In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, governments and authorities globally have closed venues such as theaters, museums, gyms, among others. This is a unique situation in which closures and “social distancing” will impact businesses directly and indirectly.
It is anticipated that most claims will likely be tied to income losses from indirect exposures such as supply chain or civil authority-related impacts. This includes the disruption of supply chain, slowdown, or in some instances, complete breakdown.
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MANAGEMENT LIABILITY (E&O, D&O, EPLI)
In addition to general liability coverage, many companies may hold errors and omissions (“E&O”) coverage or other professional liability coverage. These specialized insurance policies are meant to protect against damages arising out of the provision of, or failure to provide, certain services.
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WORKERS’ COMPENSATION & EMPLOYER LIABILITY
Claims related to communicable and contagious diseases are not generally the intent of workers’ compensation coverage and related statutes. Exceptions may occur depending on how a disease like COVID-19 is contracted.
Companies should be as proactive as possible in addressing and minimizing risks for their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, categorizing workplaces according to risk and outlining steps employers can take to help protect their workforce.
Most life insurance policies will not be impacted by COVID-19. Once a life insurance policy is in force and premiums are paid, the policy will pay out to beneficiaries for most types of death, including death from COVID-19.
Thus far, it appears that COVID-19 is having more of a social and economic impact than it is direct physical damage on commercial autos. While current commercial auto policies will cover physical damage on cargo and commercial autos, including the driver, it is likely that most commercial auto policies will not cover COVID-19 impacts in any meaningful way.
COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the aviation industry as private and public sectors impose travel and flight restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
In the surety market, underwriters are likely to reduce their support for companies that are unable to sustain themselves through this period of business interruption, particularly if the return to normal economic activity is delayed.
The longer the persistence of the COVID-19 threat, the more likely it will be a consideration during renewal or buying discussions. Brokers and underwriters should be aware of the changing market dynamics related to any potential impacted coverages.
UNDERSTANDING, MITIGATING AND MANAGING RISK POTENTIAL
In addition to following the CDC’s interim guidance, organizations should proactively identify the concerns of their clients and ensure that the organization has done all that it can to ensure the safety of their clients and consistent delivery of product or services they need and expect. As COVID-19 continues to develop daily, employers must make sure clients are informed with any updates.