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How to Prepare for the Coronavirus

The corona virus (COVID-19) is spreading by leaps and bounds. However, infections with the virus are increasing not only in China, but worldwide. Due to the increasing global networking and the resulting dependencies and interrelationships, the effects are also of great importance for German companies.

The currently rapidly and dynamically developing corona virus makes the associated risk and damage potential difficult to assess monetarily. Dealing with the corona virus is a particular challenge for affected companies, but also for the state and for insurers.

Corporate emergency management and disaster preparedness
Just as authorities also consider and take preventive measures (e.g. travel bans, entry restrictions), there is also a need for action by global companies: They should review, test and update their emergency plans with regard to business continuity, crisis management and crisis communication. In particular, the potential operational and financial effects or disruptions caused by the corona virus, such as the failure of employees, revenues and important suppliers can be identified and analyzed within the framework of existing supply chains. It is important to identify the critical business processes together with the production factors and suppliers that are essential for the continuation of business.

Audit of insurance contracts
A review of the insurance policies, particularly in the liability lines as well as classic property and loss of earnings insurance and property damage independent business interruption insurance should also be carried out with a view to asserting potential claims.

Property insurance:
In classic property and loss of earnings insurance, the fact that triggered the cover, i.e. the cause of the loss, usually has to be based on a chemical or physical event (property damage). Damage to property caused by the corona virus must be ruled out to the best of our knowledge. Without insured property damage, however, an associated loss of income insurance does not work in these insurance products.

Business closure insurance enables insurance coverage for certain illnesses, provided that a company concerned is closed due to an official order or is affected by certain measures. In classic business closure insurance, there is usually insurance protection for notifiable diseases and pathogens in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). A notification requirement in connection with the Infection Protection Act for the novel corona virus (“2019-nCoV”) that occurred in Wuhan / People’s Republic of China only came into force in Germany at the end of January 2020. Therefore, an existing company closure insurance should check whether the virus is one of the insured diseases. There are also property damage-independent insurance solutions, which, depending on the type and individual design, include: B. such pathogens or pandemics in general can trigger a loss of yield loss.

Liability insurance:
Liability insurance is primarily about the extent to which the policyholder is liable for (health, property, property) damage. The relevance under liability law is particularly evident when compliance with relevant hygiene and due diligence obligations (e.g. private individuals, employers, hospitals). However, there are likely to be difficulties with the enforcement of claims for damages. The adequate causality between the source of risk (cause) and the consequences of damage (effect) cannot be proven regularly.

However, if the risk potential caused by the virus can be reduced or eliminated by adhering to safety precautions, but the policyholder omits these precautions and there is personal injury, he can be liable for the claims for damage from infection if he is at fault hits and proof of causality succeeds.


  1. Liability for tortious acts
    (§ 823 BGB): Inadequate hygiene / safety precautions against infection in hospitals, old people’s homes, at the doctor’s, with airlines / cruise ships). The policyholder’s employee transmits a highly contagious infectious disease, even though he is aware of the risk of infection.
  2. Liability for defective products (§ 1 ProdHG): The employee of a policyholder cuts salads for a fresh bar in a supermarket. He transfers a lung disease to the customer.

7.18 AHB (General Conditions for Liability Insurance) provides for an exclusion for liability claims due to personal injury arising from the exercise

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