LONDON (Reuters) – The aviation sector carries the biggest risk of corporate default as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey of insurers published by broker Gallagher on Tuesday.
Only 29% of credit and political risk insurers had seen claims directly related to the virus so far, the survey of underwriters, conducted in June and July, showed.
Companies or lenders buy credit insurance to get cover for non-payment for goods or services.
Pandemic-related credit insurance claims are, however, likely to rise later this year or early next year, as businesses struggle to stave off default, said Matthew Solley, managing director of structured credit and political risks at Gallagher.
Aviation, oil and energy, and tourism were the three sectors in their portfolios that concerned insurers the most.
Virgin Australia, Air Mauritius and Colombia-based Avianca are among airlines to have ceased operations in the past few months, with planes grounded by lockdowns around the world.
Insurers also worry about non-payment by governments, with Zambia seen the biggest risk.
In the broader political risk insurance market, which can cover issues ranging from expropriation to war, Argentina was seen as the biggest concern.
The survey of 76 underwriters from 46 firms in Lloyd’s of London and the broader London commercial insurance market was carried out between June 24 and July 9.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Susan Fenton)