With Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acting fast to lock down the country, the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been relatively well contained. So much so that there is currently some discussion around loosening some of the restrictions that have affected businesses.
Regardless of what happens next, most businesses have been disrupted by COVID-19 to some extent. While some have had to close their doors altogether, others are continuing to operate in different ways, such as with staff members working from home offices.
These changes could mean you need to re-examine your existing insurance policies to ensure you’re adequately covered. While it’s highly unlikely that your policy will cover you specifically for COVID-19 related business interruptions, your existing insurance policies won’t be rendered void by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Insurance brokers are here to help
If your business experiences an incident that is covered under your current policies, then you can still make a claim. For example, if your business is vandalised, equipment is stolen, or there is a fire, then you can still look to lodge a claim as you normally would.
In this heightened environment, it’s more important than ever to work with an insurance broker to ensure your claim stands the best chance of being approved and paid. Insurance companies are likely to be bombarded with worried business owners looking for protection from their COVID-19 losses. It’s important to ensure your claim is presented well with all the supporting information, which will make it more likely to be settled faster with your insurer. Your insurance broker can help.
While maintaining social distancing, it’s still possible to work with your broker to manage insurance claims. All NZbrokers members have activated their business continuity plans, so they’re ready and available to assist.
Managing the risk
If you’re not sure how COVID-19 may affect your insurance coverage, your best course of action is to speak with your insurance broker straight away. They will be able to help you understand what you’re covered for and what is excluded under the current conditions.
Your insurance broker will also be able to talk you through how to manage the risk facing your business during this challenging time.
If your business is classified as ‘essential’ and is, therefore, still operating, there are lots of things you can do to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. This includes following all government advice around sanitation and hygiene, as well as physical distancing.
Furthermore, you should:
- ensure any workers who may have had contact with someone with or suspected of having COVID-19 stays home and self-isolates for at least 14 days
- require staff members who have recently returned from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days
- consider updating HR policies around self-isolation requirements
- encourage staff to work from home where possible
- communicate honestly and authentically with employees about what’s required of them and how the business is operating during this time and check in regularly to ensure they’re coping with the changes.
Where to next
As the threat of COVID-19 starts to recede and businesses open back up again, there’s every chance your organisation will operate differently than it did before. It’s important to reassess your business for new or different risks to ensure your insurance policy offers adequate coverage for your unique situation. Your broker may even be able to help you understand how to mitigate these risks in different ways without having to change your existing policies.
Furthermore, the current conditions could provide an opportunity to move into new markets or offer new products, diversifying risk and positioning your business to compete effectively when operations return to normal.
Talk to your insurance broker about how any business changes may affect your insurance policies to ensure you remain fully covered during this time. And, if you think you may need to make a claim, speak with your broker sooner rather than later.
To find an experienced broker in your area, contact NZbrokers today.