The impact of the coronavirus on China has been severe, with restrictions being imposed on travel and exports having a mounting knock-on effect on the country’s economy.
Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak appears to have originated, handles nearly 1.5million containers every year and supplies lots of raw materials for industry and, as China is one of the world’s major exporters, business in the UK may begin to see delays in imports if things progress.
Currently, ports are not announcing changes to their shipping schedules but if the situation worsens then there is an increased risk of delays and potentially even port closures which could have a ripple effect that will affect FSB members and their businesses.
As is the case with most additional considerations, the answer lies in your policy wording. Standard policies may not include any protection if your business suffers due to an outbreak of disease, regardless of circumstance.
Firstly, you need to check your policy, or confer with your broker to see if you have Business Interruption cover in your commercial insurance policy. Business Interruption insurance covers the income that you lose after a disaster, and often comes up when discussing terrorism cover (for example, after the London Bridge attack, local businesses that were forced to close for a period of time would have been able to claim for revenue lost under this clause).
Once you have confirmed that you have Business Interruption cover, you will need to check whether you have an extension for “notifiable diseases”. Sometimes this clause will list diseases that are not covered, which would usually mean coronavirus is covered as it’s a new disease and may not have been listed as an exemption. If the policy wording lists specified diseases covered, then you will need to ensure that coronavirus is mentioned by name in the clause. If it isn’t you may be able to ask for it to be added by your insurer, but they are within their rights to refuse, or to ask for an increased premium.
If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your insurance with an advisor, please feel free to call our team on 020 3883 7976. Our lines are open Monday-Friday 9am-5.30pm excluding bank holidays.
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