COVID-19 will be registered as a notifiable disease in the UK to help businesses in making insurance claims.
“We want to ensure any steps taken to protect the public during the COVID-19 outbreak are proportionate and do not come at an unnecessary social or economic cost,” a BBC report cited the Department of Health and Social Care as stating.
“To mitigate the impact on businesses, we will register COVID-19 as a notifiable disease. This will help companies seek compensation through their insurance policies in the event of any cancellations they may have to make as a result of the spread of the virus.”
According to data published by the department on March 04, there are now 85 confirmed cases in the country. Nearly 17,000 people have been tested.
Commenting on the coverage trigger, a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) noted: “Commercial insurance policies provide cover against a wide range of risks, that can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses, including extensions to cover. Businesses who are concerned about this should check the scope of their cover, and speak to their insurance adviser or broker.
“It may be possible to buy consequential business interruption cover for notifiable diseases as an extension to a business insurance policy, subject to any policy terms and conditions. Standard business insurance policies are designed and priced to cover standard risks, not those that are very unlikely, such as the effects of COVID-19.”
The ABI added that, under Solvency II, all UK insurers are capitalised to withstand severe events like a pandemic, which the current outbreak still technically isn’t.
Meanwhile it was announced that the statutory sick pay for those affected by the coronavirus who need to self-isolate will be made available from day one.
“I can today (March 04) announce that the Health Secretary will bring forward, as part of our emergency legislation measures, to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the very first day you are sick instead of four days under the current rules,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told members of Parliament in an update.
“No-one should be penalised for doing the right thing.”
Separately, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it is working closely with the financial services sector to ensure an effective response to the outbreak. All firms are expected by the FCA to have contingency plans in place to deal with major events.