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Coronavirus and corporate insurance

The coronavirus pandemic is a cause of great concern for all us of over the health of our loved ones, employees and ourselves, as well as over its effects on companies’ business.

Companies may face business ramifications or be forced to shut down entirely due to the health problems and restrictions caused by the coronavirus. In addition, many have switched to working remotely from home, leading to questions over statutory workers' compensation insurance.

This page lists which losses caused by the coronavirus are covered by different corporate insurance policies and which are not covered. For detailed information on the terms for insurance cover, consult the insurance terms and conditions and your company’s policy document for the respective policy and the insurance contract. To view the documents, log in to the op.fi service.

We will update our instructions as the situation develops. For all our instructions concerning the coronavirus and insurance, see here. For instructions concerning travel insurance, see here.

Be sure to also read our answers to frequently asked questions on op.fi.

1. Property and general liability insurance

Normally, business interruption caused by the coronavirus can be compensated only from insurance cover against business interruption due to contagious disease.

The most common types of insurance provided by Pohjola Insurance that may include cover against interruption due to contagious disease include:

  • Special Corporate Insurance (YH15)
  • Extended Business Interruption Insurance and Business Interruption Insurance (KE03 and KE07)

Special Corporate Insurance (YH15) and Extended Business Interruption Insurance (KE03 and KE07) automatically include cover against interruption due to contagious disease. In Business Interruption Insurance (KE03), cover against interruption due to contagious disease is an optional supplementary cover.

Prerequisites of coverage for loss or damage caused by an epidemic

Entitlement to compensation from Epidemic Interruption Cover requires that the loss or damage is

  1. a direct consequence of a
  2. binding provision issued by a Finnish authority under the Communicable Disease Act, the Animal Disease act or the Food Act due to an unforeseeable cause during the insurance period, in order to prevent the spreading of communicable or animal diseases,
  3. which restricts the policyholder’s business at the permanent insurance location specified in the insurance policy during the insurance period,
  4. the communicable disease or animal disease on which the order is based must be diagnosed at the permanent insurance location specified in the insurance policy, and
  5. the order must also directly concern the insured business and be addressed specifically to the insured party.

All of the abovementioned requirements must be fulfilled simultaneously.

Business restriction refers to a partial or full prohibition against the use of a place of business or of property located therein and used for business purposes until such time as the place of business and property have been sanitised by non-standard and enhanced sanitation measures in order for the business operations to be resumed. This thus refers to situations where the communicable disease requires that the premises are cleaned and disinfected. In that case, insurance covers extra costs arising from disinfecting the premises. Furthermore, business restriction refers to situations where an authority orders that products found to be contaminated must be disposed of. In that case, the insurance covers costs arising from disposal as well as the acquisition costs of the inventories and fixed assets acquired in replacement.

You can check from the authority’s regulation under which Act it has been issued. All written regulations issued by authorities include the legal provision under which the regulation has been issued. The Finnish authority issuing the order may be a Regional State Administrative Agency, for example.

For loss and damage covered, the loss period includes the validity period of the order as well as a period of up to two weeks for resuming operations. in situations where the policy document contains a separate maximum indemnity in euros, the above two-week limitation is not applied but the maximum indemnity of the insurance policy is applied instead. Compensation in the aforementioned situations is paid only for the amount not reimbursed by the state or municipality or from other public funds.

The above prerequisites are in force when the term of your company’s insurance contract changes or begins during 2021.

The insurance does not cover for the prevention of business in situations, for example, where business premises are closed to avoid social contacts as a precaution in order to prevent the spreading of a communicable disease.

We have updated the insurance terms and conditions of Epidemic Interruption Covers as of 1 January 2021. The new insurance terms and conditions will enter into force either at the beginning of 2021 or when the term of your insurance contract changes during 2021 or a new insurance contract begins.

See Section 1 for the prerequisites of coverage under the new insurance terms and conditions. You can check the insurance period from the insurance policy or by logging into the op.fi service from your company’s insurance information.

The prerequisites for covering loss or damage from Epidemic Interruption Cover, according to the insurance terms and conditions until the change of insurance period, are that the loss is:

  1. a direct consequence
  2. of a mandatory order issued by the Finnish authorities during the insurance period to combat contagious or animal diseases
  3. based on the Communicable Diseases Act, Animal Diseases Act or Food Act, and that
  4. the measures arising from said order are directly related to the insured business.

