As the number of reported cases of the novel coronavirus continues to rise, employers are increasingly confronted with the possibility of an outbreak in the workplace.
Employers are obligated to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, but are also subject to a number of legal requirements protecting workers. For example, employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act in their approach to dealing with COVID19.
This Compliance Bulletin provides a summary of the compliance issues facing employers in this type of situation.
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We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please reach out to us.
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures. The leave provisions of the Act take effect no later than 15 days after it is signed by the president.
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We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please reach out to your Account Manager.
We are closely monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak and adapting Gulfshore Insurance’s operations and business to accommodate and respond to your needs. We are addressing the current situation and taking proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our teammates and their families, while providing uninterrupted support to our clients.
At this time, we have made the difficult decision to restrict visitors at our physical location. Although we truly enjoy meeting with our clients face to face, we are acting with our clients’ best interests in mind. Our utmost priority is to take all responsible action to help stop the virus spreading further and maintain the health of our clients and associates.
To that end, we would prefer that all visitors refrain from visiting our office for the time being, and we will be recommending that our associates refrain from attending any outside meetings as well. While we are disappointed we will not be able to see our clients in person for the moment, we remain committed to serving them and answering any questions they may have about their insurance.
In addition, many of our dedicated associates are now working from home per CDC guidelines. As such, all insurance processing will occur electronically for the foreseeable future. Our service teams are more than happy to speak with over the phone or via email about insurance needs.
We will continue to adapt and implement appropriate measures in line with the situation in our area. There is no mistaking the challenge of these unprecedented times; however, Gulfshore will continue to be here when you need us the most. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Although the health and safety of our community is our number one priority during the COVID-19 outbreak, there are many concerns surrounding the degree and duration of disruptions to business activity and daily life. Mandatory and voluntary quarantines, social distancing to groups of 10 or less, restricted travel, and business closures are increasing measures being taken around the United States. These disruptions primarily affect businesses as they begin to lose inventory, revenue, and profit. From mom and pop shops, to tourism hot spots, concert venues, and restaurants the impact will be felt by all. Not to mention that this rippling affect will then be felt by suppliers, contractors, vendors, and service providers.
For insureds and insurers, once-hypothetical questions surrounding COVID-19 are quickly turning to familiar and regular insurance coverage questions such as the availability, scope and limitations of coverage, number of occurrences, exclusions, along with limits, sub-limits, deductibles and retentions. The claims that come out of COVID-19 will also provoke unique question and present their own set of challenges.
First-Party Business Interruption Coverage
First-party policies covering commercial property insurance provide coverage for business income loss by adding an endorsement to the insured’s property policy. This endorsement is designed to protect the insured for losses of business income it sustains as a result of direct loss, damage, or destruction to insured property by a covered peril. Although many such clauses are in use today, a typical business income insurance clause reads as follows:
“We will pay for the actual loss of business income you sustain due to the necessary suspension of your ‘operations’ during the period of ‘restoration.’ The suspension must be caused by the direct physical loss, damage, or destruction to property. The loss or damage must be caused by or result from a covered cause of loss.”
Physical Loss or Damage Requirement
BI coverage is often part of the commercial property policy a business holds. This form adds coverage, in certain instances, for lost business income, contingent business interruption losses, and losses due to certain action taken by civil authorities.
To obtain coverage resulting from the current COVID-19 crisis, the existence of the virus would need to constitute a Covered Cause of Loss, which results in physical loss of or damage to the covered property. This is unlike a fire, hurricane, or flood, which are common causes of losses that cause visible damage to property. As mentioned earlier, businesses are closing, even though there may be no apparent damage at all. But, if the coronavirus is found within the confines of a workplace or business, this arguably constitutes damage to the property, albeit at a microscopic level that cannot be seen.
Duration of Lost Income Claim
Each policy is unique with different definitions and measurements relevant to the period of restoration. Complications can also arise where an insured opts not to resume business operations. However, business interruption typically includes coverage for repair or replacement of property impacted, in addition to loss of business income through the date the damaged property is repaired or replaced.
Calculation and Adjustment of Accepted Claims
Unfortunately, insureds bear the burden of substantiating claimed BI losses. When a claim is being reported, it’s important for the insured to detail and retain documentation for all business activity, direct or indirect cause of any disruptions, and mitigation efforts. It’s also important to note that insureds should be able to value and substantiate losses by referencing business history, benchmarks, and forecasts.
If you have BI coverage on your policy and find yourself needing to temporarily close your doors, we recommend you file the claim with your insurance company. If you are usure if you have this coverage, I am more than happy to review your policy. At Gulfshore Insurance, we specialize in insurance and risk management for the restaurant industry and can answer any questions you may have.
Olivia Ferencsik, is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Olivia works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at email@example.com
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) recently announced changes effective April 1, 2020. These changes include:
- Premiums will increase an average of 9.9%.
- The Reserve Fund Assessment will increase to 18% and the Severe Repetitive Loss premium will increase to 10%.
- Primary Residence Determination – when the property address and mailing address match, no additional documentation will be required before issuing the policy as the primary residence.
- Non-Residential Flood-proofing Credit – FEMA has updated the process and outlined documents needed prior to submission.
- V-Zone Risk Rating Factor Form – FEMA is discontinuing use of this form.
Below is a breakdown of the premium increase by Flood Zone:
Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) – Premiums will increase 12.5%
Pre-FIRM Subsidized Policies – SFHA Zones (A, A1-30, AE, AH, AO, AR, AR/A, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, V1-30, VE)
- Primary Residences +7.5%
- Non-Primary Residences +23.1%
- Substantially Improved +23.8%
- Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) Properties +24%
- Non-Residential Business +24.2%
Other Subsidized Policies
- A99 & AR Zones – Premiums will increase 4.2%
Post-FIRM V Zones
Post-FIRM A Zones
- A1-30 AE +4.1%
- AH, AHB, AO, AOB +2.7%
- Unnumbered A Zones +5.1%
- Standard Rated X zones +3.8%