First, I would like you to know everyone here at Gillman Insurance and 3G Truckin’ Insurance is working safely from home…and thinking about you.
We already had remote capability prior to the outbreak so we are fully operational and here to help. If you did not read our prior messages about COVID-19, please take a moment to read here.
Over the past week or so we’ve received some additional information and guidance from insurance commissioners around the country and our insurance carriers. Here are a few important things we want you to know:
1. Most carriers are making payment accommodations. These adjustments may be a 30 to 60 day pause on amounts due or some other accommodation for cash flow relief. Many are also waiving late fees. If you’re interested in restructuring your payments, the best thing to do is make direct contact with your insurance company’s billing department. We do not have the authority to make changes to your billing but you can find your insurance company’s billing contact information on your billing statement, or on our website here, or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. We can assist to change your estimated payroll or revenue. Many policies have premiums based on annual Gross Revenue or Payroll. These policies are typically audited each year at the end of the policy period so you only pay premium based on your actual results. If your operations have stopped or if your revenue has declined by 50% or more, we would be happy to review your policies for potential changes now. If you have not experienced a major slowdown, we suggest waiting until May 1stto see how the government stimulus impacts you and to get a better idea of your own company’s results before making changes.
3. We can make changes to your coverage. We always try to give you good insurance advice and counsel regarding the coverages you need….in good times and bad. Any time you decrease or change coverage there could be negative impacts to your exposure to risk. That said, here are some examples of changes we have made for other business clients:
Vehicles – A client with a fleet was forced to place multiple vehicles in storage. We removed liability coverage from the stored vehicles since they weren’t being driven.
Property – A client with multiple warehouses is closing one location due to a slowdown in operations. We reduced this location down to minimum coverage levels until it is reopened. Another client with a warehouse operation is experiencing lower inventory levels as a result of decreased demand. We reduced the amount of property coverage until inventory levels come back.
4. Claims – Most insurance policies include a number of exclusions for the loss of revenue from a viral outbreak including the requirement for physical damage to property as a coverage trigger, virus exclusions, and pollutant/contaminant exclusions. After reviewing many policies and conferring with many insurance industry experts, there doesn’t seem to be policy language that would cover loss of revenue. That said, we are not authorized to make coverage determinations so the only way to know if coverage applies or not is to file a claim with your insurance company. While any claim is likely to get declined now, it is probably a prudent step to file a claim… but I want to be clear about expectations. Our view is even though the claim is likely to be declined there is always a chance legislatures and courts might intervene. If they were to address these exclusions (1) it could take a long time to sort out (2) they are not likely to cause the financial collapse of the insurance industry by overriding the exclusions on the policy. So, if you would like to file a claim for your lost revenue, you can find contact information for your insurance company here. If you need your policy number or other information to file your claim, please contact us at email@example.com.
5. Operate in a Prudent Manner – Many General Liability policies provide an exclusion for Bodily Injury to Others caused by a Virus, Contaminant, or Pollutant. If you operate your business and your facility, product, or employee spreads the virus to a customer, you probably do not have liability insurance protection for your customer’s injuries. To prove you liable they would of course, have to prove they contracted the virus from you. Please be careful if you are in a business delivering tangible products or direct services to customers. Follow the CDC guidelines closely.
Last week, several pieces of the recent Federal Stimulus package, the CARES Act, became available to small business owners. Much of this money is being disbursed as loans which can be forgiven, so it is largely free money. You should research the options to support your business here: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources. You should also contact your CPA and/or Banker for more information.
We’ve heard from many of you and would be happy to talk to anyone who needs help. Please call us at 678.297.7977 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Know you are in our thoughts during this unprecedented event, and we wish you, your employees and all your families to stay safe.