COVID-19 Claims Processing Considerations
By Adriana Tonelli | Published March 30, 2020
Over the past couple of weeks, the claims team has seen the impact of the coronavirus on almost all business sectors we support. We understand a number of you are facing a substantial financial impact and are looking for ways to recoup, or at least minimize, your financial losses. Our intent is to provide you as much guidance as we can, but we must also let you know this is a very fluid and developing situation with respect to coverage. Following are considerations as you navigate claims pertaining to this situation.
Due to the high volume of questions we have been receiving regarding coronavirus exposures, we are asking you to reach out to your account team with any general questions on policies or coverage relating specifically to the coronavirus. This ensures your questions will be addressed in a timely matter, while allowing the claims team to remain available to report and respond to claims.
1. COVERAGE REVIEWS & ANALYSIS
As with any potential claim, the facts, circumstances, and policy language must be carefully reviewed in order to provide any specific advice on how the policy may or may not respond. Each circumstance must be reviewed on its own merit and coverage decisions ultimately lie with the carrier.
In most circumstances, the claims team can review the facts, circumstances and policy language and provide you with our opinion regarding how the carrier will respond. However, for coronavirus related matters, outside factors may ultimately affect the carriers’ positions on coverage.
For example, some states and members of the U.S. House are attempting to help certain small businesses secure coverage for business interruption claims through legislation.
At this time, we have no simple answers regarding coverage. Please reach out to Newfront to assist you in making the best possible decision on whether to notice any coronavirus related losses to your carrier.
2. NOTICING YOUR CARRIER
The decision to notice your insurance carrier can be complicated, and ultimately it is a business decision for you to make. While we can provide you with guidance and opinions on the matter, carriers will ultimately make the coverage determination. At this time, we are advising all clients to document lost revenue and income arising from any coronavirus related situation. This will help to quantify any loss and may make your decision on noticing easier.
We are also proactively reaching out to coverage attorneys for their thoughts and suggestions for our insureds. Renee Callantine from Cornerstone Law in San Francisco advised the following:
“Although the current climate is one of hunkering down and waiting, policyholders should wait to enlist the help of insurance coverage counsel once they determine business has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus. Coverage can vary greatly depending upon the policy language, and thus it is crucial to understand your coverage and how to correctly present your claim. Moreover, it is easier to access and track your losses with a clear understanding of how the coverage works.”
If you are ready to place a carrier on notice, please reach out to your Newfront claims team for assistance.
Adriana is a Claims and Contracts Specialist and leads the P&;C Claims Team at Newfront. In addition to extensive experience in the handling of property & casualty claims, she also has experience and expertise in contract management, contractual risk transfer, corporate financing, and employee benefits.