Our Coronavirus Response

The Coronavirus Outbreak – Fitzpatrick are here to help

Given the unfolding situation relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we wanted to provide you with an update about the plans we have in place to ensure that we continue to maintain our high level of service to our customers.

Fitzpatrick & Co continues to operate on a "business as usual" basis and does not have any team members displaying the symptoms associated with COVID-19. However, set out below are some of our contingency plans which will be put in place should the situation change, for example due to forced shutdown or changes implemented by the government.

Contingency Plans for Customer Service

Our Brokers will have the ability to continue to work remotely via a secured connection, we are expecting a large number of enquiries, should you experience difficulty in calling your account manager please e-mail us and we will return your call.

Contingency Plans for Client Site Visits

Our highest priority is the health and safety of all our clients, customers, team members and partners. Moving forward

Fitzpatrick & Co will avoid making further site visits, however we are happy to discuss with you personally if it is urgent to visit.

We intend to actively continue to engage and communicate with our clients via cloud collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams/Zoom to run virtual meetings and by email and telephone during this time and we appreciate your support in this engagement.

Am I Covered?

The effects of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (Coronavirus) are escalating worldwide and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently declared the Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. Many governments, including the Australian Government, have now introduced strict travel restrictions and travel advice relating to travel to and from and through mainland China.

We have had a number of queries regarding insurance cover following the outbreak of the virus.

The most common potential claims in the market will be travel (cancellation, medical) and business interruption insurance under a business insurance policy.

Travel

Travel insurance policies commonly include exclusions for pandemics and epidemics which includes viruses such as SARS, Avian and Swine Flu. In order for these exclusions to be relied upon, the insurer must be able to demonstrate that the virus fits within the exclusion. They must be able to provide evidence (such as Department of Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and WHO warnings and also medical evidence).

Cancellations - Whether an insured is covered depends on which policy they have taken out and what date they purchased it. Some insureds will not be covered for trip cancellations. Whether cancellations are covered depends on when the travel policy cover was taken out. If it was after the Coronavirus was deemed to be a Public Health Emergency, then it will not be covered.

Some travel insurance policies may cover insureds who cancel the remainder of their trips if they were already in China before DFAT raised its travel advice to level 4 however after that date, cover will not be extended due to the exclusion which is in most, if not all, travel policies.

Some travellers may not need to rely on insurance as some airlines are offering full refunds for customers who bought tickets to, from, or via mainland China issued before the deemed date of knowledge of the Coronavirus whilst other airlines whose passengers had China as part of their itinerary may be offered a refund.

Medical expenses - Some travel policies will cover insureds in the affected region for medical expenses relation to Coronavirus if they commenced the travel before the DFAT advisory was lifted to level 4 (23 January 2020) when the outbreak became a known event) which means that policies purchased after that date may not be covered.

Does travel insurance cover Coronavirus?

Cover for medical expenses and cancellation caused by epidemic  - only if already in the region before the insurer issues a travel alert or DFAT raises travel advice level to “Reconsider Travel” or “Do Not Travel”. Note that between 20 January 2020 to 24 January 2020, most travel insurers had issued a travel alert which triggered the “travel advice” exclusion.

Corporate - more likely to cover; may provide cover if taken out before the outbreak started.

Leisure - more restrictive than corporate; exclusions for “Epidemic” (including pandemic).

Business Interruption

Business Interruption policies respond to physical damage to insured property.  There is no physical damage to insured property caused by the coronavirus.  This means that the only cover if the insured can rely on the extension for “Infectious of contagious diseases etc”.  However, this cover only operates when the infectious disease results in closure or evacuation of the insured premises.  We are not aware of any circumstances in which the coronavirus has resulted in closure or evacuation of the insured premises.  Even if it does, there may be other reasons why the claim would not be covered.

We encourage all of our clients to give serious consideration to the necessity of upcoming travel plans. Please use the below two website links to monitor the threat of spread of this virus:

DFAT: https://www.dfat.gov.au

Smart Traveller: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Flexible Payment Options

We are all in unprecedented times with the Coronavirus (Covid19) pandemic. In these difficult times it is important that you maintain insurance cover on your assets whether it be personal or business and we are here to help you. We understand that in many cases cash flow/income will be reduced whether this be immediately or in the coming months and during this time of financial crisis we do have options available to assist in payment of premium to lessen the financial burden and stress.

If you have concerns please contact your account manager directly and they will take the time to listen and  understand your situation and discuss options to assist with payment to ensure your assets remain adequately protected during this time of crisis.

Given the unfolding situation we wanted to provide you with an update about the plans we have in place to ensure that we continue to maintain our high level of service to our customers.

