Business Insurance Coverage and Risk Management During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in its global reach and continues to spread throughout Durham Region and beyond, impacting our customers and their communities. We’re here to help clients, their businesses and their employees through this uncertain time and help them face the future with confidence.

The team at Petley-Hare is continuing to bring you the latest resources to help you manage your risk and provide you and your employees with information to help minimize business interruption.

What coverages or insurance policies will cover my business?

While there may be limitations in available coverages, you should review the following policies with your broker:

  • General Liability
  • Directors and officers (D&O) liability
  • Management Liability
  • Property
  • Business Interruption
  • Pollution

Is there a business interruption policy that will cover loss due to COVID-19?

For business interruption coverage to trigger, physical loss or damage must generally occur on the insured’s premises. Business interruption extensions like contingent business income, also requires physical loss or damage to occur.

Most traditional property insurance policies will not respond to claims resulting from slowdowns or shutdowns due to the spread of a pandemic.

Will my property policy cover contamination at my job site caused by coronavirus?

Standard property policies require the occurrence of physical loss or damage to covered property by an insured peril to trigger coverage. Contamination of property at an insured’s location may constitute physical loss or damage, yet policy exclusions for pathogenic organisms, viruses, and disease- or illness causing agents may restrict or exclude coverage. Many traditional property policies may exclude contamination altogether, especially those written for a business with no apparent exposure to contamination.

Limited available coverage for communicable or infectious disease may be offered on some property forms, but is likely narrow in its coverage scope. Covered costs may include cleanup, removal and disposal of contaminated property.

What should I do if an employee becomes ill?

If you suspect that an employee has contracted COVID-19, you should immediately ask the employee to leave the premises and have them call their regional health department. Then, alert the communicable disease division of your provinces health department, and get directions on the specific actions you should take to clean office spaces and quarantine potentially impacted employees.

What preventative measures can I take to help ensure my commercial coverage remains in place and facilities are maintained due to my business closure?

Your business insurance policy may have coverage limitations if your business premises are vacant or unoccupied for 30 days or more. It's best to have someone visit the insured premises on a regular basis to verify it is secure and check for any damage. If you are unable to have someone visit your business premises, contact your Petley-Hare broker to determine what solutions are available.

You must also comply with any warranties in your policy during a shutdown. For example, alarm systems must be activated to trigger burglary coverage, heating systems must be kept on (during the heating season) to avoid burst pipes.

Will there be an increase in other threats as the virus continues to spread?

Criminal groups know people have a lot to think about right now and that businesses may have their guard down. You will want to monitor cyber and technology protections carefully as hackers may use the pandemic as an opportunistic time to attack.

Also, remind employees to be aware of emails coming from unrecognizable sources, to be diligent when downloading files, and to never give out personal information online or via email and text. Additionally, ensure all employees have proper protections and security in place if they are working from home.

This is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone. Our broker experts are here to help individuals, families, and businesses through this pandemic. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Petley-Hare has prepared this article and other news alerts for general informational purposes only, and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as legal or client-specific insurance advice. The insurance descriptions above do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient’s industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers control.