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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.

Requirements for entitlement to compensation

Entitlement to compensation from contagious disease cover under said types of insurance requires that the loss or damage arises from:

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

All of the abovementioned requirements must be fulfilled simultaneously.

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.

Example of an official regulation that directly concerns a specific business, in accordance with the insurance terms and conditions: The authorities order a specific business premise to be closed down or prohibit a planned event from taking place under the Communicable Diseases Act, in order to prevent the spread of a virus.

The Finnish authority issuing the order may be a Regional State Administrative Agency, for example.

Article updated on 8th April 2020.

Based on a temporary amendment to the Act on Accommodation and Catering Operations, 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).

Entitlement to compensation from contagious disease cover under Special Corporate Insurance (YH15), Extensive Business Interruption Insurance or Business Interruption Insurance (KE 03 and KE07) requires an official regulation issued on the basis of the Communicable Diseases Act, Animal Diseases Act or Food Act. Thus, the recent 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.

Compensation may be paid for profits lost due the cancellation of events for groups of more than 10 people or for costs incurred from postponing such an event, if the organisation of public events is normally a part of your company’s line of business.

As the authorities have prohibited public events for groups of more than 10 people under the Communicable Diseases Act, compensation may be paid in accordance with insurance terms and conditions from Epidemic Interruption Cover for Special Corporate Insurance or from Interruption due to contagious disease insurance.

Such public events include, for example, events planned to be hosted at a hotel or restaurant. Compensation is paid only for the profits lost or costs incurred due to cancelling or postponing the event in question, not for any other loss of business due to changes in customer behaviour.

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.

Finnish authorities may have issued binding orders based on the Communicable Diseases Act. These may include closing down an individual hotel, for example. Such an order may result in reduced sales for a wholesaler supplying goods for the hotel’s restaurant.

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. In the above example, the order to close down the hotel is not directly connected with the wholesaler’s business operations. Instead, its impact on the wholesaler is indirect. As a result, losses incurred by the wholesaler cannot be compensated by the wholesaler’s 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.

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: