How Could Ebola Affect NY Business Insurance?

As fears of an Ebola pandemic sweeps across the United States, many in the NY business insurance industry have been trying to figure out the impact that Ebola could have on the insurance industry itself. With only a few isolated Ebola cases in the US, it is too early to tell how it may affect insurance coverage and pricing.

Ebola-virus-pinkHowever, there is no doubt that many different types of NY business insurance coverages could come into play, such as business interruption insurance, workers’ compensation, life insurance and the obvious, health care.

According to AIR Worldwide, it is believed that the insurance companies that could be most impacted are those smaller niche insurance firms whose insurance pool may have a disproportionate impact relative to their competition or the larger insurance market. In simple terms, it would be unlikely that the larger insurance companies would be significantly impacted.

Let’s take a look at workers’ compensation, which would probably be the number one line of insurance affected by Ebola claims. A claimant would have to prove that Ebola was contracted on-the-job, which seems like a far reach unless the employee is in the healthcare industry and around the Ebola virus.

Business interruption losses are most likely to occur in mining, agricultural, energy, chocolate and travel sectors that have a strong presence in the affected West African countries, according to AIR. However, business interruption coverage typically needs to be triggered by physical damage to a location, so only time will tell if these types of claims will be paid.

Will health insurance cover ebola care? Insurers are likely going to cover the costs under emergency and/or inpatient care coverage. Ebola care is pricey, with estimates ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 per day, according to several health care analysts and experts who spoke to TIME magazine.

Zurich-based ACE Ltd. , a leading global property-and-casualty insurer, has begun selectively excluding Ebola from its liability coverage “on a case-by-case basis” for U.S. customers “that have foreign travel exposure to certain African countries. Insurance-industry participants said ACE appears to be the first major insurer to go on record flagging its concerns about the financial exposure it could face if Ebola infections spread widely outside the African countries where the problem is now concentrated.

The Ebola pandemic is certainly highlighting the need for businesses of all sizes and of all industries to make sure that emergency preparedness and business interruption plans are in place. If your company needs help with these types of plans and/or NY business insurance, please contact a member of our risk advisory team.

Live Secure 365,

Ryan Murray, VP

Risk Consultant

Photo credit to: http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_32/586866/140727-ebola-jms-2109_f8eada30a725d312b7c5791a8f9fd5e8.jpg