We have continued to establish a solid global insurance protection for IKEA entities. Sometimes, our work calls for us to engage in extraordinary events around the world. Early in the year, the giant container ship Ever Given grounded in the Suez Canal. The ship carried 20,000 containers, several belonging to IKEA. It blocked more than 350 ships for a week and created a backlog that lasted for months, causing the largest General Average claim in the history of marine insurance.
Our team also dealt with the recall of IKEA products HEROISK and TALRIKA. These plates and cups are made of PLA (Polylactic acid or polylactide), a more sustainable material made from renewable sources. However, reports of breakage have shown that the material is not suitable for everyday use and hot food. Thus, IKEA had to withdraw them from the market.
Severe weather changes lead to closure of IKEA stores
The two largest property-related claims were from places not necessarily known for cold weather. Early in the year, Texas was hit with severe winter weather, impacting eight locations. Claims were primarily related to frozen pipes and water damage. Madrid suffered a heavy snowstorm. Roads were blocked, traffic came to a standstill and public transport was taken out of operation. Due to the snow and temperatures of -10 degrees, IKEA was forced to close six stores in this region. Insurers paid the resulting business interruption caused by the storm.
Ikano Insurance also provides services related to life and health reinsurance. The pandemic has affected all of us, and clearly also IKEA. Generally, we have seen a low visitation to doctors during 2020 and early 2021. However due to this reduced or delayed access to care during the pandemic, we expect medical and disability claims to surge in the future.