In this time of concern over the spread and uncertainty of COVID-19, we want to assure you that we are here to help you navigate these uncharted waters.
As the situation evolves, unfortunately there are no clear-cut answers to all of the questions and coverage concerns that you have. Each scenario is different and each policy can be interpreted differently. However, in an effort to be as an honest and open as possible, we did want to pass along some basic feedback to a variety of questions that people have:
Business Income/Interruption: This coverage requires direct physical loss or damage by a covered cause of loss. A general quarantine or closure because of illness or suspected illness would not trigger the coverage.
Civil Authority: This coverage is designed to supplement income if the government shuts down a facility due to a loss in the surrounding area. However, any potential coverage for action by a civil authority would be subject to the same requirement for direct physical loss or damage for coverage to apply. In other words, without covered physical damage to your premises or the surrounding area, coverage would not apply.
General Liability: This coverage is designed to protect you from allegations of negligence that lead to Bodily Injury or Property Damage. For a claimant to allege that they contracted the virus at your location or because of your actions would appear to be a very difficult standard to meet. But again, each scenario, industry, and policy form can be different. Communicable diseases are usually excluded from coverage, however there could possibly be Defense Coverage for these types of allegations.
Workers Comp: Many employers have asked about their exposure if employees allege catching the virus at work. The intent of Workers Compensation does not provide coverage for communicable and contagious diseases, however there might be exceptions depending on how and where the virus is contracted. And the interpretation of the laws can vary by State. As with Liability, it could be very difficult to prove that employment was the cause or contributing factor to contracting the virus.
We are sorry that we can’t provide you with firm coverage answers, but we promise to keep you posted as we learn more. We encourage everyone to protect themselves, their employees and the general public the best you can knowing that insurance issues will be resolved in due time. We also recommend that every customer keep good documentation of everything that is happening to the business. Many uncovered losses could be part of future litigation or a change in coverage interpretation in the future.
Please know that the Reilly team is available to discuss any issues or concerns that you might have. We will do everything we possibly can to help you and our community preserve through these trying times.