COVID-19, better known as Coronavirus, has everyone’s attention. It’s changed behavior around the world, and now it’s here. Business owners already feel it. Their customers’ routines are completely disrupted. No more non-essential shopping, eating at restaurants or going to shows. No going out for drinks or coffee. Instead, they’re stockpiling supplies, staying home, washing, disinfecting and keeping their distance.
COVID-19 is causing turmoil for businesses large and small. Inventory control and staffing are all messed up. Marketing and sales are on hold as clients and prospects are otherwise occupied.
What if Your Business Suffers due to Coronavirus?
Many businesses feel threatened.
- What if fear causes my customers to stay home?
- What if I can’t get inventory or supplies?
- What if my employees get sick and can’t work?
- What if I have to disinfect or close my workplace?
- What if the government restricts movement in my area?
- What if economic fear or market changes cause me to lose sales?
Do My Policies Cover Business Interruption?
Unfortunately, business insurance is very unlikely to cover you against lost business due to Coronavirus. Even if you purchased business interruption coverage, almost every policy excludes damage caused by communicable diseases.
If Not, Why Not?
You probably don’t care about the reason behind the exclusion, but there is one. Put simply, diseases are too uncertain for insurers to accurately price insurance to cover them.
Viruses are extremely rare – or even unknown – until they’re widespread. And it’s hard to quantify a resulting drop in business. Profits and sales are subject to changing factors: weather, competition, consumer preferences. It’s very hard to put a dollar value on lost sales directly caused by a public health threat.
Resources for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19
The US Small Business Association (SBA) has pledged to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits severely harmed by the Coronavirus.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. The goal is to help small businesses overcome a temporary loss of revenue. These are loans, not grants. They must be repaid.
The CDC interim guide for businesses offers help to keep your employees and customers safe.
The Maine CDC Coronavirus information page is a good resource for Maine businesses and citizens. It contains factual and timely information about the disease and its effect on our state.
We’re Here to Help our Neighbors
We are a local business. We live and work in Greater Portland. While insurance may not be able to help our clients directly, we still want to be accessible. We want to help where and how we can.
Even if we must close or restrict access to our office, you can still reach us by phone, email or our website. Our insurance company partners also continue serving customers while keeping their employees safe.
Public health scares and economic uncertainty create anxiety. Most business owners feel responsible for the safety of their employees and customers, as well as their loved ones. We hope that all or our clients, friends and business partners remain safe and calm during these trying times. We’re here to answer your insurance questions.
In this anxious season, check on family and friends. Be kind to each other. Together, we can make it through.