Coronavirus (COVID-19) Insurance Considerations
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Insurance Update from Centrewest Insurance Brokers in Western Australia
As the details and headlines about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to change and increase, so has concern about the affect on businesses and welfare. On Wednesday 11 March the World Health Organisation (WHO) characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic, while the Insurance Council of Australia declared COVID-19 an insurance catastrophe. We would like to reassure all our clients that we are here to help as much as possible and to please contact us if you have any questions.
What may or may not be covered by insurance in Australia?
Businesses are starting to feel the effects particularly in regards to interruptions caused by cancellations to bookings. It is inevitable that most businesses Australia wide will be affected by some form of interruption during the coming months as COVID-19 spreads. At this point in time most claims are being considered and assessed on their merits. As it is a rapidly changing situation, circumstances can and will change regularly, insurers are continuing to release updates on coverage and policy conditions.
Business Interruption Insurance
It is with regret to advise that as Coronavirus was listed as an infectious disease as of the end of January 2020, policy exclusions relating to pandemics will apply. In addition, there is no material loss which is normally the trigger for this section. This means that regrettably there is no insurance protection for disruptions to business arising from COVID-19.
To read the full article and details regarding the exclusions and risk management tips please click here.
Please contact your insurance broker as some specific policies may contain terms that allow for a claim under certain conditions.
Temporary Removal of Office Equipment/Contents
With many workplaces implementing a work from home strategy, it is a timely reminder to review your Business Pack policy to ensure that any relocated office based equipment is adequately insured, you should contact your account manager to confirm on 08 9126 9151 or find their mobile number on our website. As a quick Summary (referring to Steadfast Client Trading Platform- Business Package wording) there is cover for 20% of the contents sum insured for temporary removal of office equipment to an employees home.
- Property Section - Desktop computers/equipment only - excludes portable devices (laptops, ipads, mobiles etc.)
- Theft - Includes desktop & portable devices
- General Property - Australia wide cover (if item is listed)
Update from Workcover WA, March 13 2020
WorkCover WA is receiving queries relating to COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus. The main query is whether workers would be entitled to compensation in WA if the disease is contracted at work. In order for any worker to be eligible for compensation a disease must have been contracted in the course of employment and the employment must have been a significant contributing factor to the contraction of the disease. In relation to COVID-19 where exposure can occur in public settings questions may arise as to the exact time and place of contracting the virus. As a result, it may be difficult to determine that employment was a significant contributing factor. Each claim would need to be considered on its individual merits, having regard to the individual circumstances and evidence of each claim. If a person diagnosed with COVID-19 wishes to make a workers' compensation claim, please refer to WorkCover WA's website for relevant information. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, WorkCover WA encourages all stakeholders to exercise all precautions. Refer to the Department of Health website for practical measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
The Australian Government has now advised all Australians: do not travel overseas. This is the highest advice level (level 4 of 4). Regardless of your destination, age or health, the governments advice is do not travel at this time. Whether you are would be covered depends on which policy was taken out and what date it was purchased. If it was after the COVID-19 was deemed to be a public health emergency, then it will not be covered. Corporate travel is likely to be covered if the travel insurance was taken out prior to the outbreak, around the end of January 2020. Click here for the latest guidance for Corporate Travel Insurance from TravelCard. Leisure travel policies are more likely to have an exclusion for epidemics and pandemics. Click here for an article which explains the cover for Coronavirus under Leisure and Corporate travel policies. We do suggest you contact your airline or travel agent to discuss your options for cancelling, obtaining a refund or postponing. Please contact us to discuss your options for claiming through your travel insurer.
Actions your business can take
- Keep all your staff up to date, communicate with your employees
- Look out for your staffs health and well being - everyone will be handling this situation differently and this is completely normal for people to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Ensure that any employee assistance programs are well communicated to help people manage any related stress.
- Stay informed with the rapidly changing situation via reputable new sources and relevant authorities.
Employment Relations Specialist
Centrewest are partnered with an employment relations specialist, as a Centrewest client you have access to a range of resources and expert employment relations and health and safety advice. At these trying times this is a great service to have access to, to discuss processes regarding leave when businesses are facing shut down periods. You can access expert advice and corresponding documentation for employee and industrial relations, human resources, health & safety and organisational development.
The advice line is open Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:30pm.
Phone: 1300 758 478
- World Health Organisation (WHO) - daily updates and helpful resources for personal and business purposes.
- Click Here for a link to Fair Work which provides great guidance on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.
- Coronavirus & Travel Insurance - this article explains the cover for Coronavirus under Leisure and Corporate Travel policies.
- Coronavirus & Business Interruption - this article explains policy exclusions due to the Coronavirus.
- Get your workplace ready for COVID-19 - Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference.
As a leader in a risk management business, we remain fully committed to supporting you and your company through these challenging times.
Reach out to talk to one of our insurance experts at any time. This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is suitable for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.