Coronavirus Impact on Businesses

Many companies are concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus on their business and this is presenting potential challenges that will not have been planned for previously.

This is a fast moving situation but the government is continually updating advice including specific guidance for employers and businesses:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Cleaning/Decontamination

The government has also issued guidance on Covid 19 decontamination cleaning where both confirmed and unconfirmed cases are and this should be complied with:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

Liability Insurance

There is some exposure to businesses for potential liability claims as disease is defined under the injury definition and specified diseases are not excluded. However, both Public and Employers liability covers are underwritten on a ‘legal liability’ basis and therefore, your business would need to be found to be legally liable for claims to attach & it has to be proved on the balance of probabilities that you are liable. Policies do have a general condition relating to ‘reasonable care’ and this will state that you must take reasonable steps to prevent or protect against injury, loss or damage. By following the government guidelines and taking reasonable actions, insurers should be able to defend any potential claims.

Business Continuity Planning

We recommend reviewing your customer contracts to determine if there are any emergency break clauses/mechanisms where services could be temporarily suspended without payment. We also recommend reviewing your employee contracts with your HR partners to consider any action required should you need to temporarily suspend any work.

Home working where possible is something many businesses are preparing for where possible and IOSH have produced a very useful and thorough guide on Working At Home including a risk checklist which we would recommend considering.

https://www.iosh.com/media/1507/iosh-home-office-mobile-office-full-report-2014.pdf

Business Interruption (BI) Insurance

BI Insurance is primarily designed to cover the interruption to a business following an insured damage loss event at your own premises. Wordings vary across the market and some policies extend to offer limited cover for diseases, however the majority of Insurers specify which of these are covered and they are confirming cover will not be extended to include Covid-19. Insurance for global and widespread issues such as Coronavirus and war is not viable or priced into insurance contracts as Insurers cannot cover risks that they cannot assess.

On a final positive note, the Chancellor has announced some emergency measures in the budget to help alleviate pressures on individuals and employees that are impacted significantly in the short term by any potential “social distancing measures” implemented.

If you have any queries on your insurance covers, please do not hessite to get in touch with your representative at Darwin Clayton.