Phil Wildman from GG Insurance answers the most frequently asked questions regarding Coronavirus and how insurance can respond to help your business.
I am considering asking my staff to return to work, if they subsequently get ill and sue the company, could this be covered by insurance?
This is unfortunately a common concern for many business owners, not just in the Games Industry.
Common sense would be to avoid putting one’s business and staff in this situation in the first place and to continue to work from home wherever possible. However, if working from home is simply not feasible, then a business owner may need to make some difficult decisions.
If someone were to become ill after returning to work, although it may be suggested the company was to blame – it would in fact be almost impossible to prove someone caught it there specifically.
However, this has not yet been tested in court and a lawsuit may well find in favour of the employee.
It is at this point that Employers Liability insurance may respond.
Employers Liability insurance is a legal requirement in the UK for any business with employees, and each company must maintain a minimum of GBP 5mil of cover. If you are a business in the UK you should therefore already have this cover in place (if you do not already have this cover, please get in touch and we will get you signed up).
It is common in many other countries to have similar mandated insurance requirements. In the USA for example Workers Compensation is a legal requirement and all employers are required to have insurance to cover payments for medical costs resulting from occupational injuries and some occupational illnesses suffered by workers plus a partial replacement of injured or ill workers' lost wages.
Directors & Officers insurance may also come into play. As a business owner if you were sued directly (rather than the company) for an alleged wrongful act in your capacity as director, having insurance here would protect you as an individual. Whether you should consider taking out this cover depends on your relationship with your staff and if you think they would hold you personally responsible.
My business has lost money as a result of the virus and/or lockdown, can I claim this back on my insurance?
You will need to have Business Interruption insurance in place and will have needed to have had it in place before the virus became widespread.
Depending on your cover, you may be able to claim for lost earnings and/or other associated costs you have incurred due to Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown (such as buying extra equipment to enable working from home) – also known as Additional Increased Cost of Working.
Unfortunately for businesses, many insurers have been caught out by this situation and are denying claims on technicalities. One major UK insurer is currently under heavy fire from angry policyholders who have been denied claims.
This emphasises the need to choose your insurer carefully when taking out any policy, as the coverage and quality of service can vary widely from provider to provider.
An event I was due to attend has been cancelled, can I claim back the flights/hotels/tickets/other costs?
This would normally fall under Business Travel Insurance. You would have needed to have had the policy in place and have booked the trip before the virus became widespread.
Whether you are covered would then depend on whether there is a Pandemic Exclusion in your policy, and how specific the wording surrounding this is.
Coverage varies from provider to provider and some will be easier to claim from than others.
The same logic will also apply to any holidays you had planned if you have normal Travel Insurance in place. Some Business Travel policies also cover personal trips, so it is worth checking with your company as you might be covered under their corporate policy.
An event I was organising/exhibiting at has been cancelled, can I claim back my costs?
You would need to have Event Insurance in place to get these costs back. Unfortunately, following past incidents such as SARS and BirdFlu, insurers now exclude pandemics by default. It would therefore be unlikely that you would be covered for these costs unless you or your broker asked for the cover to be added back in, or you are lucky enough to have this still included.
Many large events have been caught out by this and have had to foot the bill themselves. South by Southwest being one notable example who had Event Insurance but were not covered for pandemics.
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GG Insurance Services are specialist providers who pride themselves on passion and understanding of the Games Industry. They take a proactive approach to risk as the industry rapidly changes. They believe that when buying insurance, it is crucial that your provider understand the games industry to ensure you have appropriate cover that can truly protect your business. For more information: email@example.com.
All members of UKIE are eligible to receive 5% off their insurance costs if they buy our package for UK GamesIndustry clients.