Specialist liability underwriter Medical & Commercial International (MCI) announced the launch of a ground-breaking communicable disease liability (CDL) cover.

Based on extensive epidemiological research by leading scientists and liability practitioners, MCI said it will be the world’s first and only team dedicated to the re/insurance, management and handling of CDL risks and claims.

The cover will be provided by MCI’s Syndicate 1902, which was recently approved by Lloyd’s to underwrite from Jan. 1, 2022 and is managed by Asta, the leading third-party managing agent at Lloyd’s.

The product has been designed using real-world outbreak data to reflect precisely the disease-litigation risks faced by a wide range of organizations, said MCI in a statement, noting that it provides cover for healthcare organizations, as well as most commercial enterprises in sectors such as hospitality, accommodation, childcare, higher education, retail, and entertainment. It is also intended to be available to entities within the governmental and public sector.

The breakthrough coverage, built on MCI’s comprehensive scientific research, insures against liability arising from bodily injury to third parties due to an insured’s negligence in causing or exacerbating a localized infectious disease outbreak. Written on a “claims made” and notified policy form, the policy will aim to significantly remove doubt about CDL coverage with policy language dedicated to the science of infectious disease, rather than relying on the insurance industry’s language “norms”.

“We live and work constantly in the presence of infectious pathogens. Typically, we fight them off, but as everyone is now fully aware, they occasionally lead to devastating, socially disruptive outbreaks,” commented Dr. Lauren O’Neill, a King’s College London immunologist who joins the MCI team on Jan. 1 as infectious diseases practice leader.

“The rise in zoonotic diseases – those which can jump from animals to humans – and the explosion of global travel have combined to significantly increase the likelihood of pandemics. This new policy is a powerful tool to help entities reduce the liability uncertainties associated with pandemics and infectious disease,” added O’Neill

“Pre COVID-19, the prevalence of infectious disease lawsuits has increased steadily over the past three decades. Following COVID-19, it is clear that the global community requires a dedicated liability product which is not only carefully underwritten by a team incorporating scientific expertise, but also which talks to the sophistication of CDL risks and claims,” said MCI founder and CEO Philip Trafford, active underwriter of Syndicate 1902.

“Through painstaking research, we believe MCI’s new CDL product not only reduces the uncertainty emanating from a growing threat, but also provides a cost-effective long-term solution to the global community,” said Trafford. “The SIAB (syndicate-in-a-box) Lloyd’s platform we’ve built with Asta is ideal to launch that cover to the world quickly and efficiently though digital distribution channels.”

“This development shows how an experienced risk-carrying entity with ideas for a new product can get up and running quickly through the Lloyd’s SIAB structure,” noted Asta Chief Executive Julian Tighe. “With a third-party service provider like Asta involved from the outset, the process is relatively straightforward, and allows new products to reach customers around the world with surprising efficiency.”

Medical & Commercial International (MCI) is an established underwriter of specialist liability risks. MCI Syndicate 1902, which will commence underwriting on Jan. 1, 2022, will write four core classes of business: life science, medical malpractice, commercial liability and infectious disease liability.