The unprecedented situation we are facing with COVID-19 is causing a great deal of uncertainty and stress for business owners.  If your business is not providing an essential service you may have had to close down completely for the time being, or you may be operating at reduced capacity from home.  Even essential service businesses are working in new and unusual circumstances. 

Business owners should check their insurance policies, to see if there is any cover available to them due to the COVID-19 situation.

There are various types of insurance that may be relevant at this time:

  • Key person insurance: A core staff member may become unwell with COVID-19 and be unable to work, which could have serious consequences for the business.  Key person insurance offsets the financial loss of losing a key person, including costs associated with staff replacement and training.

  • Income protection insurance: Some or all employees may have income protection insurance (sometimes provided by the employer) which replaces lost income if the employee is unable to work due to illness or injury.

  • Debt protection insurance: This allows a company to repay debt to its shareholders or release personal guarantees in the event of a serious illness, injury, or death, so that the business can move forward. 

  • Shareholder protection insurance: Funds provided so remaining shareholders can purchase the shares of a shareholder who unexpectedly exists a business due to serious illness, injury, or death, using shareholder protection insurance.  The remaining shareholders keep control of the business while providing the departed shareholder’s family or estate with funds.

  • Business interruption insurance: The financial impact of the disruption your business is experiencing may be covered by business interruption insurance (sometimes known as business continuity insurance. 

It is important to note that many policies have specific exclusions which do not allow cover for notifiable diseases, so COVID-19 may be excluded. 

Talk with your insurer or insurance broker to find out exactly what insurance cover is provided by the insurances you have.

If in doubt, it pays to seek advice from a professional experienced in this area.



Louisa Gommans
Senior Solicitor
Wellington


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