Thousands of building sites in the UK are closing due to health risks from the COVID-19 outbreak, a task that involves taking a series of measures to keep the site safe during an unknown period. For construction firms this adds to a list of insurance-related issues that the pandemic is bringing up.
The private healthcare sector in the UK is increasingly working closely with the National Health Service (NHS) to offer support in the treatment of coronavirus patients or to care for other patients, raising a number of liability issues that need to be addressed.
In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, the spotlight falls on the front line staff who are tasked with treating potentially tens of thousands of patients suffering various degrees of respiratory illness.
Further to a deal announced by the Government on Saturday, as of today, Monday 23 March, the entire capacity of the private hospital sector in England is dedicated to treat coronavirus patients, and take on work the NHS is too overwhelmed to carry out.
The COVID-19 outbreak is testing the limits of healthcare systems and particularly of staff, which is bearing the mental load of the crisis.
In the 1920s, Hugo Gernsback, an inventor, science fiction enthusiast and founder of a scientific journal called The Electrical Experimenter, conceived of a device that would permit a doctor to conduct consultations from the comfort of the patient’s own home. The Teledactyl (from the Greek for ‘far’ and ‘finger’) would allow the doctor to see and speak to the patient while two remotely controlled arms would allow the doctor to examine the patient.
The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting the risk of litigation against Directors and Officers as potential plaintiffs scrutinise the way the board manages the company through the coronavirus crisis. While US courts have received the first securities class actions against company directors, the majority of lawsuits for UK companies are likely to focus on alleged mishandling of insolvency procedures.
Insurers are facing higher claims in some insurance classes and lower premium in others due to the COVID-19 outbreak and both are likely to have consequences for insurance buyers for example in form of higher premium and the introduction of exclusions.
Many of our real estate sector clients and their tenants will be following Government advice and have arranged for their employees to conduct business from home, rather than at their usual place of work. This is likely to become more widespread as time goes by, with a large number of premises becoming unoccupied or occupied intermittently.