From the Front Lines: 2020 Smart Choice Magazine Issue III

by: Oliver Travieso, Vice President of Commercial Lines

The first half of 2020 has been interesting, to say the least. We are facing unprecedented times as we try to manage our work and personal lives from home – working remotely, participating in zoom meetings, juggling school schedules and workloads, while doing our best to continue the roles and responsibilities of our own jobs. This has proven a challenge that most of us couldn’t have imagined. However, we are all doing the best we can, and I have personally witnessed our company and our agency partners persevere through these difficult times, despite the many challenges thrown at us.

Throughout this time, I have fielded some very unique and challenging questions surrounding this pandemic and how it relates, or translates, to claims. It is a topic on the mind of every agent and consumer alike. The most consistent question I receive, has been whether there is coverage for business interruption due to pandemics, and the answer has consistently been: “Coverage is not triggered” and “Communicable Diseases are not triggers” on a business owners policy. 

This wording is specifically located in a common BOP policy under the “Exclusions,” section. However I have kept my messaging consistent with those agency partners of ours that I have spoken to. If you believe coverage is triggered for any line of business due to this pandemic, you should err on the side of caution, and contact the carrier this policy is written through and submit the claim regardless. This is the directive from our partner markets, and we believe it is a sound one. 

While this news may not be the most satisfactory answer, our Commercial carriers have done some incredible things for both our agents and small businesses across the country, such as gift card programs, premium forgiveness, billing leniencies, interest free installments, cancellation moratoriums, agency loan programs, and more. 

Please make sure you remain updated on some of the programs that your carrier appointments have to offer, as this situation is fluid and continues to change with each passing week. Our carrier partners also have excellent information and resources with regards to applying the appropriate risk control measures to help your insureds reopen in a safe way. Please make sure to reach out to your local carrier reps for that information and use them as a resource for knowledge.