Given the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to provide an update on what we are doing to play our part, what this will mean for you and finally, what your insurance can do for your during this time.
What are we doing to respond?
Like many business, we have had to come up with a different way of working for the safety and well being of both our clients and our employees. This will mean:
- Client meetings will be temporarily suspended - this will ensure we don't expose you or ourselves to unnecessary risk. With the state of technology, phone and video conferences will do a lot to assist here.
- We have reaffirmed a very strict office hygiene policy, social distancing and self-imposed isolation where required.
- We are fully able to work remotely and we will have a number of staff working from home to reduce the risk of exposure. We must stress, our teams will remain fully resourced and connected to service your business.
What does this mean for you?
From a service standpoint, nothing... As explained, it will be business as usual and we will provide the same advice and service which we always have.
How do insurance policies respond to this type of event?
From an insurance standpoint, the main policies which our clients hold and are being affected by this issue are Travel Insurance and Business Interruption. However, we understand you're busy trying to do your best to make this situation work - so we also want to make sure you think of how this will affect your cover. As these are each very separate issues, they will be addressed individually below.
Changes to your own insurances:
Given that a 'work from home' type arrangement may be inevitable for many businesses, you need to think about whether this means you need to cover property in locations off-site. The majority of policies we use include this as standard. There are two quick steps you can take to check if you have this cover under the "Property" and "Burglary" sections of your cover:
1. Open up the latest renewal document and the Product Disclosure Statement document (i.e. the big long insurer branded document)
2. Do a search (by hitting Ctrl+F) for the words 'temporary removal' and this will explain the cover.
If you're not sure of this, we are happy to help. However, as you can appreciate, we are inundated with calls and adjusting the the working arrangements - to allow us to give you the best service, please send us an email with:
- Business name
- Policy number
- $ value of the equipment being removed from its usual location
- Description of the items being removed
If we find you have this cover (as most do), we will send an email back confirming. If not, we will have it added for you.
LMI Group, headed by Allan Manning have written a paper on this matter which is attached linked here. They are widely considered to be the foremost experts on insurance in Australia.
However, the general explanation is that insurers have made every attempt to exclude business losses due to widespread diseases like these. If the world's insurance industry tried to cope with this type of financial loss, it would not be sustainable. It is important to realise though that there are some subtle differences in policies which might provide some movement but you should operate on the assumption that these losses will not fall with your insurer.
Business or Corporate Travel Insurance
The great news is that the policies which we provide to our clients are not like direct policies and so they don't have a blanket exclusion for Panemics/Epidemics. However, they will only respond to circumstances which were unforeseen.
The general consensus of the cut off between most insurers has been the 2nd of March. Any new policies which were taken out after this time, or new flights or journeys booked would not be covered - in simple terms, by that time it was very foreseeable that there would be complications with the journey.
For those who booked and had cover prior to this, your policy will likely respond to a claim related to the virus in some way.
First port of call is to check with the airlines/accommodation if they will offer a credit or money back
If the above will not offer credit or money back then we can look at lodging a claim. To assist, please obtain, Copies of booking/accommodation invoices, Proof that the flights/accommodation cannot be refunded/credited
**please note all other sections of the Travel policy will still respond as per your policy schedule for items not related to the COVID-19 pandemic and if you're not sure, it is better to ask us rather than assume either way**
Your ongoing support is important to us, we are committed to work with you to alleviate the pressures that this crisis may create.
Warmest regards, The Team at Big Group