With the world facing unprecedented challenges everyday, we at Lowe Tillson, hope that you and your family are staying healthy and safe.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has created significant individual health and safety, risk management, and insurance coverage concerns.
If COVID-19 causes or results in damage to an insured’s business, coverage will depend on the specific facts of the claim and the specific policy language. This summary of COVID-19 issues is intended for information purposes only. All coverage decisions require an analysis of the claim’s unique facts against the specific terms of the policy. All COVID-19-related claim submissions must follow the normal process and any position stated herein should not be read as a determination of coverage on a particular claim.
FIRST PARTY PROPERTY CLAIMS:
Most questions about first-party coverage will relate to Business Interruption including lost profits and extra expenses incurred from impaired operations or expenses incurred to maintain continuity. These interruptions may stem from situations such as: (a) a forced business shutdown (b) the inability of the insured or its vendors to fulfill contracts (b) loss of products due to contamination or spoilage, (d) quarantine orders or travel bans that effect employees or the delivery of goods, products, or services.
No coverage is likely for these claims because there has been no damage to property or bodily injuries to trigger coverage.
THIRD PARTY CLAIMS:
Third-party claims may arise from the alleged negligence of an insured for failure to protect against, warn of, or respond to the infection of an employee, student, or client, or from contamination of the premises or work site by COVID-19.
Any claim, however, must fit within the Insuring Agreement of a non-excluded claim to pay covered damages the insured is legally obligated to pay because of Bodily Injury or Property Damage caused by an Occurrence that takes place in the Coverage Territory during the Policy Period, as those terms are defined in the policy and endorsements. The insured also must comply with all other policy terms and conditions.
WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS:
Workers compensation claims are fact-dependent and state-dependent. Generally, to be compensable under a worker’s compensation policy, an illness or disease must be “occupational” and arise from or be caused by conditions in the course and scope of employment. Ordinary diseases of life, such as the common cold and the flu, typically are not considered occupational and are not ordinarily compensable under workers compensation policies. Accordingly, we expect that most COVID-19-related claims will not be considered compensable under workers compensation laws.
In limited special cases where the course and scope of work expose the worker to these illnesses, such as medical professionals and first responders, it is possible that the claim would be considered a compensable claim. The employee, however, still must prove that the illness arose out of the scope of their employment and was caused by the conditions particular to their work. Claims of this type require careful review of the specific facts and state law and regulation.
Below is a list of links that will take you to various relief programs, both for Maryland & the Federal Government.