As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread it’s understandable that businesses are concerned throughout the UK and the World.
It’s also not surprising that businesses are now preparing for any potential impact on their operations. This includes the potential for business interruption, due to the presence of the virus on their premises, employee absenteeism, or supply chain disruptions.
We have received enquiries as to whether there is any insurance cover for this occurrence. On 4 March, the government upgraded Coronavirus Covid-19 to an infectious disease. What this means is that it may be possible that you have some cover against Covid-19 under the infectious diseases part of your policy.
Coronavirus and insurance considerations
One question being raised is whether insurance coverage might respond to virus-linked losses. This will be dependent on each policy wording, and whether the facts of each case, trigger coverage provisions.
Property policies typically require physical damage arising from a non-excluded or covered peril that manifests at insured locations to trigger a covered loss. Please also be aware that any cover would only apply should you be forced to close your business due to a Covid-19 outbreak in your actual premises. However, forced closures by local authorities due to risk control but where there is no actual outbreak on your own business premises, are not insured.
There may also be some contingent business interruption extensions within a policy such as notifiable disease and/or non-damage denial of access. Where present, the wording of both extensions can vary significantly, and whether a policy will respond will also be dependent on individual circumstances.
With regard to legal liability policies, documented evidence of your health and safety policies will be important to the defence of any potential claim.
The outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an ever evolving situation, and to date, we have not received any claims relating to the virus. If you’re concerned about your cover, in the first instance refer to your insurance policy wording, but it’s wise to assume that your policy does not cover you.
Managing your Coronavirus risks
To help you get prepared for responding to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Marsh Risk Consulting has created a Coronavirus Resilience factsheet that gives guidance on managing operational impacts. We recommend that you develop and implement a 4-step action plan to help manage your risks, covered in our downloadable factsheet.