COVID-19 & Policy Wordings/Cover

It is understood that business interruption cover is designed to support the Insured in the aftermath of damage to insured property as a result of an insured event. This is the ‘material damage proviso’ and, naturally, in respect of the current event there is no damage to property.

A minority of policies do provide for ‘non damage’ extensions to the business interruption cover. These ‘add-ons’ do not require there to be any damage to insured property. Where they can be shown to be operative, they typically have inner limits – in other words, the full policy cover (sum insured) very often does not apply. This information will usually be found on the schedule or within the policy booklet that accompanied the policy.

We have tracked the results of our in-house analysis and we can see that the majority policies that we have reviewed do not provide any cover for infectious/notifiable disease.

Of those that do, most have provided cover on the basis of a list of diseases – but as COVID-19 is not listed on those policies, the Underwriters’ position will be that there is no cover.

Likewise, the policies typically demand that the closure will have to have arisen as a result of the occurrence of the disease at the premises. It is for the Policyholder to be able to offer proof of such an occurrence; the Underwriter will not make any assumptions.

As the COVID-19 crisis has developed in the past weeks, we have had the opportunity to scrutinise in excess of one thousand policy schedules and wordings. We are acutely aware that behind every piece of paper, there is a business – and livelihoods – at stake. These policy reviews require care and attention and it will take time in order to determine exactly where policy cover might exist, if at all.

We are resourced and ready to work through the challenges that this crisis has created. Please do not hesitate to contact our Head Office on 1890 29 39 49 or by email: info@owensmccarthy.com and we will arrange for one of our expert Advocates to make contact with you and explore the options for your claim. Likewise, please do not hesitate to contact our Business Development Director, Eamonn Downey on 087 284 6431 or by email: eamonn@owensmccarthy.com

Eamonn Downey – Business Development Director

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