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The spread of the Coronavirus is fast-moving and is causing disruption to personal and business travel plans, product supply chains, staffing levels and general business footfall.
Here at One Broker we are monitoring the situation very closely and liaising with insurers to establish their respective positions.
It’s very difficult to provide definitive specific advice as every client has their own unique circumstances and every insurer wording for every relevant policy type may have its own definitions and exclusions.
Below are some of the key areas we are receiving enquiries about:
Generally speaking, if you bought your policy prior to the outbreak and have a travel disruption section, you may be covered if the trip is cancelled or curtailed outside of your control.
Where the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) have advised against all travel or all but essential travel and you had previously purchased tickets before the FCO travel advice was given, you may be covered if you wish to cancel your trip or return earlier than planned.
We are monitoring the situation closely but if you are travelling to other locations not listed by the FCO, you would not be covered if you wish to cancel your trip or return earlier than planned.
Medical treatment sought whilst travelling should be covered, however, you should be aware that treatment is subject to the locally available facilities and medical repatriation or transfer to alternative medical facilities will be subject to any travel restrictions which are in place.
Some policies may cover disruption to the business caused by the outbreak of a notifiable disease or specified diseases, but this is dependent upon there being a full Loss of Profit or Revenue policy with a disease extension.
Many policies won’t respond as they only cover “specified diseases” of which Coronavirus along with previous outbreaks such as SARS & HN51 are not listed.
Furthermore, most policies restrict the interruption to the business location only and a limited vicinity surrounding it (e.g. within 1 mile).
So, whilst COVID-19 has been classified as notifiable, this merely means you must declare contracting it to the Government and does not necessarily mean it is insured.
From a liability perspective, there could be some exposure to your business as specified diseases are not normally excluded.
However, you would have to be proven negligent in some way, before any such claim could be considered under the policy. For example if you permitted staff to travel to areas which are against World Health Organisation (WHO) or Government (Foreign Office) advice.
Further guidance is expected from insurers but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a Public Liability claim could be considered for bodily injury caused to a third party through the spread of a disease, if negligence could be proven.
The following post is taken from INONI who are Business Continuity Specialists and is intended to support businesses with their pandemic planning.
It includes a suggested approach and an opportunity to download their own Pandemic Plan as an example – see attached.
In the current situation, there are good reasons to have a well-formed pandemic plan: