Commercial Express

The Value Added MGA

01384 473021

COVID-19

DATE: 19/03/2020


Dear broker,

 

As we face the significant daily increase in Coronavirus cases, the question many policyholders will be asking you: what cover do I have under my policy if I am affected by this?

 

At 6.15pm on 5 March 2020, COVID-19 was added to the list of notifiable diseases. This change in law requires GPs to report all positive cases to Public Health England.

 

This is an important date and statement to acknowledge. It may quickly determine the outcome of any claims submitted where incidents of reported losses occurred prior to the above date and/or if Public Health England were not notified of the presence of COVID-19.

 

The true potential of the outbreak is relatively unknown, and your policyholders will naturally be concerned as to the potential impact the virus may have on their business and any claim they may seek to make under their current insurance policy.

 

Our most common query to date is around interruption to the policyholder’s business. What cover is there under a Business Interruption section of a policy for losses arising from COVID-19? There are two areas where some cover may be available, both being under Business Interruption cover non damage extensions.

 

1. Notifiable Diseases

Most insurers set out a list of specific notifiable diseases that are covered under this section. COVID-19 will not be present as it was unknown until recently. Therefore, there would be no cover under such wordings.

 

However, some covers are written on a non-specified basis, under this form of wording, as COVID-19 is now a notifiable disease and has been since the above time and date, BI loss arising as a direct result of the disease affecting the business would typically be covered.

 

2. Denial of Access

Many policies contain a Denial of Access extension to the Business Interruption section.

 

The majority typically require the denial of access to be as a result of “insured damage….” As there would be no physical damage, there would be no cover for COVID-19 under such an extension.

 

Some policies will contain a non-damage denial of access clause which typically covers losses arising from “an incident….” Under such a non-damage denial of access extension, then losses arising to the business as a direct result of such denial of access due to COVID-19 could be covered by the policy.

 

In summary, each policy will need to be reviewed to establish if they contain a non-specific Notifiable Disease extension and/or a non-damage Denial of Access extension. Policy exclusions and conditions will also need to be reviewed to establish the level of cover that may be available for your client.

 

Commercial Express has robust business contingency plans in place to ensure a continued service is available to our brokers, as we all traverse through the various phases being implemented by the government.

 

As you are aware, we are backed by a number of different insurers. Some of the current policy wordings will contain a Notifiable Disease extension where damage has occurred or there is coverage following an interruption to the business.

 

Please take the time to refer to the policy wording to check the scope of cover in place along with any applicable extensions, exclusions and conditions.

 

Each insurer will respond to every claim accordingly in line with the policy documentation. All claims will be reviewed on an individual basis and will be subject to the usual terms and conditions of the policy at the time of the loss.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further queries or any concerns on this unprecedented matter.

 

The information contained in this article is for general information and guidance purposes only. Insurers retain ultimate responsibility to the authorisation of all claims.