Coronavirus hub

Coronavirus hub

Be prepared.

Know how to respond.

Be prepared.

Know how to respond.

Touch base with us online

The latest information, guidance and resources to help you manage your risks, support your employees, and minimise business interruption.

The latest information, guidance and resources to help you manage your risks, support your employees, and minimise business interruption.

Touch base with us online

We are here for you.

COVID-19 is affecting the entire world, from individuals and local businesses to global enterprises. Our Coronavirus Pandemic Information Hub offers insights, guidance and information to help you stay informed on what this global pandemic means to you.

No matter how prepared we think we are for a pandemic, the reality is that things can move and change quickly within a matter of weeks or days or hours.  To successfully navigate through a pandemic, you need to be agile and develop bespoke response strategies tailored to your needs and risk profile, which are then tested constantly to ensure their effectiveness.

Touch base with HDL for any assistance you need.

Stay up to date

For the latest updates or enquiries in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak you can contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. Calls can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.


Frequently asked questions

Below are some frequently asked questions.  For more information, or if you have any concerns, please contact your broking team.

Important: The general advice below is current as at 23 November 2020 and could be subject to change. How your business interruption policy will respond to a claim depends on the relevant facts of your claim, and the particular policy wording you are insured under. For this reason, it is always best to consult with us for advice before making a decision about whether or not to make a claim.

For policies with pandemic exclusions that refer to the Quarantine Act without referencing the Biosecurity Act.

Referring specifically to policies with an exclusion for losses arising from a pandemic where the ‘disease’ has been designated under the now repealed Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth), without also citing the current Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth).

Proceedings filed on the 13th of August 2020, in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, (now being decided by the NSW Court of Appeal), have sought to test the effectiveness of certain infectious disease exclusions found in many Australian business interruption policies. The case consists of two separate small business claims that were lodged with AFCA as part of its dispute resolution process.

On the 18th of November 2020, the NSW Court of Appeal ruled against insurers. The court held that COVID-19 is not a disease “declared to be a quarantinable disease under the Quarantine Act 1908 and subsequent amendments”, and “accordingly was not excluded from the disease benefit clauses”.

The ICA is currently consulting with members to potentially appeal the decision to the High Court. Parties are able to lodge disputes up until December 16th.

You can read the judgement here.

While an appeal is highly likely, this result may impact other policyholders ability to make successful claims under policies with similar exclusions.

How each business interruption policy will respond to a claim depends on the relevant facts of the claim, and the particular policy wording issued to the insured. We encourage you to contact your insurance broker for personalised advice.

For policies that do not include a pandemic exclusion, or contain a pandemic exclusion that applies only to ‘infectious disease’ coverage clauses and not to other coverage clauses in the policy such as ‘prevention of access’ or ‘closure by authority’ coverage clauses:

You may be able to claim for losses arising from COVID-19 under these policies. We encourage you to contact us urgently for personalised advice.

Most notifiable disease extensions cover specific diseases that will be named in the cover. These are diseases that are well known and understood. If the policy does not allow for all human infectious diseases, then cover is unlikely to apply.

Some notifiable disease extensions are more general and do not specify certain diseases. In these cases, business interruption cover for COVID-19 may apply if COVID-19 is present at the premises and all policy conditions are met.

If you are unsure about what your policy covers your business for, check with us.

Some coverage may exist if the business has purchased a ‘non-damage, denial of access’ extension to a business interruption policy. Again, purchase of these extensions tends to be rare, and this is not generally covered under standard business interruption policies.

Generally, ‘denial of access’ cover applies to cordoned off areas and the loss of trade resulting from a denial of access to the premises (e.g. as a result of a police cordon). If a business is forced to close or is told to shut by an appropriate authority or is cordoned off, this could trigger a claim under a ‘non-damage, denial of access’ business interruption extension if the infectious disease cover is unspecified or if it includes COVID-19.

A typical Corporate Travel Insurance policy will provide cover for cancellation costs where the travel destination has reached DFAT Advice of Level 4 – Do Not Travel and was not at this level at the time of booking.

You can check the current DFAT Advice Levels at, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades website.

Fear of travel is not a covered event under a Travel Insurance policy. This includes travel to areas that have known cases of COVID-19 but have not yet reached DFAT Advice Level 4.

The coverage provided on each policy and the position taken by different insurers can vary. If you have concerns, it’s a good idea to contact us.

