While the vaccine rollout in Hong Kong is ongoing, COVID-19 still raises several liability concerns for customers or employees who may become sick due to alleged negligence by an organization.
For these types of concerns, it’s necessary to take the following insurance considerations into account:
– Commercial liability insurance— protects your business from financial loss should you be found liable for personal harm (like a customer getting sick) caused by your product or services, or due to business operations in the case of employees. This general liability insurance can cover costs correlated with bodily injuries, damage to third-party property, personal injuries, medical expenses, litigation and more.
In the time of COVID, commercial liability insurance should provide coverage and allow organizations to defend claims. For a claim to be valid, the claimant would have to claim that the virus was contracted due to the organization’s or business’ oversight and detail how, when and where they got sick—all of which may be difficult to prove.
– Directors and officers (D&O) insurance— Shareholders can sue a business in case there’s a failure to respond competently to COVID-19 concerns. Specifically, shareholders may dispute that Directors and Officers failed to plan for adequate contingency plans or detail how the pandemic could affect the company’s finances.
It should be noted that most D&O insurance excludes cover for bodily harm but may offer some protection depending on specific accusations. That said, it’s important for businesses to examine the scope of their D&O insurance to verify that they are covered in the event of such events.
EMPLOYEE’S COMPENSATION INSURANCE
In events when an employee makes a claim that they contracted COVID-19 at work, a number of employee compensation factors come into play. For workplace illnesses, most policies only pay out benefits if the disease in question is occupational in nature. This may imply that communicable diseases are generally excluded from most employee compensation policies.
However, a policy may be triggered if the illness came about during the course of employment. Generally, these scenarios are reviewed on a case-by-case basis but could include instances for:
> Healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 at the hospital where they work.
> An airline employee contracts COVID-19 from a passenger.
> A hospitality employee gets COVID-19 that can be linked to a large event at their place of work.
Poor insurance cover or the lack of any type of cover that specifically addresses your business’ liability with COVID will deter you from making meaningful recovery this year. Although there is some positive outlook on financial recovery in Asia, this should not be the time to loosen one’s sense of cautiousness.
Need to update your company’s liability insurance? Get in touch with us today.