Due to directives from carriers, we have been advised not to address COVID-19 related questions at this time. However, we are being directed to send people to their specific carriers if they have questions for a specialist who is equipped and ready to handle these specific queries. COVID-19 concerns are fluid and changing on a daily basis and your carriers adjust each moment as the situation evolves. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Carrier contact details can be found on our website and we ask that you reference those HERE.
Update From IMT Insurance
Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected personally or economically by COVID-19. We wanted to provide some general guidance on some of the most common questions related to coverage along with additional resources available to answer additional questions you may have. This general guidance may or may not apply to any individual claim. All claims are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and require a comprehensive review of the specific facts upon which the claim is based. As you may expect, the facts surrounding any potential claim associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be very complex, and those facts along with the particulars of a policy may lead to different answers.
Workers Compensation (WC):
- WC provides coverage for “occupational diseases” that arise out of and in the course of employment.
- The state statutes in our writing states deem that ‘ordinary diseases of life’ (common cold or flu) are not considered “occupational diseases.” Under this definition, COVID-19 appears to be an ‘ordinary disease of life.’
- The only state that has specifically changed its policy related to WC coverage for healthcare workers and first responders is Washington State.
General Liability/BOP – Third-Party Coverage:
- Claims may arise, seeking to hold people responsible for causing others to contract COVID-19.
- In order to trigger coverage, the alleged injuries must be caused by an “occurrence,” meaning an accident. The answer to this question generally turns on whether the insured foresaw the claimant’s injury. Given the public warnings about the need to prevent exposure, one might question whether the occurrence requirement has been met.
- There are also a number of exclusions that may apply.
- Some courts have applied the pollution exclusion to preclude coverage for analogous claims involving bacteria.
- If the Communicable Disease Exclusion (CG2132 for General Liability and BP1486 for Businessowners) is on the policy, there would most likely not be covered.
Commercial Property/BOP – 1st Party Coverage:
- It is most likely there is no coverage under a Commercial Property policy or the property portion of the BOP due to COVID-19 as it would not be construed as a “covered cause of loss.”
- Most business income losses will result from a general decline in economic activity as opposed to physical loss or damage to a structure.
- As a result, there would not be coverage for loss of income due to COVID-19 as the trigger for Business Income coverage requires direct physical loss or damage to property caused by a “covered cause of loss.”
- There may be claims that the insured’s building and/or contents are contaminated with COVID-19 that cause a health risk to humans, and one can argue that this constitutes “direct physical loss.”
- However, both Commercial Property policies and Businessowners policies include a mandatory exclusion (Exclusion of Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria). Commercial Property policies are by endorsement (CP0140), and the Businessowners Coverage Form (BP0003) includes this language
- This exclusion is used to clarify that loss or damage caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium, or other microorganisms that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness, or disease is not covered. This exclusion supersedes any exclusion related to pollutants
- As previously mentioned regarding CGL coverage, the pollution exclusion may also apply.
- Business Income from Dependent Properties (such as a supplier) – if the insured has this coverage, the dependent property would need to be shut down from a “covered cause of loss” in order to trigger coverage.
- If the dependent property was shut down due to COVID-19, there would likely not be coverage for business income loss resulting from the insured not receiving supplies from the dependent property due to the direct physical loss requirement and the aforementioned exclusions.
- Government or Civil Authority Order – if the government or a civil authority shuts down access to the insured’s property, the reason for the shutdown would need to stem from a “covered cause of loss” in order to trigger coverage for the policyholder.
Q: With restaurants being shut down and only able to do delivery or have the customer pick up the food, can I add Hired and Non-Owned Auto Coverage?
A: We are doing what we can to help businesses out. We do have Hired and Non-owned Auto coverage available on our BOP and Commercial Auto. Our existing guidelines will continue to apply. If you have an existing policyholder that is in this situation, please provide us with the following:
- Who will be the drivers (drivers names and license information)
- What vehicles they will be using
- Limits of liability on those vehicles
- Area of operation
Q: Is there any premium payment relief for businesses?
A: This situation is typically dictated by the Government (state or federal). Currently, there hasn’t been any bulletins released addressing this situation.
- We understand that the receipts or payroll for a business may be lower than originally anticipated. If you have policyholders in that situation, you may submit a revised estimate, and we will amend the policy.
- Assistance from the Government – the Federal Government has been working with the Small Business Administration to offer low or ‘no’ interest loans to small businesses.
Remember To Wash Your Hands
One crucial way to keep yourself safe during this crisis is to wash your hands regularly, just like Emmitt and Gunner! According to the CDC follow these five steps when washing your hands.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
What Happens If You File Too Many Homeowners Insurance Claims?
Homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect you from experiencing great financial burden after a loss. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to file a claim every time your home endures any damage. Submitting too many claims could increase your rates or give your insurer reason to cancel your policy. Below, we explain how your coverage can be impacted by making multiple claims.
Every time a homeowner’s insurance claim is filed, the information is sent to a database known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). Insurance providers refer to this when making decisions on how risky it is to ensure a homeowner and how much to charge for coverage. A CLUE report is a detailed history of all the claims submitted by a homeowner, dating back five to seven years. If an insurer decides they don’t like what’s included in a CLUE report, they may opt to discontinue coverage or raise the rates.