Insurance and Protection Policy Response To COVID-19
Public Liability and Property Protection
At the end of January 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared to be a notifiable disease under the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth) or the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth).
Business Interruption cover (or Consequential Loss) are designed to provide cover as a result of a closure of the business by a public authority for a number of risks including infectious disease. This was designed to cover events such as an outbreak of Legionnaires disease at the actual location of the business.
However, the protection is not designed to cover disruption caused by an outbreak of a disease originating from another location (locally or overseas). In addition, there is an exclusion in the protection which excludes cover for any disease which is notifiable under the Quarantine Act (or the Biosecurity Act) – of which the COVID-19 virus is.
As such, unfortunately there is no protection if you need to cancel an event, are unable to run your normal programs or unable to access your regular place of worship.
We are currently navigating unchartered waters in this space. From time to time infectious diseases develop into epidemic or pandemics and create increased risks for the community.
Organisations are seeking to develop policies and procedures which seek to help manage their risk and communicate their strategies and actions to their members and community. Moores Legal in conjunction with Our Community.com.au have provided the following link to an Epidemic/Pandemic policy template which you are free to download and use to develop your own organisations policy.
Following the World Health Organisations (WHO) declaration on 11 March 2020 that characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic and warned travellers of the importance of preventing the transmission of the disease, travel insurers Australia wide are treating this as an official warning that safe travel overseas is compromised. Most insurers are now calling on all travellers to restrict all non-essential overseas travel until the situation improves.
Corporate Travel Insurance
This situation impacts two key areas of a Corporate Travel Policy – Loss of Deposits and Additional Expenses and Medical/Medical Evacuation Expenses.
Loss of Deposits is determined by whether the COVID-19 risk could have been foreseen at the time of booking.
Medical Expenses is determined by government and other official warnings (WHO) at the time of commencing a trip and when entering a particular country or region.
Given that WHO have characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic, the risks of international travel have increased significantly. The recommendation is that as international travel is now high risk, clients should not travel overseas.
Should you still choose to travel overseas, to a country that is subject to a DFAT 4 – Do Not Travel warning, then no cover is able to be provided, regardless of when your travel was booked.
If your trip was booked prior to the 30 January 2020 and becomes subject to a DFAT 4 – Do Not Travel warning, you may be eligible to make a claim for loss of deposits. You will need to check with your specific provider.
As the possibility of disruption/delay/cancellation of any arrangements is no longer “unforeseen” or “unforeseeable”, it is highly likely that most travel insurers will not be able to provide cover for any claim brought about due to “unforeseen” or “unforeseeable” circumstances where the loss is directly or indirectly cause by COVID-19.
We acknowledge that there are many churches, ministries and schools who may have their own internal travel guidelines based upon their own perceived needs and wants, however unfortunately, travel insurance policies only respond to the actual preclusion of travel (e.g. DFAT 4 – Do Not Travel warnings), and not the fear of travel itself.
The ability for any travel policy to respond to potential claims will depend upon the specific policy you have purchased. Therefore, if you have any specific travel insurance queries in relation to cover, or a potential claim, we would encourage you to contact your insurance provider direct to discuss your options.
Many airlines are seeking to provide their customers with options of flight credits for deferred travel or flexible options for changes to bookings. We would encourage to you contact your airline or travel agency direct to explore these options for your organisations travel arrangements.
Leisure Travel Policies
Most leisure travel policies contain a general exclusion in the event of an actual or likely threat of a pandemic or epidemic. Please check directly with your insurer if you have a question in relation to a Leisure Travel insurance product.
For further information with respect to the Coronavirus
ACS Financial recommends the following two websites for factual information:
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
- World Health Organisation (WHO):
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website reflect some of the commercial aspects and potential risks/obligations for your Church, Business or School.
The information is given as a guide only and does not represent a definitive list or legal view in any way shape or form.
You are advised to seek your own professional advice on all your individual needs.
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