Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as Covid-19.
Businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to terms and conditions of their policy).
On 5 March 2020, the UK Government added Covid-19 to its list of notifiable diseases. Many insurers use diseases on this list as triggers for the activation or exclusion of insurance cover.
Insurance policies that cover notifiable diseases will typically only cover a specific subset of notifiable diseases such as Cholera and may exclude future/unknown diseases such as Covid-19.
Unspecified notifiable diseases:
Some businesses will have purchased add-ons to their insurance that cover ‘unspecified notifiable diseases’. These policies effectively cover any disease listed as a notifiable disease, enabling the business to claim for losses of all notifiable diseases as well as from diseases that are unknown at the point the policy is written.
The effect of the government adding Covid-19 to its list of notifiable diseases is to ensure that businesses with unspecified notifiable disease cover are able to make a claim – subject to terms and conditions of their policy. For example, someone infected with Covid-19 may need to have been on the premises.
Government Ordered Closures:
The government asked a number of different businesses and venues to remain closed from 21 March onwards. Insurers have agreed that this advice is sufficient for businesses covered for Covid-19 losses to make a claim.
However, most businesses commercial insurance policies are unlikely to offer cover for Covid-19.
Businesses with event cancellation policies that include unspecified notifiable disease extensions should be able to make a claim for the necessary and unavoidable cancellation, abandonment, curtailment, postponement and disruption of their event for reasons beyond the control of organisers or participants (subject to the other terms and exclusions of their policy).
HOW CAN IT BE ACCESSED?
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.