Contingency Plans for client site visits

Our highest priority is the health and safety of all our clients, customers, team members and partners. Moving forward Fitzpatrick & Co will avoid making further site visits, however we are happy to discuss with you personally if it is urgent to visit.
 
We intend to actively continue to engage and communicate with our clients via cloud collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams/Zoom to run virtual meetings and by email and telephone during this time and we appreciate your support in this engagement.

Contingency Plans for flexible payment options

The Insurance Council of Australia is currently working with Insurers to negotiate extended payments terms to lessen the financial burden and stress, we will keep our clients updated in regards to these developments. Whilst it is important to keep your assets insured we  can tailor your insurance needs to suit your current situation, for example:

- Reduction in projected annual turnover

- Reduction in stock in trade

- Changes in occupancy

- Reductions in Business Interruption Gross Income/ Gross Profits sum insured

Fitzpatrick & Co have historically provided flexible payment options including premium funding  ( monthly installments over 10 months) and utilising our national networks have provided this at very competitive rates. We have negotiated the removal of the premium funding setup fee and also In light of the current financial crisis have waived our commission, this has resulted in very low competitive rates, please speak to your account manager for a tailored quote.

Buildings that require Temporary Closure

Due to the coronavirus restrictions, many businesses are having to temporarily close, and allow staff to help sustain operations via home working. We wanted to give you some general advice about how to protect your premises during any temporary closures. If the Government restrictions continue for a significant period, further action may be required. This guidance is from a risk management perspective.
 
Risk Control Measures:

Waste - Remove all external waste, pallets and empty skips ahead of closing.

Waste bins - Empty all waste bins and relocate to a secure area, ideally at least 10 metres from the building. If this is not possible and bins and skips are within 10m, these should have lockable lids.

Fire Systems - Ensure that any fire and/or sprinkler systems are fully operational

Fire Doors - Carry out a check to ensure that internal fire doors are closed

Building Utilities - Shutdown any non-essential electrical devices and building utilities. Isolate nonessential services, gas valves etc.

Inspections - Where at all possible (and subject to Government restrictions) try to implement periodic inspections of the building (internally and externally). Please ensure that you comply with existing government guidance regarding vulnerable people and lone worker risk assessments. Consider the provisioning for alternative skilled personnel, such as security guarding/patrolling companies.

Physical Security - Carry out a check to ensure physical security measures are in place e.g. fences are in good repair, windows are locked, shutters are in place, gates are locked.

Intruder Alarm - Make sure your intruder alarm is set and that the remote signaling is in place. Ensure sufficient numbers of keyholders are available to respond to an alarm activation within 20 minutes.

Maintenance - So far as is reasonably practical, there is an expectation that essential maintenance continues with any remedial measures completed. Premises that have Building Management Systems (BMS) with remote alerts should continue to be responded to. If possible, ensure gutters and drains are clear of debris, ahead of winter setting in.

Dangerous Goods - If you have any dangerous goods on your premises, ensure they are kept secure in their usual storage place, and review the inventory levels, documentation etc.

Duty of Disclosure

We also note that many  property insurance  policies have un-occupancy clauses i.e. 30 - 60 days (usually in the General Exclusions section at the rear of the Policy Wording). In addition, there are clauses for disclosure (or non-disclosure) i.e. before the contract is entered into or at renewal.
 
Please speak to us in regards to any changes in your business or tenancies and we can discuss with you.

How to Contact Us

Fitzpatrick & Co continues to operate on a "business as usual" basis and does not have any team members displaying the symptoms associated with COVID-19. However, in light of the government suggestion for social distancing  many of our brokers are working remotely via a secured connection, we are expecting a large number of inquiries,  should you experience difficulty in calling your account manager please e-mail them directly or e-mail insure@fitzpatrick.com.au and we will return your call.
 
Each account managers direct line and email address can be found at our website under the contact us page.
 
Emergency Claims Assistance - After Hours
For Emergency Assistance for making safe and emergency property repairs, please contact:

Claims Central - 02 8579 0289

We thank you again for your support during this difficult time.

Social Distancing at Work

Steps for social distancing in the workplace include:

- Stop shaking hands to greet others

- Consider cancelling non-essential meetings. If needed, hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call

- Put off large meetings to a later date

- Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible

- Promote good hand, sneeze and cough hygiene

- Provide alcohol-based hand rub for all staff

- Eat lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunchroom

- Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that many people touch

- Open windows or adjust air conditioning for more ventilation

- Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace

- Avoid non-essential travel

- Promote strict hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts

For further information on social distancing measures, click here.

Information for employers and jobseekers is available on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

Useful Links

Business Council of Australia: https://www.bca.com.au/covid-19

Australian Financial Complaints Authority: https://www.afca.org.au/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-support-hub/insurance

Australian Government Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

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ABN: 25 050 242 914 | AFS Licence 244386 |