Important Notice: COVID-19 became a known risk on 24 January 2020, and as such, some insurers may look to decline claims arising from COVID-19 if the trip was arranged on or after 24 January 2020. Whilst not all insurers are taking this position, it should be taken into consideration when making future bookings.

Yes, under specific circumstances.

According to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) COVID-19 can be covered under Section 4 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 as a disease injury. A claim would be successful where the virus is contracted during the course of employment and the employment is found to be the main contributing factor to contracting the disease.

Proof that employment is the main contributing factor is likely to be difficult to determine and each claim would need to be considered on its individual merits and evidence.

Employers are advised to take all appropriate preventative measures to eliminate the risk of employees contracting COVID-19 in the workplace, as with any other workplace health and safety risk.

Where employees are potentially exposed to the virus as part of their employment, employers should provide guidance and assistance to the employee to make a claim for workers compensation.

Should you have further enquiries about Workers Compensation or managing WHS risk in respect to COVID-19, contact us.

While your employee may not be working on your premises, it is still your responsibility to provide a
safe work environment. Therefore, if an employee sustains an injury in the course of their work while
at home, it is likely the injury will be covered by your Workers Compensation policy. Bear in mind
that psychological injury is also claimable under workers compensation.

These considerations only add to the importance of carrying out a safety assessment and continuing
to check in with employees about their mental health and satisfaction, as well as ensuring that you
have appropriate workers compensation insurance in place.

It can at times be very difficult and complicated to prove the injury sustained by the employee was
suffered whilst undertaking work related activities. We recommend you advise employees work from
home arrangements are “temporary” (if this is the case) and normal work practices will resume
when possible. Ensure you have a work from home policy in place and employees are made aware of
it’s content before commencing work from home.

Firstly, in Australia, there are certain people who have the right to request flexible working arrangements and whose employer may only deny such a request on reasonable business grounds.

Under fair work arrangements, an employee is eligible to request a flexible working arrangement if they have worked for the same employer for 12 months and if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • They are a carer
  • They are 55 or older
  • They have a disability
  • They are a parent or are responsible for the care of a child of a certain age range
  • They are a victim of domestic or family violence, or are caring for a member of their immediate family who is suffering from domestic or family violence.

When it comes to the physical health and safety of employees who work from home, it’s important to note that you, as an employer, bear the same responsibility as you would if the employee were in an office environment.

Prior to going ahead with a work-from-home arrangement, employers should be sure that the work area at home meets OHS standards, which would involve a safety assessment of the work area prior to the employee working from home.

For more information read our article What you need to know about employees working from home.

In general, the cover provided by cyber insurance policies will be unaffected, and policies will cover working from home/remote working. Cyber incidents such as phishing emails or inadvertent data leak will continue to be covered as normal. Some insurers may require their policyholders to notify them, so it is prudent to contact us to check your cyber insurance cover is still adequate.

Businesses should continue to follow the advice produced by the Australian Cyber Security Centre to ensure cybersecurity remains at a high level and IT systems are protected during these difficult times.

Business insurance helps to protect business owners and independent professionals against everyday risks, such as accidents in the workplace and associated public liability, stock or premises damage, legal costs and cyber-attacks. There are also some types of insurance that a business is legally obliged to have, such as Workers Compensation and Professional Indemnity.

Even in a time when a business may be unable to operate as usual due to the impacts of COVID-19, it’s important that businesses remain covered for standard risks, many of which may be more likely when the property is unoccupied, such as vandalism of the property, theft of stock or equipment, or even loss of information or damage to IT systems and networks.

It would be a terrible outcome for a business without adequate insurance cover to experience significant damage while temporarily closed, which would delay their ability to get back up and running once permitted to do so.

If a business are required to temporarily close due to government COVID-19 restrictions, selected insurers have introduced degrees of flexibility based on owners being able to evidence that robust risk management and security provisions are in place.

Vacancy coverage limitations may exist within your property policy and these need to be addressed with the carrier as soon as possible.

However, the lifting of travel restrictions will mean that in most cases you are able to resume checking on your unoccupied premises regularly and carrying out normal risk management processes and you should do so unless prevented by any government or local restrictions.

If you are unable to visit your premises, or there are any specific requirements as part of your insurance contract that you are unable or unlikely to be able to comply with (such as on-site security), speak to your broking team.

As the Government ease and remove any lockdowns, a number of businesses are being permitted to reopen. If you are keeping your premises closed, you must get in touch and let us know immediately.

We may need to reassess the empty buildings/unoccupancy cover part of your existing insurance policy, which was originally extended at the start of the pandemic when the enforced lockdown was in place.

