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Pandemic prompts call for EU backup

European Union

(Reuters) A European Union framework is needed to provide insurance cover for catastrophes such as pandemics and huge cyberattacks, the Federation of European Risk Management said on Tuesday.

This would involve public-private partnerships and could cover events that hit businesses but do not involve physical damage, FERMA said in a letter to the European Commission.

Insurers say most businesses are not covered for pandemics, which has left small businesses in Europe battling for payouts for lost revenue due to the coronavirus crisis.

“We now aim to deepen discussions with the EU, the Member States and the insurance sector, and to develop solutions for both short-term crisis management and long-term business resilience," FERMA President Dirk Wegener said in the letter.

The EU's insurance regulator has also said national governments need to help in future, as the private sector cannot afford such broad cover on its own.

Axa said on Tuesday it would meet the bulk of claims from some restaurant owners after a Paris court ruled last week the French insurer should pay one owner two-months' worth of coronavirus-related revenue losses.

Insurers in Britain and the United States are also seeking public-private partnerships for future pandemic cover, as they face the threat of legal action over business interruption claims.

A British group, TotusRe, said it has spoken to lawmakers and the government-backed terrorism reinsurance scheme about cover for a broader range of macro-economic risks.

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.