Europe’s insurance industry doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the systemic risk of a pandemic and more protection needs to be put in place through private-public partnerships, the head of Italian insurer Generali said on Thursday.

Speaking in an online interview with Politico, Philippe Donnet said the COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity for Europe to build greater protection for people and businesses.

“When the risk becomes systemic it is no longer insurable and obviously we need to use public money,” he said.

Donnet said the European Union and member states should work with the insurance and reinsurance industries to improve protection across the bloc.

“Putting all these four layers together we could build a stronger protection system for people and small and medium companies to face the next pandemic, if it happens,” he said.

Asked about Solvency II capital regulations, Donnet said they needed to remain transparent and fair, adding any review of the system needed to promote sustainable recovery.

Donnet proposed creating a special asset class for green bonds, treating them better in terms of capital charges.

“That would push long term investors like insurance companies to invest more in green bonds,” he said.

Topics Carriers Europe COVID-19