Covid-19 The Coronavirus

Covid - 19 The Coronavirus

This is an attempt to clarify in a general sense the position on insurance, as we see it, at the beginning of March.  The government claim to have made it easier to recover costs under insurance policies by declaring the infection to be a “notifiable disease”, which is possibly a bit of buck passing.

There are two main areas of concern being interruption to business operations and travel problems.

Business Insurance

The problem will be from business closures and or absence of staff.  Business interruption cover will usually provide an extension of cover in respect of disease, but unless your policy wording is very old, when it may include all notifiable diseases, more modern cover will only be in respect of specified diseases. These are generally listed as;

acute encephalitis, acute poliomyelitis, anthrax, chicken pox, cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, legionellosis, legionnaires disease, leprosy, leptospirosis, malaria, measles, meningococcal infection, mumps, opthalmia neonatorum, paratyphoid fever, plague, rabies, rubella, scarlet fever,  smallpox, tetanus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, viral hepatitis, whooping cough and yellow fever.

As the current illness is described as a type of flu it is not included in the specified illness cover and it seems unlikely that it will be in future.

Travel Insurance

Where travel is cancelled as the airline cancels the flight, the costs for the flights will be refundable by the airline and any other lost deposits would generally be picked up by the travel policy. If you, a travelling companion, close business partner or relative become ill, again cancellation would be covered. 

If the Foreign Office or WHO (World Health Organisation) prohibit travel, again costs you have incurred would normally be covered.

Other than those situations there is no cover, but insurers are being sympathetic. We have a case where an elderly couple were going to Italy but cancelled as their hotel was very close to an infected area.  Whilst not strictly covered, the insurer dealt with the cancellation claim as they said this was a lot less than the costs they could have incurred if the clients had travelled and then became ill.  This is a one off and all cases would be considered on their merits.

Looking Ahead

Although we hope this illness does not become a pandemic, and a vaccine can soon be found, we do feel that the media has whipped up a bit of a storm over this.  At the time of writing the new coronavirus has unfortunately led to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide. However, to put this in perspective, WHO says an estimated 5,000,000 people contract flu annually, with as many as 650,000 dying. This is around 75,000 deaths between 22nd February and 4th March, compared with 3,310 people dying from Covid-19 in the same period.

Should we be looking at the news and social media, or possibly paying more attention to Corporal Jones?


If you would like to talk to us about this is or any existing cover, call us on 01494 450 450. Or email us at insure@jbennett.co.uk

Useful websites

World Health Organisation


UK Government website

NHS website