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COVID-19 Coronavirus & Insurance

Access our growing compilation of regulatory updates, coverage discussions, telework resources, and more.  

Regulatory and Governmental Updates

Delaware

Governor's Communication

Insurance Regulator's Communication

Maryland

Governor's Communication

Insurance Regulator's Communication

Pennsylvania

Governor's Communication

Additional guidance from the Insurance Department's Deputy Commissioner:

"The Administration has strongly urged non-essential businesses to close during mitigation periods to protect employees, customers, and suppliers. While the business of insurance is essential, many roles and functions of insurance offices may be administered remotely or are otherwise non-essential. We encourage carriers and agencies to use their discretion in determining essential functions for essential employees. For example, an agency may determine it is appropriate to close to walk-in visitors, while remaining open for business, and available to consumers, through calls and e-mail."

Insurance Regulator's Communication

Federal
  

Coverage - Articles & Webinars

Industry experts
Industry trade publications
ISO endorsements & carrier responses

Feb. 13, 2020 - Verisk Develops New Coverage Options in Response to Coronavirus
Verisk/ISO announced that it had drafted two advisory, optional endorsements to respond to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak. They are designed for use with existing ISO Commercial Property business interruption coverage:

  1. Business Interruption: Limited Coverage For Certain Civil Authority Orders Related To Coronavirus: This endorsement provides limited coverage in the event that a business suspends operations due to a closure or quarantine ordered by a civil authority. This endorsement also provides coverage with respect to dependent property that is named in the policy and for vehicles and mobile equipment, where applicable.

  2. Business Interruption: Limited Coverage For Certain Civil Authority Orders Related To Coronavirus (Including Orders Restricting Some Modes of Transportation): This second endorsement also provides coverage when a business is forced to suspend operations due to the closure (or restricted use) of public bus, rail, or ferry lines by civil authorities.

Of note:

  • These endorsement have not been assigned a number. ISO is simply making them available for carrier members if they wish to file them on their own.

  • They also are not carrying any filed rates or loss costs.

  • Insurers who choose to offer the endorsements in the admitted market will need to make appropriate regulatory filings on their own. They will need to decide whether they wish to offer the coverage, to what extent, and evaluate the premium they should charge for the exposure.

Recorded webinars
  • March 19, 2020 - Coronavirus, Auto Exposures, and Food Delivery
    Does the Personal Auto Policy (PAP) even cover food delivery? How and by whom is the restaurant covered especially if there isn’t a Business Auto Policy (BAP)? The Big "I" answers these questions and more in 30 minutes.
     
  • March 18, 2020 - A Candid COVID Convo with Cathy
    Hear IA&B Education Consultant Kevin Amrhein, CIC talk with insurance agent and renowned instructor Cathy Trischan, CPCU, CIC, CRM, AU, AAI, CRIS, ARM, MLIS, TRIP about how to respond to common customer questions related to the pandemic. Take a deep dive into policy forms, exclusions and enhancements, and case law. 
     
  • March 16, 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Does Business Income Respond? 
    Does ISO’s Business Income policy respond if a business shuts down because of the coronavirus? What happens if the authorities require the business to close? There is a short answer to these questions, but it’s not necessarily a simple answer. The Big “I” addresses this major insurance concern 25 minutes. 
Court cases & legislative action
     

Coronavirus and E&O Prevention

What do you tell customers losing business to the Coronavirus?

March 17, 2020 - The flurry of inquiries is putting producers on the spot, caught between what they can and cannot say about coverage and customers wanting answers, generally expecting coverage when it may not be there. Having a balanced and consistent approach in your communication is important. Even if agents feel that no coverage is available, they should stay away from stating so.

Agents should NOT make any coverage decision, but instead suggest to customers who ask questions that it is best to report the claim to the insurer.

1. Why you should stay generic in your messaging:
As an agent, it is not your role to make coverage determinations.

Agency agreements generally preclude agents from taking a position on claims. Both hypothetical and real scenarios can be serious E&O hazards.

The issues that are arising will likely lead to lawsuits, and what we know or think we know about coverage could change based on court decisions, or the intervention of regulators or legislators. The situation is still very fluid, and the scope of the pandemic and its ultimate impact on the economy and society are not fully known. Like any other situation that is evolving so fast, there is a degree of uncertainty that is difficult to address. It is best not to take any position one way or the other in case you end up being contradicted after giving information out. Case in point: if you tell a commercial customer that there is no business income coverage because there is no “direct physical loss to the property,” the customer may decide not to file the claim as a result. If a court later determines that the Coronavirus is deemed a direct physical loss, the customer’s late claim could be denied for late notice, and your E&O would be on the line.

2. What to tell your customers?

Below is one example of a generic message:

“Generally, business income policies are designed to be triggered after direct physical damage from a covered cause of loss to the business property in question, such as a fire shutting down the operations and leading to the business income loss. However, as insurance agents/brokers, we’re not claim adjusters, and don’t have the authority to make a determination on coverage. If you wish to report the losses and file a claim, the insurer will review your exact circumstances and make a determination based on your policy.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns you wish for me to relay to the insurer.”

 

Coronavirus & Employment

Employment laws rights and obligations

U.S. Department of Labor Guidance

General Information

There are several factors to consider when dealing with employees who are sick in quarantine or have family members who are sick. In addition to any paid time-off you may offer, there are several regulatory requirements to consider. You may often have to manage multiple laws at the same time.

All or most employers:

  • State and local sick leave laws: In addition to federal legislation related to COVID-19, 11 states and several other cities and counties have implemented such laws covering most employers with variations in the amount of time and if it is paid or unpaid.

  • State paid disability leave: Some states have paid disability laws to cover employees for extended absences. These are usually run through the state, but employers must notify employees of the benefit and may need to assist them with paperwork.

Mid-size employers (15 or more employees):

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA): These laws require employers to offer reasonable accommodation such as a leave of absence to employees who are disabled, even if temporarily.

Large employers (50 or more employees):

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): FMLA provides qualified employees up to 12 weeks (in most cases) of unpaid job- and benefit-protection, which usually runs concurrently with any paid time off. There are very strict requirements for employers to follow regarding notification, tracking and documentation to stay in compliance, so timely response and accurate tracking are crucial.

  • State family and medical leave laws: Some states have laws similar to FMLA, which may have different parameters, including longer leave times and different look-back periods. These run concurrently with FMLA.

Consider requiring employees to stay home if they are sick to protect the rest of your employees. Another consideration is to allow sick employees to work from home until they are asymptomatic.

If you find yourself having to address an employee's long-term absence due to illness, you can reach out to our HR Consultant, Karen DiGioia of Mosteller & Associates. (See contact information under Complimentary Consultation Services & Discounted Professional Services.)

  

Employer guidance
  

Health Plans & IRS

 

WHO & CDC Situation Reports

 

 
  

Message from IA&B's President

live CE webinars

As the impact of the pandemic changes, know that IA&B services remain available to you. 

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Course Cancellations

No classroom courses will be held through April 30. (Note that live CE webinars and on-demand programs will continue without interruption.)

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