Filed Under:Risk Management, Corporate Risk

Concerned about the Zika virus? Here's what you need to know

Health workers spray insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Brazil's health minister says the country will mobilize some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus linked to birth defects. (Photo: Leo Correa/AP Photo)
Health workers spray insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Brazil's health minister says the country will mobilize some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus linked to birth defects. (Photo: Leo Correa/AP Photo)

The widening spread of the Zika virus in Brazil and elsewhere has raised concerns globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced an emergency meeting in Geneva on Monday to address this potential pandemic.

The Zika virus is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes and appears to hold the most potential danger for pregnant women, although its effects are still being studied. WHO officials estimate that three to four million people could become infected over the next 12 months.

Organizations in a number of industries — including hospitality, real estate, sports, entertainment, and airlines — may face direct exposures if people begin canceling travel plans or if employees become infected. Some major airlines and cruise lines have begun offering refunds to passengers with tickets to affected areas. And many organizations are looking ahead to potential impacts of the virus on the Summer Olympics set to take place in Brazil.

Risk and insurance implications


Property insurance
: If the WHO or civil authorities impose travel restrictions, insurance recovery under property policies may be limited. Most civil authority coverage within business interruption property policies requires a covered or non-excluded peril and physical damage most likely to trigger coverage. However, some hospitality and gaming companies or others in related industries have a version of this coverage for “loss of attraction” with notifiable disease as one of the triggers.

Workers’ compensation: Domestic workers’ compensation and foreign voluntary workers’ compensation (FVWC) coverage may also be triggered if a worker were to contract the Zika virus while on assignment outside of the United States. Some insurers, however, have recently attempted to add exclusions to FVWC policies to limit infectious disease exposures.

As to the above and other potential insurance issues, organizations should confer with their insurance advisors to understand policy specifics.

Companies should also review their business continuity and pandemic plans. They should:

    • Review applicable insurance coverages.
    • Inform traveling employees of the risks and preventative measures.
    • Consider changes to sick leave policies for employees in operations in affected countries.
    • Ensure essential functions are covered if employees are out sick.
    • Account for employee medical evacuation.
    • Closely track claims and expenses related to worker absences and business interruption.

Additionally, organizations in the hospitality, gaming, tourism, or travel businesses in particular should review their public relations policies and customer/guest cancellation policies to avoid potential reputational issues.

Editor's note: This article first appeared on Marsh.com and is reprinted here with permission. Click here for the original post.

Have you given us a Like on Facebook?

Featured Video

Most Recent Videos

Video Library ››

Top Story

6 things to know about white collar crime

Small businesses with less than 150 employees are 10 times more likely to be victimized by fraud than those companies with 250-500 employees.

Top Story

10 tips for lifting safely on the job

Musculoskeletal injuries result in pain, disability and financial stress for injured workers, and employers end up paying for them either directly or through workers' compensation.

More Resources

Comments

eNewsletter Sign Up

PropertyCasualty360 Daily eNews

Get P&C insurance news to stay ahead of the competition in one concise format - FREE. Sign Up Now!

Mobile Phone

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.