Malpractice Insurance. Business Insurance. Benefits.

COVID-19 FAQ's

We have spoken with many carriers and the information surrounding the Corona Virus (COVID-19) continues to evolve.  The information provided here is not an interpretation of what is covered on your specific policy and is not binding.  We strongly suggest that you call Desert Mountain Insurance or your carrier to verify the specifics of your policy coverage. To read anwers to the below questions, simply click the question to expand the answer.

Browse our list of resources at our COVID-19 Resource Links page.

1) If I close my business down, is the business interruption covered by my policy?

If you have Business Interruption coverage, it likely won’t respond in this situation because this coverage is typically triggered by a property loss. However, things are constantly evolving on the policy interpretation, and we do not know if there will be government intervention regarding insurance coverage. 

This is the official response from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Arizona, dated 03/18/2020:

The news on all networks have been filled with information on the now declared pandemic of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. It is possible on your commercial property insurance to extend coverage to include coverage for loss of business income due to a closure of your business caused by a covered peril. A communicable disease like the Coronavirus may not be a covered peril, but you should not allow that assumption to keep you from taking action.

First, it is critically important to report all claims and potential claims to EACH AND EVERY CARRIER whose policy might apply to your loss. This includes CGL, Personal lines, Umbrella, Excess, Workers Compensation, Specialty, and any other policy you may have.

Second, you need to determine whether you purchased business income coverage. If you don’t find the coverage in your policy description, be sure to call our office at (480) 348-2200

Third, if your business closes due to the Coronavirus, it is important to know (again) that communicable diseases typically are not a covered peril that would give rise to insurance benefits for loss of income. It doesn’t matter if the loss of income is just from a downturn of business due to the loss of many customers or the actual closure of your business. However, you should still report all claims and potential claims.

 

Please be sure to contact our agency if you have any questions.

2) What about coverage for civil authority?

This applies to physical damage like business income: Coverage is triggered when access to the insured’s premises is prohibited by the actions of a civil authority due to damage to property within one mile of the insured’s premises. The damage must be by a Covered Cause of Loss. The action must be in response to dangerous physical conditions resulting from the damage or to enable a civil authority to have unimpeded access to the damaged property. (Professional Insurance Agents)

3) Does my normal health insurance cover it?

Typically, standard health insurance policies do not exclude specific health conditions.  Copays and deductibles may apply.  Government and health insurance companies are working to waive some of these costs.   Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 for specific details about your policy.  

4) Is it covered as a disability?

This is a complicated issue.  We are receiving varying answers from different carriers.

Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 for details on your policy.  

5) What if my employee gets it? Is that covered by workers’ comp if there is a chance the employee caught it at the office or from a patient?

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits to employees who become injured, or who become sick due to an occupational disease.  Typically, occupational diseases are defined as industry-specific illnesses, such as black lung disease or asbestosis.  Typical public illnesses, such as influenza and other viruses, would not be considered occupational diseases.  An exception to that could be healthcare workers, who could be directly exposed to these viruses in the course of their work, especially in the early stages of an outbreak.  If an employee were to become sick due directly to exposure to a patient, and it could be clearly established that the cause of their illness was due solely to their work, then it could fall within the scope of coverage.  Beyond the case of healthcare workers, it is unlikely that a virus outbreak would be considered an occupational disease.  Any claim, of course, would be evaluated based on the facts of the specific situation.  (CNA)

 

 Please contact our office at (480) 348-2200 if you have any questions.  

6) I want to go to a telemedicine model temporarily or add telemedicine to my practice. Is that automatically covered?

Many policies will extend coverage as long as the provider is licensed in the state.  Federal and state telemedicine-related licensure requirements are evolving rapidly during this crisis, and it is important for providers to be aware of their own licensure circumstances and requirements for practicing in other states. Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can assist you. 

7) I am a retired physician and want to help. Can I volunteer or go into a part-time practice without jeopardizing my existing tail coverage?

Several carriers have indicated that they will allow this.  Please contact our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can help you find a part-time policy

8) What if my patient says they contracted the virus from our office?

It’s possible the insured could have coverage, provided the policy doesn’t have a communicable disease exclusion.   Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can help you file a claim.   (Professional Independent Agents)

9) Does my policy cover me for deep-cleaning my office if it becomes contaminated?

Most settled case law has decided contamination is NOT considered physical damage, but there are a few cases where the courts have sided with the insured.  Please contact our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can help you file a claim for a final answer.

10) How can I lower my professional liability premium during COVID-19?

Some carriers are looking at various ways to lessen premiums.  Please call us and we can discuss the possibilities of your specific policy.

11) Can I suspend my professional liability policy temporarily if I’m not practicing?

Very likely, each carrier has different underwriting guidelines regarding suspending coverage. However, many carriers are becoming increasingly flexible during COVID-19.

12) Can I lower my specialty classification during COVID-19 if I am unable to practice in my specialty at this time?

Many carriers are allowing this. Please call us to discuss your specific situation.

13) Can I change from full-time to part-time during COVID-19?

If you are practicing less than 20 hours per week, it is possible that your insurance carrier will reduce your premium.