Concerned about a Business Interruption loss from Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

By Robert Romar, Director of Property & Casualty Department | Posted: March 11, 2020

Insurance is all about risk transfer where the risk of loss is transferred from your business to insurance. Unfortunately, currently, there are minimal options to transfer the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to insurance. If you review your policy, you might see wording like:

Exclusion of Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria
“This endorsement makes an explicit statement regarding a risk that is not covered under your Commercial Property insurance. It points out that there is no coverage under such insurance for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease. The exclusion in this endorsement applies to all coverages provided by your Commercial Property insurance, including (if an) property damage and business income coverages.

Recently the ISO (Insurance Servicing Office) released two optional endorsements that can be used to provide limited Business Interruption coverage for businesses affected by Coronavirus. These endorsements only relate to civil authority business interruption losses (i.e. government denies access to your business property). These endorsements are not widely in use currently so stay tuned and we will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Since the risk most likely isn’t transferred to insurance, we recommend avoidance of this exposure. To better protect your company, we recommend following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for Prevention & Treatment of this virus:

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
      For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.


There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on persons under investigation.


If you have suffered a loss that you believe should be covered through insurance, discuss the situation with your insurance broker and have the claim filed with your insurance company as there may be some coverage available to you.

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