March 15, 2020
Over the course of the past few days, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has quickly shifted from a story we were following in the news to a very real threat facing our businesses, our employees, and our families. As people and businesses across the globe are being impacted by this virus we are taking a proactive stance and have plans in place to address potential impacts to Robertson Ryan & Associates and our valued clients.
At Robertson Ryan two of our core values are Be Proactive and Be Thoughtful. And it is with these values in mind that we are encouraging our team to use phones and video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings as much as possible during this outbreak and to absolutely remain home if exhibiting any cold/flu symptoms. It is our chief goal to maintain a safe workplace and to encourage and/or adopt practices protecting the health of employees, clients and visitors. We have business continuity plans in place and are prepared to continue servicing your insurance needs.
RRA MISSION: To be the Trusted Advisor for our Clients in the most important personal and business decisions they make. Our advice and counsel are critical to their success and well-being.
At Robertson Ryan we express our Trusted Advisor approach through the way we conduct business. We recognize that this turbulent situation raises a lot of questions, and as they relate to your insurance, we are ready to be your resource.
There is not a one size fits all answer to if, or how, the Coronavirus may impact your life at home or work. Through our Trusted Advisor approach our Agent Owners and Associates are here for you to address the questions you need answered for your unique situation and insurance policies; each and every one is different, which is why you can and should rely on our knowledgeable team.
Generally speaking, many factors affect whether a loss would be covered under insurance, including the type of loss, the type of coverage and the terms and conditions of specific policies. The most common questions our business clients have relate to Workers Compensation, potential business interruption and events being cancelled.
From a Business Interruption standpoint, coverage is triggered by damage to your physical premises. This damage to property must lead to the cessation of a business. This requirement applies to business income dependent property losses (supply chain) and civil authority losses covered by business income policies. Additionally, there is a specific property exclusion applicable to viruses that may (generally will) apply. This is true of “standard” business income forms; there may be some proprietary forms that respond, but these are rare.
For Workers Compensation, two tests must be satisfied before any illness or disease, including the Coronavirus, qualifies as occupational and thus compensable under workers’ compensation:
The illness or disease must be occupational, meaning that it arose out of and was in the course and scope of the employment; and
The illness or disease must arise out of or be caused by conditions peculiar to the work.
Whether an illness arises out of and in the course and scope of employment is a function of the employee’s activities. The simplest test toward determining whether an injury arises out of and in the course and scope of employment is to ask: Was the employee benefiting the employer when exposed to the illness or disease? Be warned, this test is subject to the interpretations and intricacies of various state laws.
Qualifying as ”occupational” is the relatively low hurdle. The higher hurdle is whether the illness or disease is peculiar to the work. If the illness or disease is not peculiar to the work, it is not occupational and thus not compensable under workers’ compensation. An illness or disease is peculiar to the work when such a disease is found almost exclusively to workers in a certain field or there is an increased exposure to the illness or disease because of the employee’s working conditions.
Rest assured that our team is here for you and will be a resource helping navigate your individual needs. If the outbreak has impacted your business, we recommend proactively engaging with your Agent and insurance carrier to discuss anticipated loss exposures and potentially relevant coverages. In the event there is a potential recoverable claim, it is important to maintain detailed records.
BACK TO THE BASICS
We can’t stress enough the importance of proper hygiene from the World Health Organization to aid in avoiding the spread of the Coronavirus Disease.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands: after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least one meter (three feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
While the media has been quick to provide real-time updates on the spread of the virus, we highly recommend that you stay informed by approaching trusted and respected health sources when researching the novel coronavirus. These include the CDC at www.cdc.gov and the World Health Organization (WHO) at www.who.int.
We’ve prepared some helpful tips and resources from reliable sources. Please visit regularly, as we’ll continue to update as new information becomes available. https://www.robertsonryan.com/blog
Our commitment to provide our clients outstanding service is unwavering, especially in the face of uncertain times like these. If you have questions, we are only a phone call away. Please reach out to your Robertson Ryan Agent – we are available and ready to connect.
Robertson Ryan & Associates