PLASA Members’ Area

7 Covid-19 tips from our insurance provider

Whilst the Covid-19 situation is evidently a rapidly evolving situation, our insurance service provider Yutree Insurance has put together the following advice notes on how the insurance market is responding to the situation, where cover will potentially respond or not and the impact of the virus on insurance cover moving forward.

Of course, specific advice is very difficult as each members insurances will differ and best advice is to contact your insurance broker for clarity on your own policies:

1. Coronavirus and travel insurance

The outbreak of Coronavirus is a rapidly developing situation and we would strongly advise anyone travelling to look at the guidance issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office which is updated on a regular basis. For a list of countries currently affected and information and advice about the implications for those who have returned from those areas click here.

2. People currently in an affected area

From a travel insurance perspective, we expect that consumers who had purchased travel insurance and travelled before the FCO issued its advice on the respective areas listed above will be covered under the terms of their policy if they travelled there before the original advice was issued. If the travel insurance includes medical expenses, treatment costs for travellers who become unwell while overseas should be covered up to the limit in the policy subject to the terms and conditions stated in the policy. Most travel insurers offer a 24-hour emergency medical advice hotline and travellers who feel they might have been affected by these outbreaks are encouraged to call them for help.

3. People with trips planned

For consumers and companies who had purchased travel insurance before the FCO published advice against traveling to the regions above and had booked travel that included visiting or passing through the areas on lock down, we would expect that they will be covered for any irrecoverable unused travel and accommodation costs if they are forced to cancel their trip and any necessary extra travel costs if they have to cut their trip short, or rearrange the journey.

For people intending to travel to any of the affected areas since the FCO advice was given who have not yet bought a travel insurance policy or who bought it after the FCO advice was given, insurers are now excluding cover since the FCO is advising against travel. This is a standard response.

4. Concerns about travel

Concerned consumers or companies who booked their trip via a tour operator or travel agent or using a credit card should contact them to see if they can get a refund or have their trip re-arranged. All travel policies are different so we would advise members to read their policies carefully to see exactly what their policy covers and what they can claim for. If the policy was purchased via Yutree, please contact us for specific help and advice.

5. Commercial insurance cover

Under commercial property and liability insurance policies, any losses arising from the virus would most likely relate to interruption to the members business rather than actual material damage (fire, flood, storm etc) which is the usual trigger for business interruption cover.

Covid-19 is a viral disease. As such, the general view would be that it will not cause physical damage and the majority of commercial UK policies will offer little if any cover. Some policies will contain a non-damage Denial of Access clause which typically covers losses arising from “an incident during the period of insurance which results in a denial of access or hinderance in access to the insured premises imposed by any civil or statutory authority or by order of the government or any public authority”. There is usually a geographical limit such as the incident having to be within one mile of the insured premises, plus often a time trigger such as the denial must be for more than 24 hours. There may be cover under this is extension but this has yet to be tested in the UK.

Some policies also offer business interruption cover for notifiable diseases and set out a list of specific notifiable diseases that are covered. Covid-19 is not normally among these, which is not surprising as it was unknown until recently. Therefore, there would be no cover under such wordings. However, some covers are written on a non specified basis, covering “any human infectious or contagious disease which is notifiable to the local authority manifested by any person whilst on the Premise”. Under this form of wording, as Covid-19 is now a notifiable disease, business interruption losses arising as a direct result of the disease affecting the business may potentially offer some cover.

6. Event cancellation and Film/TV productions

If you are an event organiser, exhibitor, TV production company or similar, the policy protecting you for loss of costs and expenses as a result of cancellation, abandonment or postponement may include an extension for losses arising from a communicable disease. However, since the outbreak in China, all insurers in this sector have added specific exclusions in respect of Covid-19 meaning that any losses linked to the virus will not be covered. For those support industries providing lighting, sound, AV, staging etc for events and filming, there is also unfortunately no cover for the financial loss arising from cancelled projects.

Our advice at this stage is to review contracts for ongoing/future projects and where possible to incorporate contractual clauses which may help to limit the financial impact in the event Covid-19 causes an event or shoot to be cancelled, rescheduled or relocated. Consideration also needs to include the potential travel insurance issues for any planned overseas shoots and events, including the very real potential of key staff being placed in quarantine for a period of time.

7. Yutree staff

In respect of our Yutree staff, none have visited any of the high risk areas and all are fully aware of the Government and NHS recommendations. On this basis we will continue to undertake essential client visits unless the Government imposes restrictions in this regard. However, please let us know if any of your staff have recently visited any of the high risk areas, believe they have come into close contact with someone who has done so or if any of your staff are currently in self-isolation in connection with Covid-19.

We do recognise that you will be taking your own measures to protect your staff and if you would prefer us not to visit, and instead undertake the work for you remotely, please do let us know. We have a robust Business Continuity Plan in place and 100% of our staff are able to work remotely should the need arise.

For further information contact Simon Miller at Yutree Insurance on 01638 675993 or