COVID-19 continues to spread around the world. Designated a global emergency by the World Health Organization, the outbreak has had far-reaching effects on people, travel, supply chains, and economies globally.
For organizations, especially multinational businesses, the outbreak can have extensive effects, some of which have already been felt. Hotels have been forced to close, airlines have cancelled thousands of flights, and supply chains have been hit hard, while financial markets have been volatile. During a special Marsh webcast on March 9, panelists will look at how businesses can respond to and recover from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for future outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics.
Businesses Need to Act Now
There are some actions that businesses should be taking. These include:
- Focusing on good communication to counter fear and stigma and relying on established and credible sources of information, such as the WHO.
- Reinforcing good infection control basics, including proper hand washing.
- Encouraging employees to stay home if they’re feeling ill.
- Allowing flexible work from home arrangements where possible.
- Broadcasting telemedicine options to employees.
Businesses should give special attention to supply chains, including checking in with critical suppliers and looking deeper into the potential effects on their suppliers’ own supply chains, while also ensuring they properly understand contractual liabilities. This is also the time to review business continuity plans.
Although traditional property and casualty policies are likely to provide relatively limited coverage for outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, some forms of coverage — including workers’ compensation, property, and business interruption policies — could respond if specific conditions are met. Marsh is also working to develop new products that can respond to future events.