Impact of ultra low yields on the insurance sector, including first effects of Covid-19 crisis

European Union Publications Office
Publication date:


In the current macro-financial environment, one of the major concerns for the insurance market is the exceptionally ultra-low/negative level of interest rates. In addition, the Covid-19 outbreak has severely affected the macroeconomic and market conditions worldwide, with the launch of support packages and monetary easing of some central banks and governments taking place to mitigate the negative effects. The lockdowns implemented in an attempt to contain the virus outbreak have had a significant economic impact and led to the depreciation of economic outlooks for the following period. These forecasts have been surrounded by fundamental uncertainty regarding the length of the lockdowns, the confinement measures still necessary in the period ahead and the effectiveness of the policy response, hence leading to particularly large downside risks. In Europe, this was accompanied by a flight to quality, increasing the likelihood of a “low for long” scenario with adverse implications for the insurance sector. As a result, insurers are significantly challenged in terms of asset allocations, profitability, solvency and business model adaption.

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