Kyle Wallace of Wallace Specialty Insurance addresses questions regarding insurance amidst a pandemic.
Kyle Wallace is the founder of Wallace Specialty Insurance. He only works with dentists, and started originally with malpractice and has moved into other areas of insurance that apply to practice owners. The recommendation was that you could continue to practice for emergencies, but it is ultimately at the discretion of the dentists, not a mandate. With no mandate, be aware that there are no pandemic exclusions in a malpractice policy. Several states are mandated, so check your state policy.
What constitutes an emergency? Being in pain and needing treatment constitutes emergency care. The risk of refusing service as part of a practice carries a larger risk of a malpractice issue than treating under restrictions. Be careful of turning a patient away for treatment as a potential malpractice risk.
How does business overhead insurance work in this situation? Will the loss of business or business interruption policy apply? No, this covers natural disasters or damage to the specific building structure. The civil authority clause is not applicable because it is intended when another business becomes damaged affecting your property or access to your property. There is some legislation in New Jersey to remedy this coverage, but the loss to the insurance companies would be tremendous, and would possibly result in a surcharge similar to the changes that happened with 9/11.
If I am requiring my staff to come into work and they are exposed, how does that affect workman’s compensation? First of all, check that you have worker’s comp. This is a situation where exposure can be tracked directly to your office, so a claim may be applicable in this situation. Offering to staff to stay home without pay to prevent exposure is an option as well.
What about short-term disability, especially with no wait time? Short term disability will kick in if they are sick. Would it be a good idea to look into it now? If it is in your budget, look into it. At this time there is not a hold on new policies. Those policies only kick in if you are the one that gets sick. There is often a waiting period of 90 days. Short term can have a 7 or 14 day waiting period. If you are quarantined due to exposure, at least make a claim.
Most policies for disability will take at least 3-4 weeks to put in place.
Insurance companies are currently trying to work with people, so don’t go to canceling your policies to cut expenses.