All of the abovementioned requirements must be fulfilled simultaneously.

The coverability of losses caused by the restrictions is based on the terms and conditions of interruption due to contagious disease insurance.

We have amended the terms and conditions of interruption due to contagious disease insurance as of 1 January 2021. If the insurance contract began before 1 January 2021, the changes apply from the start of the next insurance period. If your company’s insurance contract or new insurance period began in 2021 and the authorities have since then issued an order that applies to your company’s business, see section 1 of this page for more information about coverability.

The start date of your company’s insurance contract and current insurance period are listed on your policy document.

Insurance contract or period began in 2020

If your company’s insurance contract or period began in 2020 and the insurance period did not change before the authorities issued an order that applies to your company’s business, the claim settlement instructions given below apply to your company’s insurance.

Claim settlement instructions

As of 22 February 2021, the Communicable Diseases Act (section 58 g) grants municipal bodies and Regional State Administrative Agencies responsible for the prevention of communicable diseases the authority to issue businesses practising entertainment and leisure activities or parties responsible for the management of such venues binding orders to close down premises intended for customers or participants.

The following activities may be the subject of such orders:

  1. indoor premises used for team sports, group exercise, contact sports and other similar sports or exercise, gyms and other similar indoor exercise facilities;
  2. public saunas and pool facilities of indoor and outdoor swimming pools and changing rooms in their immediate vicinity;
  3. dance venues and facilities used for choir singing, amateur theatre and other similar group leisure activities;
  4. amusement parks, theme parks, circuses and indoor facilities of zoos;
  5. indoor play parks and playgrounds.

If a municipal body or Regional State Administrative Agency responsible for the prevention of communicable diseases has issued such an order to close down your company’s premises, and the order applies to your company’s business, the order may be a binding edict issued by the authorities on the basis of the Communicable Diseases Act, as referred to in the insurance terms and conditions. In these situations, you should file a loss report to let us investigate whether your company is entitled to insurance compensation.

Your insurance may cover losses caused by business interruption. In order to determine eligibility for and amount of compensation, and to speed up processing of the claim, please include at least the following information in your loss report:

  1. Copy or extract of the order by the authorities (such as Regional State Administrative Agency) on the shutdown of your company’s premises.
  2. A calculation of the amount of damages (loss of revenue) and a breakdown of the causes of the loss of revenue. For example, customer payments which the company has failed to receive or has refunded to customers from the period when the order by the authorities remains in force.
  3. Income statement for the previous financial year.
  4. A breakdown of any expenses saved during the period when the order is in force (such as cleaning and payroll expenses).
  5. If the company has applied for a grant or damages from the State, a copy of the decision. If aid or damages have not been applied, a report of this must be included.*

If the insurance claim is missing any of the required information or we require additional information, we will ask for it separately in order to proceed with processing the claim.

*Under the insurance terms and conditions, the insured party has an obligation to mitigate the loss. This means, for example, that the insured company must apply for damages from the State for any losses incurred. If the company has not applied for a grant or damages from the State, we require a report detailing why this was not done. To the extent that your company is entitled to grants, damages or other aid paid from public funds, the loss cannot be compensated from your insurance.

The Communicable Diseases Act has been amended to decree temporary restrictions on customer seating, opening hours and the serving of alcohol. Restaurants must also follow special hygiene requirements aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The new restrictions on restaurants are based on a temporary amendment of the Communicable Diseases Act.

Even under normal conditions, the law imposes a number of duties and restrictions on restaurants related to opening hours and the serving of alcohol, for example. Similarly, the new, temporary restrictions are considered requirements imposed on businesses by law.

Eligibility for insurance compensation

Under the terms and conditions of business interruption due to contagious disease, losses caused by business interruption are covered if they are the consequence of a mandatory order issued by the Finnish authorities under the Communicable Diseases Act, among other conditions.

A mandatory order means an administrative decision issued by a competent authority on the basis of the Communicable Diseases Act. As such, expenses or damages incurred due to restrictions imposed by the current temporary amendment of the Communicable Diseases Act are not covered by business interruption insurance.

Under a temporary amendment to the Act on Accommodation and Catering Operations and subsequent Government Decree, restaurants will be closed to customers for the period 4 April–31 May 2020. According to the legislative history, the purpose of the restrictions is to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus).

In order for losses to be covered by contagious disease cover under Special Corporate Insurance (YH15), Extensive Business Interruption Insurance or Business Interruption Insurance (KE 03 and KE07), the official regulation must be issued on the basis of the Communicable Diseases Act, Animal Diseases Act or Food Act. Thus, the present order to close restaurants does not constitute a business interruption coverable under the insurance.

As regards official regulations referred to in clause 4.1.4 of Special Corporate Insurance terms and conditions, entitlement to compensation requires that an authority has ordered a closure or isolation of a business premise due to a sudden and unforeseeable threat or hazardous situation.

A temporary amendment to the Act on Accommodation and Catering Operations regarding the closure of restaurants was made in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Slowing down the spread of a virus does not constitute a sudden hazardous situation referred to in the said clause of the insurance terms and conditions. A sudden hazardous situation refers to a hazardous situation at hand (such as a fire or gas leak) that imminently threatens the health of persons attending the business premises. Since restrictive measures taken to slow down the spread of a virus do not constitute such hazardous situation, compensation cannot be paid on the basis of such measures.

If your business organises public events or public meetings, you can receive compensation for the profits lost due to the cancellation, or for the costs arising from the postponement of the event, if:

  • the authorities have imposed on your business a binding prohibition on organising such an event, or
  • if your business is subject to an order issued by a Regional State Administrative Agency that prohibits the organisation of public events.

If the prohibition or order has been imposed under the Communicable Diseases Act, compensation may be paid in accordance with insurance terms and conditions from Contagious Disease Cover under Special Corporate Insurance’s Business Interruption Insurance, or from Contagious Disease Cover under Business Interruption Insurance.

In order to manage the COVID-19 situation, the Regional State Administrative Agencies have issued a range of orders; please follow them in your activities.

Please also note that compensation can only be paid to organisers of public events, as prohibition orders only restrict their activities. For example, if your business rents premises or provides other services as a subcontractor to the organiser of a public event, your business is not the organiser. The orders do not prohibit or restrict the rental of premises or any other provision of subcontracted services. In such cases, the prohibition will have an indirect effect on the service provider’s business, and no compensation can be paid from insurance.

Example:

If a public event organised by a hotel or restaurant has to be cancelled due to an order issued by a Regional State Administrative Agency, there may be a case for losses to be compensated. Compensation is paid only for the profits lost or costs incurred due to cancelling or postponing the event, not for any other loss of business that may be caused by changes in people’s purchasing behaviour. Note that insurance will not cover the cancellation of private events, as the orders imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agencies do not apply to them.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people have began to limit movement in public places of their own volition or at the recommendation of the authorities, resulting in decreased use of services offered by businesses.

Financial losses suffered due to people limiting their movement voluntarily are not considered loss events covered by business interruption insurance.

An official recommendation to be followed voluntarily is not considered a binding order issued by the authorities referred to in the insurance terms and conditions. As a result, the matter is not considered a loss covered by business interruption insurance.

Recommendations issued by the authorities include cancelling recreational activities for groups of people and closing down facilities where large numbers of people usually congregate. These include, for example, the premises of companies offering physical exercise services, sports centres and indoor swimming pools.

As of now, the authorities have recommended closing down such facilities but have not issued a binding order on the matter. The shutdown or temporary cancelling of facilities or services based on a recommendation are not considered losses covered by business interruption insurance.

A Finnish authority may have issued a binding order under the Communicable Diseases Act. This may mean, for example, that a restaurant must be closed or a public event must be cancelled. This may result in a reduction in the sales of a wholesaler providing food to the restaurant or in the sales of a company providing services to the event organiser.

Under the terms and conditions of Interruption due to contagious disease insurance, measures caused by a binding order issued by the authorities must be directly connected with the insured business operations. An order that forces someone to close a restaurant or cancel a public event is not directly related to the business of the wholesaler or the company providing other services. In other words, the order has an indirect effect on the activities of these companies. Consequently, no compensation can be paid for the losses suffered by subcontractors from their business interruption insurance.

