The threat of pandemic is arguably the biggest risk facing the human population today, and was the subject of a seminar held at Lloyd’s of London. Speakers from the Metropolitan Police, the Fire Service and the Department of Health came together to discuss their preparations for a pandemic outbreak, and provide guidance for the insurance world. Seventy-nine percent of attendees strongly agreed that the threat of a pandemic is the highest civil threat currently facing the capital. Only 28% disagreed and 4% didn’t know.
A pandemic is an infectious virus that spreads causing a worldwide epidemic. To be classed as a pandemic, the disease must be a new one that has not yet affected the human population and to which humans have no immunity. A pandemic will come in waves which could last around 15 weeks, with two or more waves taking place. A pandemic could potentially affect the whole world, resulting in the disruption of many things that we take for granted, for example transport routes, schools and hospitals.
The last big pandemic was in 1918 and killed 25 million people worldwide, despite only lasting 18 months. Statistically, the world is due another pandemic, although no one can predict how or when it will strike.
There are numerous and very differing civil threats that face London but pandemic is the widest ranging with the greatest potential impact. A pandemic will affect every type of emergency responder throughout the city in very similar degrees with similar challenges.
It would affect life, health and travel insurance.
Private health insurance: News update: June 2008