We are all aware of the Coronavirus and the growing number of cases in the United States. As we see large organizations and industries responding, we would like to help our clients in a small way as you navigate uncertain times.
We ask you to consider three things:
1. Are there immediate risk management steps that you can take to protect your employees, customers and your business from the impact of the Coronavirus?
2. Is there any insurance available to cover financial losses associated with disruption of normal operations?
3. Do you have a disaster recovery plan? If yes, pull it out.
Your near-term plans depend upon the nature of your business, workforce, and how you interact with your clients. We encourage you take steps immediately. Start by reading and sharing readily available information, like the linked CDC article here with your employees. The CDC is recommending businesses require sick employees to stay home, to develop sick leave policies that minimize penalties, and to ask employees to inform employers if any of their family members become sick. Employees who feel sick should seek medical attention. Your industry association may be a great resource. If you work directly with clients in your facility (retail, service or hospitality), train your employees on hygiene and insist on it; keep your facility spotless and disinfected; and be aware of concerns from your clients. If your clientele is generally over 60, consult public health officials about your best practices. If you have a business where your employees can work from home, evaluate if they have access to the supplies, technology and security needed to operate remotely. Do you have a communications and information strategy prepared? If not, develop it. This will prepare you if you need to make the decision to have people work from home.
Most businesses carry business interruption insurance as part of their property coverage. It is important to understand how that coverage will respond. When there is direct damage to your real or personal property by a covered peril, such as a fire or windstorm, business interruption insurance would pay for your lost net income and ongoing expenses. Other types of disruptions to the business income, like the impact of society’s reaction to the outbreak of a disease or action by a governmental authority are not covered by business interruption coverage. Naturally, we will look for coverage, but we do not anticipate that the financial impact of this event will be covered by insurance.
Finally, we all hope that this Coronavirus outbreak retreats quickly. The speed with which it has disrupted lives brings about the important conversation of disaster preparedness. There are countless things that can disrupt our workplaces, from natural disasters to illness and to workplace violence. After we steer through this crisis, it may be good to evaluate how effective your disaster recovery plan is. We are eager to help you directly or through other resources to develop or fine-tune your plan. We pray for the health of our community and the rest of the world. Please call us at (540)366-7475 if you would like our help on any risk management matter.