Malpractice Insurance. Business Insurance. Benefits.

COVID-19 FAQ's

We have spoken with many carriers and the information surrounding the Corona Virus (COVID-19) continues to evolve.  The information provided here is not an interpretation of what is covered on your specific policy and is not binding.  We strongly suggest that you call Desert Mountain Insurance or your carrier to verify the specifics of your policy coverage. To read anwers to the below questions, simply click the question to expand the answer.

Click the following links to scroll to the relevant category for your questions:

Professional Liability | Commercial | Benefits, Life, Health, Disability

Browse our list of resources at our COVID-19 Resource Links page.

See our general Insurance FAQs not related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Professional Liability

I want to go to a telemedicine model temporarily or add telemedicine to my practice during the COVID-19 crisis. Is that automatically covered?

Many policies will extend coverage as long as the provider is licensed in the state.  Federal and state telemedicine-related licensure requirements are evolving rapidly during this crisis, and it is important for providers to be aware of their own licensure circumstances and requirements for practicing in other states. Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can assist you. 

I am a retired physician and want to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Can I volunteer or go into a part-time practice without jeopardizing my existing tail coverage?

Several carriers have indicated that they will allow this.  Please contact our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can help you find a part-time policy

How can I lower my professional liability premium during COVID-19?

Some carriers are looking at various ways to lessen premiums.  Please call us at (480)-348-2200 and we can discuss the possibilities of your specific policy.

Can I suspend my professional liability policy temporarily if I’m not practicing during the COVID-19 crisis?

Very likely, each carrier has different underwriting guidelines regarding suspending coverage. However, many carriers are becoming increasingly flexible during COVID-19.  Please call our office (480-348-2200) and we can review the possibilities of your policy. 

Can I lower my specialty classification during COVID-19 if I am unable to practice in my specialty at this time?

Many carriers are allowing this. Please call us  at 480-348-2200 to discuss your specific situation.

Can I change from full-time to part-time during COVID-19?

If you are practicing less than 20 hours per week, it is possible that your insurance carrier will reduce your premium.  Please contact our office at 480-348-2200; we are happy to review your policy with you.

Commercial

If I close my business down, is the business interruption covered by my policy?

If you have Business Interruption coverage, it likely won’t respond in this situation because this coverage is typically triggered by a property loss. However, things are constantly evolving on the policy interpretation, and we do not know if there will be government intervention regarding insurance coverage. 

This is the official response from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Arizona, dated 03/18/2020:

The news on all networks have been filled with information on the now declared pandemic of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. It is possible on your commercial property insurance to extend coverage to include coverage for loss of business income due to a closure of your business caused by a covered peril. A communicable disease like the Coronavirus may not be a covered peril, but you should not allow that assumption to keep you from taking action.

First, it is critically important to report all claims and potential claims to EACH AND EVERY CARRIER whose policy might apply to your loss. This includes CGL, Personal lines, Umbrella, Excess, Workers Compensation, Specialty, and any other policy you may have.

Second, you need to determine whether you purchased business income coverage. If you don’t find the coverage in your policy description, be sure to call our office at (480) 348-2200

Third, if your business closes due to the Coronavirus, it is important to know (again) that communicable diseases typically are not a covered peril that would give rise to insurance benefits for loss of income. It doesn’t matter if the loss of income is just from a downturn of business due to the loss of many customers or the actual closure of your business. However, you should still report all claims and potential claims.

 

Please be sure to contact our agency if you have any questions.

What about coverage for closures by civil authority?

This applies to physical damage like business income: Coverage is triggered when access to the insured’s premises is prohibited by the actions of a civil authority due to damage to property within one mile of the insured’s premises. The damage must be by a Covered Cause of Loss. The action must be in response to dangerous physical conditions resulting from the damage or to enable a civil authority to have unimpeded access to the damaged property. (Professional Insurance Agents)

What if my employee gets COVID-19? Is that covered by workers’ comp if there is a chance the employee caught it at the office or from a patient?

