• Better drugs
• Coordinated response
• Influenza models
• Better communication methods
• Overall Healthier population

However there are counter arguments that suggest the impact could be worse now than in the past:

• Goods, Materials, and Services are traded on a global scale,
• Global travel is greater
• Larger population
• More concentration in cities
• Large pools of sick people

Of course a key factor on the impact of a pandemic is the strength of the pathogen itself: how easily it is spread, how infectious and what the case mortality rate is.

Pandemics may be inevitable and the economic impacts may be significant, but lets not forget the impact of a concentrated risk can have on a region even if its not a “true” pandemic spreading worldwide, just remaining in a local region.

Business will be interrupted, supply chain issues, property may be at risk, resources may become unavailable, home prices decline in the region, and economic loss potential is present.

Therefore, an opportunity for insurance…or to add protection…

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