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Representations and warranties insurers paid out more than $150 million on policies placed by Aon PLC in North America in 2020, the brokerage said in a report Thursday.
However, whether the volume and size of claims seen in 2020 was due to the COVID-19 pandemic is not clear, Aon said.
The brokerage saw a 23.5% increase in the number of claims filed in 2020 versus 2019.
Payments made on individual claims in 2020 ranged from $94,000 to more than $30 million, Aon said in the report. The majority were less than $1 million, but 22% were above $10 million.
Several ongoing representations and warranties claims allege loss in the nine figures, including 10 claims filed in 2019 and 2020 alleging loss in excess of $100 million, according to the report.
“We anticipate that insurer payouts in the higher payment brackets likely will increase with the resolution of these claims,” Aon said.
COVID-19 may have played an indirect role in the amount of loss that policyholders experienced, though Aon did not see any claims alleging loss arising directly out of the pandemic.
The increase in volume and limits of policies in the last several years is “the simple and most likely cause of a corresponding increase in the number and size of representations and warranties claims,” Aon said.
In 2020, Aon placed more than 725 reps and warranties, tax and contingent liability policies, an “exceptional volume which has continued through the first half of 2021,” the report said.
An increase in overall M&A deal volume is contributing to an overwhelming increase in the number of policies placed, Aon said.
A total of $500 million has been paid out by insurers on more than 500 reps and warranties claims since 2013, of which almost $375 million has been paid since the beginning of 2019, the report said. The total loss recognized since 2013 now exceeds $700 million, factoring in retentions, and ultimate payment made by insurers.
Some 12% of those claims resulted in a payment by the insurer, while 3.5% were denied coverage and 50% remain active, while 20.5% settled within the retention and 14% became inactive over time, Aon said.
Aon PLC has recruited mergers and acquisitions insurance veteran and former Willis Towers Watson PLC executive Julia Papastavridis as managing director in its representations and warranties insurance practice.