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The Insurance Impacts of the 2019 Coronavirus

By February 28, 2020March 23rd, 2020Commercial Insurance
The Insurance Impacts of the 2019 Coronavirus

According to experts, coronaviruses are common in animal species, and most don’t affect humans. As of now, only seven different coronaviruses are known to infect humans. In their lifetime, most people will be infected with at least one common human coronavirus.

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

Common coronaviruses typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, and those affected exhibit cold-like symptoms. The most common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose

Some cases of the virus can be more severe, and individuals experience more serious lower-respiratory tract illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. For the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune systems, coronavirus can be even more dangerous.

How is it diagnosed?

If you’re exhibiting symptoms, you should call your doctor, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms and have traveled to countries where outbreaks have been reported. Your doctor will likely order a lab test to detect coronavirus. Be sure to disclose any recent travel to your doctor.

Deadly Outbreaks of Coronavirus

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as two others, have caused severe symptoms. In 2012, the Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak caused severe illness—nearly 4 out of 10 people infected died. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which was first reported in Asia in 2003, spread to two dozen countries, infected 8,098 people and caused 774 deaths before it was contained.

The primary virus infection, which can result in pneumonia and even death, originated from a Wuhan city seafood market. Subsequently, person-to-person transmission has occurred, primarily to health workers who had contact with those initially infected. The concern is that this may lead to widespread infections, worldwide.

What does it mean from an insurance perspective?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has prompted questions of how insurance policies might respond to claims stemming from business losses attributed to this infection, which prompted the Insurance Impacts of 2019 Novel Coronavirus white paper from Crawford.

For more updates on COVID-19 please visit Canada’s public health site.