A Chinese insurance company is offering cover specifically against contracting bird flu. Link. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4417538.stm
An significant impact on global GDP is expected – which is what you get when a lot of people die. Read this: http://www.forbes.com/business/2005/11/10/avian-flu-pandemic-cx_1111oxford_birdflu.html
An interesting “medblog” we discovered along the way. http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/
The key issues are casualty estimates and the effect these will have on insured groups. Take this article for instance. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/362820p-309055c.html
If past pandemics are a guide, then the impact will be modest. While we have had some commentators suggest that earlier estimates of casualties are overblown. With current cases of bird flu we hear of worst cases: (e.g. three people infected, two died). Using The Spanish ‘flu epidemic of 1918 as a guide some administrators in New Yorkwere estimating 25% infection with a 2% death rate. That is truly horrible. Much worse than the death rate from normal flu epidemics. But it is a lot better than the 1 in 3 relationship implied by a casual reading of the news.
Of course, clients have access to a more formal opinion.