Le Blogue - la sécurité d'être bien assuré!

COVID-19 – Scope of Coverage of Commercial Insurance Policies

Lussier Dale Parizeau | March 24, 2020
In this period of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are answering some questions about the scope of policy coverage for claims arising from COVID19 and/or a possible order from a government/civil authority to restrict access to insured premises.

1. Do Property Insurance and Business Interruption/Business Interruption Insurance cover a COVID-19 outbreak on my premises?

Property insurance and Business Interruption insurance are triggered in the event of physical damage to the property insured under the policy. In the absence of insured physical damage, Business Interruption coverage is not triggered.

Although contamination by COVID-19 may render your property unusable for a period of time, it is unlikely to cause physical damage to insured property. Therefore, an outbreak of COVID-19 would generally not be covered by property or business interruption insurance.

Note that some policies contain extensions of coverage that may apply in the absence of physical damage to the insured property.

2. If someone were to contract COVID-19 on my premises or in the course of my regular operations, does General Liability Insurance cover me?

Yes, general liability insurance may provide coverage, as the definition of bodily injury in the policy includes “sickness” or “disease”. Coverage would be triggered if a third parties allege that they contracted COVID-19 on your premises or as a result of your operations. The commercial general liability policy also contains coverage for personal injury and advertising injury, which could provide some protection in the event that a third party alleges public defamation as a result of contracting the virus on your premises or as a result of your operations.

3. In a Pollution/Environmental Impairment Liability policy, is COVID-19 considered to be a pollutant?

Infectious diseases, such as bacteria and viruses, are not included in the standard definition of a pollution/environmental impairment liability policy and therefore coverage will not apply.

4. In the event that our financial performance or allegations of mismanagement are called into question due to COVID-19, does Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance provide coverage?

If an action is brought against a director or officer of your company, whether due to actual or alleged negligence/mismanagement in implementing business continuity plans, supply chain complications, general lack of preparedness associated with the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance coverage would be triggered

It is important to note that this information is of a general nature and that in analyzing the admissibility of claims, we cannot act as substitutes for the insurer.

The situation is evolving rapidly and we will share any new information as it becomes available.

Despite these uncertain times, our commitment to advise and support our clients remains. We understand the impact this situation can have on you and your loved ones.

In order to ensure that we serve you well, while protecting the well-being of our employees, we have adopted certain exceptional measures.

To this end, we have decided to close public access in our branches, but we are maintaining remote service. We invite you to communicate with us by phone, by email or through our website. Rest assured that we remain accessible despite the possible overloading of the telephone networks due to the current situation. You can reach us at the following number: 1 855 587-7437 or by clicking on the following link: LussierDaleParizeau.ca/en/

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