COPIC FSG Coronavirus Information

COPIC FSG Coronavirus Information

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We want you to know that we have taken steps to make sure we continue to be available to assist you as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are working remotely to help reduce the spread of the virus and to also protect the health of our staff, we are fully operational and available.

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COPIC FSG represents multiple carriers and each policy will have different policy provisions. The information below is provided for general information purposes only. If you feel you have a covered loss, the claims adjuster assigned by the carrier that issued your policy will be the authorized person to answer specific claims questions. 

We want you to know that we have taken steps to make sure we continue to be available to assist you as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are working remotely to help reduce the spread of the virus and to protect the health of our staff, we are fully operational and available.

Thank you for choosing COPIC FSG to assist you with your insurance needs. Please reach out to us to review and discuss any coverage questions or concerns you have.  

COPIC FSG CONTACT BY COVERAGE AREA:
     Business Retirement Plan Services: 
          Brad Radochonski, 720.858.6279 or bradochonski@copic.com
     Group Benefits (includes Health, Dental, and Vision Benefits): 
          John Kaufman, 720.858.6287 or jkaufman@copic.com
     Individual Life & Disability Insurance, CDA Benefits, Investment & Retirement Strategies: 
          Jeff Feakes, 720.858.6285 or jfeakes@copic.com
     Property and Casualty Insurance (includes Cyber Liability and Employment Practices Liability):
          Mitch Laycock, 720.858.6297 or mitchl@copic.com
 
How to Minimize Business Owner’s Risk in a Re-opening 
There are currently five states (Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming) that have passed legislation to protect businesses from the liability of employees and customers contracting COVID-19 by virtue of interaction with a business. The conversation is underway in Congress whether to include business immunity for COVID-19 in the next federal stimulus package. Currently, Colorado does not offer this immunity to businesses. How can you mitigate this risk? You need to protect employees and customers in equal measure. 

Here are five basic recommendations:
1. At a minimum, follow the guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and Governor’s Office websites regarding the protection of workers and customers. Your national professional organization (American Medical Association, American Dental Association, American Hospital Association, etc.) are excellent resources. Your liability increases as you deviate from these established standards.

2. It’s important to develop a thorough cleaning protocol, and document who, what, and when the workplace is sanitized. Never overpromise on your cleaning routine. Businesses that advertise one level of cleaning and deliver an inferior level expose the businesses to significant liability. 

3. Decide what your safety program includes and consistently execute it. Variability and inconsistency open the door to lawsuits. Do your workers and customers wear masks, practice six feet social distancing, undergo temperature scanning, sign liability waivers, and answer health questionnaires? What is your written policy for employees who test positive for the coronavirus? When are they allowed to return to the office? If you don’t have a written policy in place, prepare one.

4. Make practicing safety easy for staff and customers. Provide all necessary protective equipment. If there are areas where customers may congregate, mark off six feet distances, arrange furniture with the proper spacing, provide hand sanitation stations, and provide masks to anyone who doesn’t bring their own.  

5. Continually monitor the emotional health and well-being of your staff. Reintegrating into the workplace is different for each worker. Many employees will have some level of apprehension. Will they contract the coronavirus and bring it back to their families?  Will they survive the economic downturn?  Are they struggling with childcare? The more you focus on the emotional health of your staff, the more they are able to focus on rebuilding the business, safely and effectively. 

Additional Resources:
How Do I Keep My Employees Safe in the Workplace - Travelers Insurance
https://www.travelers.com/resources/business/covid-19/reopening-guide/reopen/how-to-keep-employees-safe

Reopening Resources for Outpatient Healthcare - The Hartford
https://www.thehartford.com/coronavirus/business-industries

Helping Employees Reintegrate at Work - Travelers Insurance
https://www.travelers.com/iw-documents/business-insurance/20-CLAIM-81151-Risk_Control_Whitepaper_M-18550_COVID_(NS)_200515(REV3)_EC.pdf

Face Off: Businesses’ Legal Considerations When Requiring Face Coverings - Polsinelli Law Firm
https://www.covid19.polsinelli.com/blog/face-off-businesses-legal-considerations-when-requiring-face-coverings

EEOC Updates Guidance to Prohibit Antibody Testing (to determine when an employee may return to work) - Polsinelli Law Firm
https://www.covid19.polsinelli.com/blog/eeoc-updates-guidance-to-prohibit-antibody-testing 

COVERAGE OVERVIEW
We have had many calls from concerned insureds regarding insurance coverage that may apply in this COVID-19 situation.  

While the majority, if not all, policies exclude coverage for losses that are associated with a virus-caused pandemic, due to the uncertainty of any actions or waivers that may be put in place during the pandemic, we are advising all clients who are experiencing a loss of business income or who are unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, to notify your carrier of a potential covered loss.

Business Owner’s Policy – Most business owner’s policies include coverage for loss of income. To trigger a loss of income claim under most policies, there has to be a sudden and accidental physical-covered cause of loss as defined in the policy. Unfortunately, viruses are excluded as a covered cause of loss, so there would be no coverage available under a business owner’s policy. Some policies also include coverage for civil authority that would apply if a government agency stepped in and closed off access to your building, however, the closure has to be the result of a covered cause of loss (usually fire, wind, hail, etc.) and a pandemic is not a covered cause. 

Workers’ Compensation coverage – This is still being debated by our insurance carriers regarding coverage. A claimant would have to be able to prove that they received the COVID-19 virus at/through work and not any other sources. Generally, there are two areas examined before any illness or disease, including the coronavirus, qualifies as occupational and thus compensable under workers' compensation: 
The illness or disease must be occupational, meaning that it arose out of and was in the course and scope of the employment; and
The illness or disease must arise out of or be caused by conditions specific to the work.

The evaluation of these two areas and whether coverage will apply is determined by the carrier that provides the policy.  As the coronavirus becomes more widespread in communities, we anticipate that the discussion will focus on determining whether people who test positive acquired the virus in the workplace setting.  

Business Overhead Insurance – This policy is designed to step in if the owner/physician/dentist is unable to work due to an injury or illness. There may be coverage, however, there is also generally a waiting period of 60–90 days prior to coverage being available after the onset of the injury or illness to apply. 

Short-Term Disability Insurance – This policy is designed to pay if you are injured/sick and cannot work for a period of time. There is a waiting period that can range from 0–15 days or more before coverage applies.

Group Benefits – We are receiving many questions regarding the laying off, furloughing or rehiring of employees and how this will affect the employees’ benefits. Most of the medical insurance providers (and life and disability carriers) have “relaxed” their active at work policies for the short term. What this means is that employees can be furloughed or laid off (even file for unemployment in most instances) yet still keep their group coverage in place. The only thing that needs to remain constant is the employer continues to pay its monthly premiums. Since the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing, please contact FSG or your group benefits agent for information regarding your specific policy.