I have just renewed my annual insurance for my business. My brokers have told me that I am not covered in the event of a COVID-19 Claim.
Labour’s Brendan Howlin said businesses will not be able to reopen if they cannot avail of COVID-19 insurance. This affects some businesses more than others, particularly hotels. If a guest contracts Covid-19 there is a fear that the hotel will be held liable. But we may all be held liable if an employee contracts Covid-19 in the workplace.
Mr. Howlin went on to say ‘’they cannot take the risk for being liable for their employees or their customers becoming victims of Covid-19 if they are not insured against it. We must have a solution to that, some sort of indemnity or insurability’’
How do we protect our businesses and will the insurance companies step up?
Firstly, I believe that it will be near impossible for an individual to prove where they contracted Covid-19. As the country moves to open up, and with the accelerated opening of Phase 3 last Monday, June 29th, more people are on the move economically and socially.
Secondly, traditionally, customers, guests and employees could not and have not taken a claim if the contracted the flu at their place of work or as a guest in a hotel. Will Covid-19 be treated in the same way? Should it be treated in the same way?
It seems insurance companies will not cover a claim against contracted Covid-19. As businesses we cannot depend on this outcome. The government and regulators may push for an indemnity for businesses against Covid-19, but that at this stage is only speculation.
So what can we do? As businesses we can protect against the risk of a Covid-19 claim by insuring we are complaint with all protocols and guidelines. This means ensuring we have Pre-Return to Work Form for all our employees, we have a designated Covid-19 Worker Representative, we have a process in place for contact tracing, we have trained and inducted all our staff and employees on hand hygiene. We are confident that all our employees and staff are familiar with the symptoms of Covid-19 and are instructed to self-isolated if they suspect they have come into contact with a Covid-19 infected person. It is most important that we record and hold safe all this information. Non-compliance in these areas will leave us vulnerable. For now being compliant and doing all that is reasonably practicable is all we can do.