While we are all experiencing a great deal of change and uncertainty right now as we navigate the coronavirus outbreak as a country and community, one thing that will remain constant is WalkerHughes commitment to providing the highest level of service achievable. We communicated our remote servicing as we first started employing those capabilities and are pleased to report our staff is doing well and adjusting to their remote accommodations. With insurance being deemed an “essential service” by the government this last week, we are open and available to service your insurance needs, but our team is practicing social distancing and completing all service remotely. The health and safety of our employees and customers continues to remain our top priority. Until we can resume walk-in service in our communities, we are available via phone or email for all your insurance needs; information on our local office phone and email addresses can be found by visiting our Locations page.
We have received in influx of questions regarding potential claims as businesses are being asked to limit, alter or close for a period. The two most common areas of question include:
Workers Compensation: Any potential claim must arise out of the worker’s employment and be in the course and scope of employment when exposed to the virus. When and where exposure to the virus occurred will be a key determination and very difficult to pinpoint. Historically speaking, viruses, flu and similar outbreaks were not considered compensable by workers compensation coverage.
Business Income: The suspension of operations must be caused by direct physical loss or a damage to property at the premises described in the declarations. Traditionally, Business Income claims are “triggered” by physical damage to the business facility such as fire, lightning, vandalism, etc.
With those definitions in mind, it is important to remember that:
- Each potential loss will have its own specific set of facts and circumstances which makes it difficult to speculate on hypothetical coverage scenarios.
- The continually changing nature of this situation makes it imperative that any potential claims be reported to either your agent or directly to the appropriate claims department for a complete review and determination of coverage.
- This is uncharted territory for insurance companies too. They are actively reviewing their policy forms and whether they can be interpreted to offer coverage in each situation. In addition, from both a federal and state level, regulations and recommendations are being offered that could affect how these forms should or have to be interpreted and seems to be changing almost daily.
The best advice we can provide continues to be to document everything. Lost income, cancelled orders, delays or cancellations from suppliers, who was infected and their timeline, when employees were sent home, if pay was continued etc. Information is key and the more you keep track of, the more beneficial that will be whether filing an insurance claim, tax relief or the developing government assistance programs at both the state and federal levels.
As always, we thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you and your business and please know you, your families, and companies are in our continued thoughts during this time. Stay safe and remember, we are in this together!