Specialty (re)insurer Canopius has told all staff in the UK to work from home for at least two weeks as the carrier looks to mitigate any negative fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Canopius – Lloyd's

The move will see Canopius enact a ‘work from home’ business continuity plan starting Monday 16 March for at least two weeks, according to a statement on the company’s website.

As a result, Canpoius’ UK offices and Lloyd’s boxes will be closed, however the carrier said it has “the tools in place” to continue to service clients.

“Canopius does not have any confirmed case of Coronavirus within any of our offices,” the statement said. 

“Rather, we have decided that we must act now to ensure we can continue working safely and seamlessly as a business and our primary interest is in protecting our people and their families.”

Canopius added: “It’s a value judgement for everyone and we would rather be accused of acting too early than too late.”

The Michael Watson-led firm, which is headquartered in the Lloyd’s building, employees approximately 600 people.  

The announcement follows the decision by Lloyd’s to shut the underwriting room for one working day on Friday 13 March “to test in anger” the market’s ability to deal with coronavirus-related disruption.

Other (re)insurers and intermediaries in the London market are understood to have carried out similar stress tests this week.

Carriers and brokers – including the likes of Scor, Willis, and Marsh – have all told this publication they are enforcing travel bans for non-essential journeys as well as mandatory working from home policies for affected employees.

Conversely, industry members’ bodies in the UK and in the US have confirmed to The Insurer that it’s business as usual in terms of their annual conferences going ahead.

Despite the global number of coronavirus cases rising to over 125,000 – including 213 instances in the US and 277 in the UK – RIMS remains on track to be hosted in Denver, Colorado in May and Airmic will go ahead in Edinburgh, Scotland in June.

The latest situation report from WHO pegs the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide at 125,048, including 6,729 new cases diagnosed overnight. So far, the disease has taken almost 4,613 lives globally. Confirmed cases in the UK have reached 798 on Friday, a rise of 208 on the day before.