Coronavirus Policy Coverage Concerns
The recent outbreak of a pneumonia in Wuhan, China, involving a new or novel pathogen, the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), raises significant issues for businesses globally and in the region, and highlights risk, insurance, and related concerns regarding outbreaks and pandemics in general.
Health authorities have been coordinating with Chinese authorities, and global experts, to learn more about the virus, how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can be treated, and what countries, organizations, businesses and entities can do to respond. However, as the virus is a coronavirus, which usually cause respiratory illness, health authorities have generally counselled to utilize similar techniques for prevention of influenza-type respiratory infections to combat its spread.
From a risk management standpoint, hospitality, food and beverage, travel-related, educational, and transportation industries have the highest risk in regard to these incidents, in general. Specifically, these would include the following types of business entities:
- Theme parks and other entertainment establishments.
- Tourist related areas and/or attractions.
- Airports and other transportation hubs.
- Universities and other schools.
That being said, all businesses and commercial establishments (and, indeed, all persons) could, conceivably, be affected by any outbreak or pandemic particularly where a government or locality orders closures or suspends services and/or transport. Obviously, this highlights the need for robust crisis response and business continuity plans.
With respect to insurance, pandemic and other outbreaks raise significant issues with coverage under various forms. Accordingly, this advisory will discuss the risk response and coverage issues in-turn.