As restrictions due to COVID-19 are slowly lifted, many businesses that have been, either, shut down or had their employees work remotely, are thinking of when and how to re-open and bring their workforce back safely. One of the biggest challenges facing business owners making this type of decision, is how does one manage this new, challenging and invisible risk (risk of COVID transmission), while ensuring your team’s productivity remains high.
As we are “flattening the curve” and the economy is slowly opening, employees will start to transition back to the office after nearly four (4) months of working from home. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to close and, those that did not have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan in place had to scramble to come up with a “work from home” solution in order to keep their business running while keeping their employees safe and healthy. Such “on the fly” solutions can cause serious complications as employees return to the office, and company leadership realizes that they must adjust their risk strategies to suit the “new normal”.
As the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact businesses, it will, surely be an uphill battle to have insurers confirm coverage under most standard insurance policies. Ultimately, a flurry of litigation and government intervention will determine how insurers deal with the losses that their insureds are suffering and will continue to experience stemming from this disaster.
Over the next few weeks and months (maybe years), as these claims unfold, insurers will be faced with the task of interpreting policies and informing their insureds how coverage will or won’t respond. In the meantime, there are some things a business can do to preserve their position with potential COVID-19 claims.
Most businesses in the United States have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the illness spreads far and wide, many businesses have had to comply with local and federal "stay at home" orders, as well as orders to cease all non-essential construction work, causing delays, and disruption across the construction industry.
During every national emergency situation, there are always scammers who look to capitalize on people during times of distress. Scammers have already begun to take advantage of the current state of emergency due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Similar to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, phishing scams have begun to plague our inboxes. Coronavirus phishing scams may come in the form of a statement or request from someone impersonating a Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), or similar agency official. They may even use domain names similar to those of the CDC and WHO.
An effective risk management strategy always comes down to preparedness. The recent closings and business disruptions due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the spread of novel coronavirus, once again, demonstrate the importance of companies having a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan (BCP). If your business is one of many that cannot simply close doors and expect to be able to re-open after the pandemic dies down,having such plan in place will insure that you can maintain the essential functions of your business during a major disruption.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning about the potentially dangerous, rapidly spreading coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. According to the WHO the public must be “alert but not anxious”. Information is changing by the hour as doctors and officials evaluate how dangerous this outbreak is, and race against the clock to stop it. For those of you who would like the latest information from the WHO, you can visit their website and view the daily Situation Reports.