As the U.S. prepares for growing cases of coronavirus, there are ways businesses can plan now to address a variety of work-related implications.
Marsh & McLennan Agency has put together a landing page of resources from its parent company, Marsh, that businesses can use to learn more about the outbreak and ways to respond.
You can find it here.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health crises like this,” said Daniel Kaniewski, managing director within Marsh & McLennan’s Public Sector Innovation group, and a former Bush and Trump administration official.
He warned businesses not to count on government assistance; instead, risk professionals and others should consider impacts to people and operations and seek to proactively manage them on their own.
Businesses Need to Act Now
Dr. Lorna Friedman, global health leader within Mercer’s Multinational Client Group, outlined some actions that businesses should be taking now. These include:
- Focusing on good communication to counter fear and stigma and relying on established and credible sources of information, such as the WHO and CDC.
- Reinforcing good infection control basics, including proper hand washing.
- Encouraging employees to stay home if they’re feeling ill.
- Allowing flexible work from home arrangements where possible.
- Broadcasting telemedicine options to employees.
Businesses should think beyond their employees, but also focus on visitors and guests, said James Crask, Global Resilience advisory lead within Marsh Risk Consulting. Businesses should give special attention to supply chains, including checking in with critical suppliers and looking deeper into the potential effects on their suppliers’ own supply chains, while also ensuring they properly understand contractual liabilities. This is also the time to review business continuity plans.
Although traditional property and casualty policies are likely to provide relatively limited coverage for outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, some forms of coverage — including workers’ compensation, property, and business interruption policies — could respond if specific conditions are met, said Chris Lang, Marsh’s global placement leader for the U.S. and Canada. Marsh is also working to develop new products that can respond to future events.
Paul McVey, Marsh’s property claims leader for the U.S., outlined the potential coverage triggers and emphasized the need for businesses to measure the financial impact of COVID-19, even in cases where they do not have insurance coverage.
Marsh also held a webcast last week that can be replayed here.