As we head into spring with the hope that sooner rather than later, we’ll be back in the BGES bus exploring the battlefields, we must consider the legal and insurance guidance that is being applied to Covid. We were curious what our liability would be if we resumed programs using vans or buses or if we have individuals driving to sites and practicing social distancing with masks.
We have been in touch with Jason Ball, our insurance broker, and asked him the big question: If BGES is following all protocols and someone is infected, is BGES negligent? Here’s his response.
I don’t know the answer. Months ago, there was discussion about immunity for businesses and nonprofits, and maybe there will be legislation at some point in the future. On the bright side, Selective Insurance does not attach a virus or communicable disease exclusion to the majority of their policies. I have confirmed your current policy does not have these exclusions. Will they be added in the future? Possibly, because I don’t believe the industry intended to cover a virus like Covid-19. (The policy renews on 6/1/2021 and we will know in advance if an exclusion will be attached to the renewal.) Below is a statement from Selective to agents regarding third party claims:
THIRD PARTY CLAIMS:
Third-party claims may arise from the alleged negligence of an insured for failure to protect against, warn of, or respond to the infection of an employee, student, or client, or from contamination of the premises by Covid-19.
Selective typically does not attach a virus exclusion to the Commercial General Liability Coverage form (CG 00 01 04 13) (“CGL”), so COVID-19 claims are not necessarily excluded. Any claim, however, must fit within the Insuring Agreement of the CG0001 (a non-excluded claim to pay covered damages the insured is legally obligated to pay because of Bodily Injury or Property Damage caused by an Occurrence that takes place in the Coverage Territory during the Policy Period, as those terms are defined in the policy and endorsements) or other applicable form that provides coverage for third party liability. The insured also must comply with all other policy terms and conditions.
Here is an article that you may find interesting. It is long, but addresses some of the policy language and how it might be interpreted. The conclusion is that the courts will have the final say on whether or not liability policies will cover COVID-19 claims. https://www.irmi.com/articles/
Ball-Martin Insurance Agency, Inc.