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GlobalPro Daniel Odess speaks with South Florida Business Journal

March 26, 2020

As local and federal regulations across the nation are enacted to mitigate the rise in COVID-19 cases, many businesses are faced with an uncertainty concerning the consequences of these unforeseen events. In the midst of the events at hand, the Insured are searching for answers and guidance on preparedness, and issues regarding their businesses, asset protection, and coverage. Preparation for an unexpected calamity such as a pandemic is similar to that of any other natural disaster. An essential component of mitigating loss is the development and implementation of a disaster response plan and effective crisis management. Seeking expert professional assistance prior to, or following a crisis will aid in making better decisions in a time of crisis. GlobalPro Founder & President, Daniel Odess, spoke with the South Florida Business Journal in an article titled: “Few insurance options for businesses affected by coronavirus epidemic” regarding the impending situation:

Daniel Odess, president of Coral Gables-based insurance firm GlobalPro, said the region’s 2016 Zika virus outbreak indicates some businesses could have avenues for insurance coverage.

“In the wake of Zika we saw several hospitality companies recover damages after areas of Miami were quarantined, so it’s possible,” he said. “It’s definitely on a case-by-case basis, so I would advise business owners to closely review their policies to see if they have language excluding viruses.”

Odess said now is the time for business owners to take proactive measures to protect their enterprises. That includes reviewing their insurance policies, establishing coronavirus risk management protocols for employees, and ensuring they have important documents on hand in the event of a quarantine.

“Collect your financial records and insurance policies, study them and make sure their easily accessible so you have what you need to make a claim or potentially apply for government relief, even if you’re quarantined at home,” he said.

 – South Florida Business Journal

Read the full story here: GlobalPro – South Florida Business Journal – March 11, 2020

For those seeking answers, we’ve organized helpful points to keep in mind that will assist you in preparation during these trying times.

Here are some helpful points to remember in regards to preparation:

  • Complete an up to date comprehensive insurance review of your current coverage. It’s vital to understand your coverage than rely on your agent or broker.Do not make assumptions about your current insurance coverage.
  • Secure off-site electronic storage of key documents, such as insurance policies and asset inventories. Back-up accurate documentation of personal, business and investment assets frequently.This can include a physical asset inventory.
  • Seek expert advice to formulate a strategic disaster response plan for effective crisis management.
  • List steps to take for during or immediately after a crisis to ensure the safety of people and mitigate loss. Form a Business continuity plan to minimize and interruption to business operations.
  • Contact information for contractors qualified to take immediate action depending on the situation at hand.
  • Stock your home or place of business with emergency or back-up supplies including non-perishables, essential medications, and a first aid kit.

What if businesses did not have a disaster response plan? Is it too late now? The answer is no, there are still actionable measures a business or community association can take to mitigate loss and ensure proper protocol is executed. Employers should be ready to respond in flexible ways concerning the varying levels of transmission across the country. Businesses and community associations are also strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials for timely and accurate information that will guide responses. Concerning the case of COVID-19 here are some points to keep in mind to reduce transmission among employees, maintain healthy current and future business operations, and maintain a healthy work environment.

If you are a business:

  • Reviewing current government notices, and verified agency protocol. Keeping employees, community up to date. (Local, Federal, CDC, WHO)
  • Proper handling and disinfecting of utensils, frequently used items.
  • Proper and routine environmental cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and areas. Use EPA-registered disinfectants, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions.
  • Increase ventilation rates, and percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
  • Review coverage, policies, and insurance recovery for income loss, extra expense and costs associated with preparation and mitigation.
  • Establish rotating shifts for employees for essential businesses, off-site business protocol for non-essential businesses.
  • Manage inventory necessary for continued business while keeping federal regulations in mind.
  • Ensure that basic supplies are available, such as, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Reduce crowding and gathering in public areas. If you are a business such as a restaurant, consider delivery services in accordance to local and state regulations.

If you are a community association:

  • Review insurance policies, and recovery strategies for income loss, extra expense and costs associated with preparation and business interruption.
  • Proper and routine environmental cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and areas. Use EPA-registered disinfectants, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions.
  • Increase ventilation rates, and percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
  • Discuss protocol for entering units.
  • Formulate response plans to everyday emergencies.
  • Establish rotating shifts for employees.
  • Ensure there are hydration stations for staff and essential workers.
  • Review the similarities between hurricane & virus prep.
  • Create protocol for package handling & deliveries to units.
  • Ensure that basic supplies are available, such as, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Limiting management office access – possible remote work, and security plan. Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
  • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces. Reduce crowding and gathering in public areas.
  • Take proper quarantine steps aligned with federal, or expert agencies.

Even with these guidelines and protocol in place your business may still face loss or damage due to this unprecedented crisis. If you haven’t engaged the services of a trained insurance expert, you really don’t know the full amount and extent of your damages. Also, the deductible may not even apply due to ambiguous language. We have had several insurance companies take conflicting approaches to the application of deductibles on several properties with similar policies. This is a clear indication that not even the insurance company knows how the deductible should apply. So, how could you know how to apply it? Any experienced insurance professional that has handled these types of claims, knows that we are just in the beginning of a lengthy process. The claims process has been further complicated and slowed by other major events like local, state, and government regulations concerning this pandemic. As time passes, businesses are still accruing loss that will further exacerbate the damage to operations. If you are still confused and need assistance, contact GlobalPro to assist you with supplementing your claim.

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