09 Feb Infectious Disease and Business Insurance
The health of the economy would be at stake if the United States were ever to fall victim to a pandemic. Predictions for a true H1N1 pandemic estimate that forty percent of the workforce would be absent and that the flow of goods and services would be significantly impacted. The insurance industry is vital to the survival of businesses in this scenario. Business insurance would help shield businesses from devastating financial loss during an outbreak of an infectious disease. The types of business insurance coverage that could protect against infectious disease pandemics are business interruption, worker’s compensation, directors and officers, and errors and omissions.
Business interruption is a standard component of a business property insurance policy. This type of coverage is designed to protect businesses against lost profits due to interruptions to their operations. Interruptions can include disease, communicable or infectious. Business interruption coverage is triggered when there is physical damage to the property. In the case of a pandemic, contamination is considered damage. Business interruption insurance would cover the cost of decontamination and sanitation of the premises.
A pandemic of any infectious disease would involve worker’s compensation. In this case, exposure to the cause of the pandemic while on the job would trigger the coverage. A doctor coming in contact with a sick patient and getting infected is an example this type of exposure. However, worker’s compensation can be triggered if an employee contracts the illness from a coworker who they are proven to work in proximity with.
Directors and officers policies are put in place to protect shareholders during a pandemic. These policies are there to protect those who might experience financial loss if an outbreak halts business operations. If a large number of employees fall ill and can’t work, then production will be hindered.
In the case of a hospital, an errors and omissions policy would be essential to have. This is also known as professional liability insurance. A policy like this covers damages that the facility must pay because of injury or death arising out of the failure to provide professional services.