If your company’s business is interrupted or hindered due to the illness or death of persons listed in the insurance and this causes financial loss, you can apply for compensation under:

  • Insurance for business interruption due to disability, or
  • Insurance for business interruption caused by an employee.

Both policies have a qualifying period of 14 days in losses caused by illness.

In the case of disability caused by illness, you must provide a certificate of disability issued by a physician licensed in Finland.

Business interruptions caused by quarantine as a precautionary measure or after a diagnosed illness are not covered.

Personal quarantine orders are issued to the person themselves, with the effect that the quarantined person must remain in isolation.

For example, if a person working for your company is ordered to remain in quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus, any losses incurred are not covered by the insurance, as the measure triggered by the quarantine order (isolating the person) is not directly related to the insured business.

If necessary, Special Corporate Insurance may cover disinfecting and removal expenses of premises, as well as the purchase costs of inventories and movable property to replace those ordered for removal.

 

2. Workers' compensation insurance and other personal insurance

 

In remote work carried out at home, statutory workers' compensation insurance covers accidents that occur directly during work. These include minor or major injuries caused by dropping a computer on your feet, for example.

Workers' compensation insurance does not cover accidents that occur during lunch or bathroom breaks, for example. This includes slipping or tripping while on a break, for example.

Your company may also hold some other insurance policy that covers accidents other than those occurring directly during work.

Other forms of insurance that cover accidents are:

  • Group Accident Insurance
  • Insurance for working from home
  • Leisure-time accident insurance (voluntary leisure-time extension to statutory workers' compensation insurance)
  • Health Insurance (accidents may be covered under this policy if no separate accident insurance exists)

These may cover accidents that occur in remote work in cases where the accident is not covered by workers' compensation insurance.

If you suspect that you have caught a coronavirus infection, follow the instructions provided by your municipality. Always call your local advisory service first. If you are instructed to seek treatment, follow the instructions provided and go to a hospital or health centre that provides treatment to coronavirus patients.

Coronavirus testing and treatment are provided primarily by public health care services. The tests, treatment, prescription medication and isolation required by coronavirus are free of charge to patients.

Remote doctor’s appointment and occupational health care

Some private medical centres offer coronavirus sampling based on consultation by a remote doctor. Plus Health Insurance and Super Health Insurance also cover examination and treatment services offered by private medical centres in accordance with the insurance terms and conditions, including remote consultation services. Do not visit a private medical centre if you suspect that you have the coronavirus.

Comprehensive Health Insurance and Extra Health Insurance do not cover the examination and treatment of communicable diseases. For this reason, examination and treatment expenses for coronavirus will not be covered under these policies.

The antibody test for coronavirus can be carried out afterwards to establish who have already had and recovered from the illness. None of the Health Insurance policies cover antibody tests.

Your occupational health care provider may also offer sampling for the coronavirus. Follow the instructions of your employer and occupational health care provider.

You can write us to ask for an extension if you are unable to pay the bill on the due date. To contact us by online message, log into op.fi or OP-mobile. In the message, state your insurance contract code, the invoiced amount, the original due date, and your new proposed due date.

 

Filing a claim and receiving a claim settlement decision

Report the loss and file a claim for compensation at op.fi.

Check from op.fi whether your company has valid insurance against the losses listed above. You can file a loss report even if you are uncertain whether your company has valid insurance or whether the loss is covered. The claim settlement decision will tell you whether or not the loss is covered.

In the loss report, give the requested information with as much detail as possible. Due to the epidemic, there may be delays in processing loss reports. We ask that you wait for the decision on your claim patiently to allow us to focus our resources on processing loss reports and ensuring the continuity of our services.

If you experience financial troubles, we recommend that you also contact your bank or Finnvera and, in the case of other expenses, the service provider in question. Many creditors, service providers and other parties understand the current circumstances and offer various forms of assistance.

See Pohjola Claim Help for more instructions on how to proceed in case of loss:

A procedure guide is provided on these pages for losses, and the coverage for losses is also described at a general level. Each loss case is nevertheless assessed separately, and in individual cases the insurance company can provide instructions or provisions concerning procedures which differ from the instructions given on the website. In addition, the policyholder’s agreements may also contain special terms and conditions regarding the coverage for loss or damage or other differing provisions, due to which coverage may differ from what has been presented on these pages.