The Bureau of Insurance for the Commonwealth of Virginia received confirmation from the Governor’s administration that insurance companies, agents, and other entities engaged in the business of insurance are considered “essential businesses” under the Governor’s Executive Order 53. However, all such entities must comply with social distancing and 10 people rule and RVCS remains in compliance in our homestate and all states we service. For more information regarding the Bureau of Insurance for the Commonwealth of Virginia, please visit http://scc.virginia.gov/boi/covid19.aspx.
Covid 19 Updates and Articles
Thank you to Allianz Global for this thoughtful analysis on the various lines of coverage and how claims have trended among those lines during the pandemic. We also get a glimpse into how companies might react in the future regarding their supply chain risk mitigation, what may become of their property assets and workers compensation/cyber risks. The article can be found here.
-Source, Insurance Thought Leadership, October 2020
Sometimes it takes a different perspective to help us consider our own actions when combatting this pandemic. Whether you agree with the analogy of war or not, I hope we can all agree that risk managment is worth pursuing considering the profession we are in. Here's an opinion piece on Risk Management with regards to wearing a mask.
The US courts have predominantly favored the Business Interuption Policy language in place with difficult decisions that do not consider Covid 19 or other Pandemics as a covered "direct physical loss" to a business. Here is the other side of the coin coming out of the high court, however, in the UK. Largely, the language contained within the "disease" and "denial of access" clauses allowed for interpretation. Here is a great example of a court's decision favoring the policyholder in this case, but also failing to judge liability at the behest of the insurer. No two policies are the same and there is plenty of room for interpretation.
Employer Liability, Officers and Directors, Workers Comp, insureres dealing in these lines are preparing for the wave of claims that are sure to follow this pandemic. It has always taken massive events to discover areas of coverage in policy language that can better suit the market whether that be more perils covered, more risk management tools to implement, or even appropriate levels of coverage. Whatever the case, Woodruff Sawyer has predicted the 4 types of Claims that are sure to follow.
Forensic Accountants may be behind the scenes, but they play a critical role in assisting attorneys, insurance companies, businesses, government, law enforcement, IT experts, and individual clients. Want to know better the role forensic accountants play? Start with this white paper provided by JS Held. Learn about their role as it pertains to the specific lines of insurance.
For those doing business in Virginia - there has been some movement in the House to introduce presumption laws involving workers compensation in light of Covid 19. Five thus far with more proposed. Information regarding the recently introduce House Bills can be found here.
With so many schools and other public places opening back up, peace of mind comes with asking visitors or attendees to sign waivers. The question does remain as to whether the waiver meets all of the legal requirements to truly protect that place of business or public space. Do the waivers:
-specifically state the intention of the parties
-contain language that is clear
-spell out the circumstances in which the customers must be able to understand the risks associated with the rights they are waiving associated with the service provided?
Here is a recent article from CLM Magazine that highlights when waivers work and when they don't.
If you are writing or handling claims in multiple states NU FC&S has a comprehensive resource available to reference each State Insurance Department's most current Covid-19 updates. Want to know about any ISO optional endorsements that provide business interruption coverage? Start here.
When it comes to the safety of employees, employers can never be too informed these days. Here is a thorough article on the preparation of workspace and the long reaching effects it will have on certain industries.
Here's another example of a lawsuit case coming out of Tampa with regards to Covid 19 Employer Liability. Employers are now steering two ships. The first is navigating through the re-opening of work spaces. The second will be defending against other potential lawsuits.
In the wake of the news about George Floyd's death, many events have since pushed insurance claims once again to the forefront of business owner's concerns that just happen to come in the middle of a pandemic of which business interruption claims have been in question. Here is a thoughtful and delicate educational piece by The National Law Review highlighting three issues with regards to business interruption claims in light of the vandalism and rioting taking place in some cities.
- Source, The National Law Review
"Quantine fatigue" we are all feeling it after this new normal for us approaches 4 months. The US is still mixed in cases of states continuing to increase as well as decrease. Here's the latest. With approximately 1,000 cases still being reported a day, our situation continues to remain all in all the same.
This months CLM couldn't have come any sooner to remind us field adjusters how to remain safe in the course of our inspections.
- Source, CLM, June 2020
Where does the trucking industry stand compared to their capacity before Covid 19? Geotab has several great charts showing the changes the industry has been through over the past several month including "Percent to Normal Activity Based on Truckload Type" and "Percent to Normal Activity Based on Building Type."
For the full report, VISIT HERE.
-Source, Geotab, 2020
With only a small threat of money sanctions in place by the courts to dissuade frivolous lawsuits, anyone can sue for anything at any time. An employer can be held liable for tortious claims (usually negligent) where an employee during the "scope of his/her employment" injures a patron. Here is a link to an old case back in Iowa that ruled in favor of the employer, but a good study on how easily a claim may be brought.
- Source, Iowa State University
Recently passed House Legislation is demanding a Temporary Emergency Standard to be adopted by OSHA in light of COVID 19. Click HERE to find out what is is advised of employers to avoid any Employer Liability Suits.
-Source, Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC
What is the difference between a "Governmental Act" and a "Proprietary Act?" How does Sovereign Immunity apply differently from state to state? Here is some helpful information regarding tort claims against, local, state and the federal government.
- Source, MATTHIESEN, WICKERT & LEHRER, S.C.
How do the new OSHA guidelines affect employers preparing to return their employees to the work force? What guidelines are already in place that you should be aware of? Do facemasks count as PPE?
These questions are answered and a Map for Returning to the Workforce are found here.
Source, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC.
“An Amazon Vice President Quit Over Firings of Employees Who Protested”
-The New York Times
“Corporate America seeks legal protection for when coronavirus lockdowns lift”
“If you get sick with COVID-19, is your employer liable? As businesses prepare to reopen, worker safety is a priority.”
These are a few national headlines this week. I’m sure your company is well aware of the conversations employers are having in the pursuit of legal immunity from employees claiming unsafe work conditions through exposure to Covid-19. The main question in these tort cases will be, “Did the employer take reasonable care to prevent exposure to the virus?”
Let’s face it, with only a small threat of money sanctions in place by the courts to dissuade frivolous lawsuits, anyone can sue for anything at any time. This means a cresting wave of litigation is on the horizon. Before litigation comes investigation and that is where we come in. If the employees of your client base file suit for negligence, our dedicated Liability Division is prepared to review the Employer Liability policy language, take recorded statements and follow your established pattern and process. They are conditioned to conduct the thorough, nonbiased investigations needed whenever a claim is submitted. We are here as an extension of your Liability team to field what may be larger than average claim volume.
Thank you for your continued partnership. Please let us know how we can help.
For a link to the Employment Law Alliance's presentation on Preparing the Workplace for Covid -19 and the latest OSHA Regulations, click here.