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Research and Briefings

Policy coverage concerns


Published 19th March 2020

With the coronavirus outbreak now declared as a pandemic, many policyholders are unclear about whether their current insurance policy will cover COVID-19 losses.

While it is important to review your policy in its entirety to determine the coverage available for the effects of the coronavirus, below we summarise the key points to note within your Property Damage/Business Interruption, Public Liability/CGL, Workers Compensation and Travel policies.

Property Damage and Business Interruption

In Australia, in order for coverage to be triggered in policies, it requires that the infection, disease or virus is “present” at the location or upon the premises insured. This means policyholders must be certain of their policy requirements and that they have adequate documentation from authorities.

Commercial General Liability

Generally, Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies may respond to pandemicre events if the insured has been negligent in, or found legally liable for, failing to protect other persons/third parties from infection.

A CGL policy does not routinely include an infectious disease exclusion, however, the policy should be reviewed to ensure any deviation from this norm, particularly the more bespoke and manuscript wordings. 

Workers’ Compensation

This is another avenue where coverage could be afforded for losses arising as a result of the virus. In order to be covered, it must be determined that any exposure occurred in the workplace, which may be difficult to verify. Documentation of any infectious event, or exposure at work, would be required to ensure that the employee receives medical care and compensation through your Workers’ Compensation policy.


Many insurers classified the coronavirus outbreak as a “known event” between
21-31 January 2020, in line with the WHO’s declaration of the coronavirus as a “global health emergency”.

In general, travel insurance is designed for “unforeseen events” which are outside your control, which the coronavirus no longer is.

Australian travellers are encouraged to check their travel insurance in the wake of coronavirus, as their policy may not provide cover for any claims or costs associated with the virus.

For more information

For more information please read the full report or reach out to your broker who can advise on your specific policy response.

This website contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire a product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from Marsh on request.