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits to employees who become injured, or who become sick due to an occupational disease.  Typically, occupational diseases are defined as industry-specific illnesses, such as black lung disease or asbestosis.  Typical public illnesses, such as influenza and other viruses, would not be considered occupational diseases.  An exception to that could be healthcare workers, who could be directly exposed to these viruses in the course of their work, especially in the early stages of an outbreak.  If an employee were to become sick due directly to exposure to a patient, and it could be clearly established that the cause of their illness was due solely to their work, then it could fall within the scope of coverage.  Beyond the case of healthcare workers, it is unlikely that a virus outbreak would be considered an occupational disease.  Any claim, of course, would be evaluated based on the facts of the specific situation.  (CNA)

 

 Please contact our office at (480) 348-2200 if you have any questions.  

What if my patient says they contracted the COVID-19 virus from our office?

It’s possible the insured could have coverage, provided the policy doesn’t have a communicable disease exclusion.   Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can help you file a claim.   (Professional Independent Agents)

Does my policy cover me for deep-cleaning my office if it becomes contaminated?

Most settled case law has decided contamination is NOT considered physical damage, but there are a few cases where the courts have sided with the insured.  Please contact our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can help you file a claim for a final answer.

I have reduced my workforce due to COVID-19. Can I lower my Workers Comp premium?

This will depend on the carrier and your situation.  Workers Comp premiums are based on a projection of annual payroll figures and adjusted by audit at the end of the year.  Some carriers are allowing businesses to reduce payroll.

Typically, we recommend that you not cancel the policy as we are finding that some carriers are either increasing premiums on a new policy or not writing new policies for medical offices at this time. Please call our office, 480-348-2200, to discuss your possibilities.

I am closing my business temporarily during the COVID-19 crisis. Can I suspend my insurance policy until I can re-open?

Each carrier has its own guidelines for changes to their policies during the COVID-19 situation. Please call our office, (480) 348-2200, and we can review your specific options with you.

I think one of my employees may have Covid-19. Can I ask them? What can I tell my other employees?

EEOC laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the time of COVID-19.   This is an excellent link regarding COVID-19 on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website that is constantly being updated and is an excellent source of information in an easy to read format.  

 “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws”   

Can I get a refund from my carriers for any of my business losses do to COVID-19?

Very possibly! Several carriers are considering options to refund premiums for businesses that are not open or had diminished hours due to COVID-19. Please give us a call at 480-348-2200, and we can discuss the details of your specific policies

My employee was running an errand for the business and got into an accident. Is it covered on my business insurance?

Two commercial policies are at risk for a claim to be filed.  Your employee could file a Workers Compensation claim for any injuries or disability sustained.  Any other injured party could file a liability claim for any injuries that would exceed the limits of liability under the employee's and at-fault driver's personal auto policy.  With the proper coverage, your business could be protected.   For more information, see our article, "How to Protect Your Business if Employees Drive Their Own Vehicles for Company Errands" and call our office at 480-398-2200 so we can discuss your specific policies.

Benefits, Life, Health, Disability

Does my normal health insurance cover COVID-19?

Typically, standard health insurance policies do not exclude specific health conditions.  Copays and deductibles may apply.  Government and health insurance companies are working to waive some of these costs.   Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 for specific details about your policy.  

Is COVID-19 covered as a disability?

This is a complicated issue.  We are receiving varying answers from different carriers.

Please call our office at (480) 348-2200 for details on your policy.  

Are employees considered disabled if they’re ill with COVID-19? What if they are quarantined?

Ordinarily claims for COVID-19 would be evaluated the same as any other illness.  As with all claims, that person would have to meet the definition of disability and all other provisions outlined in the policy.

Someone under quarantine for COVID-19 does not automatically have a disabling medical condition that would satisfy the definition of disability.    Contact our office at (480) 348-2200 and we can review your policy with you.