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COVID-19 - Assistance & Measures on your insurance contracts

Casualty|Risk & Analytics|Financial, Executive and Professional Risks (FINEX)|Marine|Property
COVID 19 Coronavirus

By Peter S. Philipp and Ado Bektas | April 9, 2020

Assistance & Measures

You will find below additional assistance & measures for each insurance industry in order to best deal with the consequences in relation to your current insurance contracts.

Property insurance

Hygiene or epidemic insurance

The hygiene or epidemic insurance - currently in use in hospitals, nursing homes, catering and the food industry - covers loss of profit and ongoing costs as well as material damage in the event of governmental ordered measures, such as the closure of the business in the event of the occurrence of notifiable diseases or pathogens in accordance with the relevant legal provisions. As the diseases or pathogens are defined in the insurance policies, the currently purchased insurance cover does not usually cover the coronavirus.

It is recommended to have the insurance cover confirmed by the insurer in case of existing hygiene or epidemic insurance policies. There are currently different statements from insurers in the market, from rejection to confirmation to individual examination.

Property/ business interruption insurance

COVID-19 may require customers to shut down their operations and may also result in activities being relocated. In many classic property insurance policies, this constitutes an increase in risk and could also affect insurance coverage in the event of a claim. For this reason, it is highly recommended to check the policies and take safety measures and, if necessary, make other agreements before a shutdown.

Construction All Risk Insurance

An interruption of a construction project may require a notification to your insurer. Insurers may offer an extension of cover free of charge within their terms and conditions. Nevertheless, we recommend contacting us at an early stage in order to extend the cover if necessary.

Liability insurance

Regarding the liability insurance, coverage for claims arising from personal injury due to the transmission of diseases is generally provided in the commercial sector, unless explicitly excluded in the policy. However, since it is very difficult to enforce such a claim for reasons of evidence, the coverage is mainly limited to the defense of unjustified claims. Nevertheless, the existing risk potential should be excluded to the greatest extent possible by taking appropriate safety measures (i.e. maintaining hygiene measures, providing information to visitors and employees, etc.).

The COVID-19 epidemic and the resulting restrictions lead to declining sales in many industries and areas, in a variety of degrees. The insurance premiums of liability insurance are usually sales-related and are based on the annual sales of the previous year. If, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, sales deviate significantly from the previous year's sales, or the planned figures for the current year, or if there are even payment difficulties, please contact us. We will start a dialogue with the insurers to find an acceptable solution for you.

D&O Insurance

From the perspective of directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance, at least one concern is that inadequate disclosures involving such a widely publicized global health event can give rise to securities litigation should there be a related material drop in a company’s stock value. Such litigations have already been filed. These would likely be similar to what D&O professionals refer to as “event driven” litigation, that is, securities litigation deriving from losses in stock value allegedly due to inadequate disclosures surrounding high profile, adverse events.
We urge companies with the potential of operations or financial results being impacted by COVID-19 to confer with their legal advisors and auditors on the scope and timing of advisable risk disclosures.

Cyber Insurance

Many companies allow their employees to work from home in order to maintain business operations. This increases the risk of cyber-attacks. On the one hand, home office computers are much harder to protect than within corporate networks. On the other hand, cyber criminals are increasingly trying to "hijack" users' passwords with phishing mails on COVID-19 topics. We recommend reviewing the resilience and business continuity plans in light of these risks.

Marine Cargo Insurance

According to the General Terms and Conditions for the Insurance of Goods Transport (ABVT 2006, edition 01.2006), insurance cover of the goods / cargo during the insured transport is provided on an "All Risk" basis, i.e. against loss and damage and insofar as particular risks are not explicitly excluded.

A possible cause of damage may be a delay in transport or delivery (Attention: possible exclusion!).

However, you should pay attention to your storage requirements and arrangements for transport:

Transport related storage

Storage is covered during the insured trip within the agreed duration of storage under your policy. If you become aware that this period will be exceeded (e.g. due to failure of ships/trucks/railway due to COVID-19), you must notify the insurer immediately.

Scheduled storage (self-initiated storage), Consignment storage

If such storage is also covered by your policy, please bear in mind the agreed maximum insurance sum for this storage. Higher storage values than usual may be possible.

If the agreed insured sums have been exceeded, the insurer must be notified.

Please inform us immediately in both cases, as otherwise the cover may be limited or cancelled.

We recommend that you report any damage that has occurred due to COVID-19 for examination.

Motor Insurance

The motor vehicle industry is less or not at all affected by the current events in connection with the Corona Virus. As long as vehicles are registered with the Road Traffic Office, insurance cover exists not only for the compulsory third party liability cover, but also for the optional comprehensive cover and any other cover provided by the insurer.

Under certain circumstances, it may be worth considering taking certain vehicles out of circulation if they have not been used for a longer period of time in order to save both insurance premiums and traffic fees. However, this is only cost-effective, if the period of the suspension of use is longer than 1-2 months, which is rather difficult to estimate in the current crisis.

For company travel hull insurance, we recommend a review of the annual kilometers driven by all employees at the end of the year, as this can be reported to the insurer on an exceptional basis even without an annual declaration duty, in order to achieve certain premium savings too. Based on the experience, the savings are rather small due to the already competitive premiums. Hence, the effort involved should also be determined here.

Credit insurance

Reporting overdue receivables

This is one of the main contractual obligations. Some insurers have already actively offered relief in the form of extended reporting deadlines and informed you separately.

Payment by instalments agreement

In the coming weeks, we expect that your customers will increasingly request deferral agreements or payment by instalments. Please bear in mind that in most cases instalment payment plans must be approved in advance by your insurer.

Payment of premiums

Timely payment of the insurance premium is a basic requirement for insurance cover. Even if some credit insurers have already indicated a blanket concession, please always work closely with us.

Limit application

If customers pay later, your receivables automatically increase. Please check regularly whether the existing credit limits are high enough.

Maximum compensation: In individual cases, e.g. in particularly affected industries, it may be appropriate to increase the maximum contractual indemnity, as this is usually only ever designed for a loss of the largest customer.

We are currently in constant dialogue with the insurance markets to jointly reduce the consequences of COVID-19 for customers.
The measures described in this document are intended to provide you with basic support for measures in the main insurance sectors. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any individual questions.

Authors


Head Client Management CRB, Switzerland

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