The Coronavirus Outbreak – Business Insurance Update

Like many businesses, I am sure you are concerned about the impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related emergency measures will have on your business.

At IAGB we are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves. We understand that the cancellation of events, self-isolation requirements and restrictions on travel will have an immediate and prolonged impact on many of our businesses and clients.

Here’s what we are doing in response;

  1. We are continuing to work with our clients to respond in a timely manner to answer queries, claims and insurance cover requests.
  2. On March 11, the Insurance Council of Australia declared the situation an insurance catastrophe which means claims arising from COVID-19 will be processed with urgency.
  3. We will endeavour to provide you with insurance updates in a timely manner and urge you to contact us via email or phone if you have any questions.

Like many organisations, we are following government directives closely, limiting travel and client contact. Our staff have remote access and, in the event of an office closure, we will be able to continue business as usual.

We urge you to take similar precautions in your business and suggest you refer to the following government sources of information for updates and advice;

The Insurance Council of Australia has also recently provided some important information and updates for business cover clients that we would like to share with you;

Will business interruption insurance cover business costs resulting from Coronavirus?

Most BI policies typically cover disruption to a business as a result of physical damage to assets that the business relies upon.

Some BI policies respond to the closure of a business by an authority for a number of risks, including infectious disease, for example Legionnaires. In 2005/6 the global insurance industry began to introduce general exclusions for losses relating to quarantinable diseases.

Whilst some specific policies may differ, in Australia the majority of business policies are likely to contain exclusions relating to losses caused by any disease notifiable under the Quarantine Act or in some cases the Biosecurity Act.

A small number of businesses may have specialist cover, specifically written for them. Cover may be taken for disruptions to critical supplies from overseas, or a sudden drop-off in trade due to specific border closures. If you do not understand how your policy may respond to COVID-19 triggered losses, speak to your broker or your insurer for more information.

Will business travel insurance cover cancelled travel plans?

Where the government issues a ‘do not travel’ advice as a result of a pandemic, travel insurance may cover a traveller for trip cancellation costs, depending on when the policy was purchased and what general exclusions the policy contains relating to claims for pandemic or epidemic.

If an Australian who is already travelling falls ill as a result of a pandemic, their travel insurance may cover medical treatment overseas and a medical evacuation to Australia if covered by their policy. Many travel insurance policies do explicitly exclude any claims related to pandemics. Once a traveller returns to Australia, or if symptoms only present on home soil, the traveller is covered by Medicare.

Travel insurance policies purchased after COVID-19 became a known event are unlikely to cover travellers who are overseas or who are yet to travel for coronavirus-related expenses.

For more information about travel insurance please CLICK HERE

Please start following us on LinkedIn and Facebook as we continue to monitor and update our communication as the situation evolves and changes.

All correspondence will continue to be sent via email, published on our website and updated on our social media.

For further advice please contact your broker directly or call either of our offices Murarrie 07 3630 1823 or Ashmore 07 5564 7333