Saying that these are unprecedented times is an understatement given the disruption to business owners, employees and customers. As a business owner, you must adapt or face the consequences for not abiding by the ever-changing guidelines. The CDC, state and/or county government, and OSHA all have a say in how your business needs to protect customers, visitors and employees. The coronavirus pandemic, rightfully so, is a major concern for all businesses.
While COVID-19 complicates the equation, the insurance industry, like any other business, has other factors to consider and challenges to remain profitable. Insurers have recently endured large property claims for wildfires and storms and there have been increasingly larger jury verdicts stemming from lawsuits in defending an insured client. This results in a harder commercial insurance underwriting market with less appetite for certain classes of business, tightening coverage restrictions and increasing rates or premium. Most commercial insurance lines are being affected to some degree. The hardest hit are auto fleets, cyber risk, employment practices liability, professional liability, large property and umbrella/excess liability.
As for commercial general liability, you need to beware of added exclusions. Many insurance carriers are applying a communicable disease exclusion (ISO Form) CG2132 0509. Although this exclusion does not name a particular virus, coronavirus would be excluded should this endorsement be included on your policy. Any liability claim or suit seeking damages for bodily injury or property damage stemming from a third party claimant against the business would be denied, and thus no defense coverage. It is unlikely that Congress will pass any immunity from liability that your business or employees may cause to a third party. The only possible exception could be for healthcare professionals.
So, what can you do to protect your business moving forward during this unprecedented time? Here are some suggestions:
- Start your insurance renewal process 90 to 120 days prior to expiration.
- Review current policy exclusions and find out what additional exclusions will be applied at renewal.
- Get a projected budget from your agent and review mid-term as to what he/she forecasts for the next renewal cycle.
- If you are uncomfortable with your current insurance carrier, agency or both, obtain recommendations and interview other options. Prioritizing proper communication and service expectations of your agent/broker is critical for your business.
- Utilize your agent’s resources such as loss control and OSHA guidance, regular claims analysis and reviews. Now, more than ever, human resource consulting is critical and some insurance agencies, like Univest, can be a big help with compliance and other employee-related issues.
To have a conversation about how Univest Insurance can help your business control its risk, navigate the renewal process and create a tailored business insurance strategy, contact us today at 800-220-3077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Insurance products offered through Univest Insurance, LLC, a licensed insurance agency affiliate of Univest Financial Corporation, are obligations of and underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies. They are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States and are not deposits of or guaranteed by any bank.