By not informing us could leave your business unprotected in the event of a claim.

Subject to terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy, there is a strong position that the policy would respond.

Unfortunately, we are now seeing some new & renewed Liability policies having a Coronavirus Exclusion.

There may be some coverage under certain environmental insurance policies for deep cleaning or decontamination of business premises, but each policy is unique and needs to be individually reviewed.

Before engaging a cleaning services provider, we recommend that you get in touch to confirm whether costs can be recovered under your policy.


Please contact us if you have any concerns relating to your current insurance or if any of the following scenarios apply to you.

Reducing insurance cover.

You have made, or are considering making, changes to your insurance cover, including limits of liability.

Your scope of business activity changes.

Including changes in global exports/imports, online operating systems and remote working arrangements.

You have cash flow concerns.

That are likely to impact your ability to continue trading and/or require structural changes to your business operation.

Maintaining adequate insurance cover and understanding COVID-19 implications

Insurance plays a crucial role in protecting people, businesses and communities against risk, contributing to their long term financial wellbeing.  During times of vulnerability insurance remains essential to business operations and continuity.

When assessing cash flow and other business continuity considerations some businesses may look to reducing limits, adjusting the scope of cover, or cancelling insurance cover altogether.

We strongly recommend contacting your broking team to discuss any material changes to your insurance program. Such changes may expose your business to undue risk and advice should be sought to fully understand the impact of making any decisions.

Key considerations:

It is important to maintain appropriate insurance during this time.  HDL will help answer your questions, address concerns and review any adjustments required to current insurance cover ensuring coverage reflects any changes in the scope of business activity and the prevailing trading conditions.

Regularly monitor state and Federal Government alerts, via their respective websites and social media platforms, to ensure you remain up to date on important legislative and regulatory changes, and updates on economic and financial stimulus packages available to assist you.

Insurance rebates:

  • Undertake Business Interruption declared value reviews and update with insurers.
  • Liability insurance rebates through turnover and operation changes.

Claim insured losses:

  • Prepare and submit claims relating to forced closures from governing bodies
  • Review and settle outstanding claims.

Reduce insurance premiums:

  • Review your objectives, risk tolerance, risk appetite and risk transfer needs including limit reviews to maximise prevailing market conditions.
  • Re-visit Workers Compensation program design and update employment cost estimations.

Improve cashflow:

  • Investigate the use of Surety Bonds to reduce utilisation of bank facilities and improve cash flow.
  • Utilise Premium Finding solutions to improve cash flow

It is important that you have in place suitable practices to ensure employee wellbeing and to protect your changing risk profile, including:

  • Workplace and social distancing strategies.
  • Robust staff communication plans.
  • Working from home assessments, strategy and up skilling manager/supervisors.
  • Workplace infection reduction strategies.
  • Employee Assistance programs and access to advice for those who are financially impacted, including access to Mental Health and Wellbeing resources.

It is important that you stay abreast of your management liability exposures to protect your company and its directors and officers, remembering that actions can be brought against a company, its directors, officers and employees by a number of parties including regulators, employees, competitors, creditors, shareholders, clients and liquidators.

There are several insurance policies that offer protection, including Directors’ and Officers’ Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Statutory Liability Insurance and Crime policies.

Important points to consider:

  • Supply chain disruption and the business impact associated with project delays;
  • Maintaining financial and contractual obligations;
  • Adhering to compliance requirements set out by ongoing legislative and regulatory change.
  • Failure to take appropriate steps to protect employees, which could result in claims due to:
    • An employee becoming infected with COVID-19;
    • Undue stress created by the poor or ineffective management of the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Businesses with variable risk management procedures that impact teams and locations differently, giving rising to a claim of ‘discrimination’;
    • Loss associated with, or arising from, a period of enforced self-isolation;
    • Breach of privacy and/or emotional distress
  • Ensuring comprehensive background checks are undertaken when hiring new employees and that employment contracts include explicit obligations to operate with integrity;
  • Appropriate HR policies and procedures that set out clear expectations on employee conduct and handling of commercially sensitive information;
  • Ensuring anti-bribery and corruption policies and training are in place that outline expected standards of professionalism and integrity;
  • A review of payment / money handling procedures.

The evolving cyber risk

Remote worker access to data and stricter device, user and network identity controls are the modern security threats faced by business. "Trust nothing, verify everything" can serve as a foundation for the evolution of a modern security perimeter, one virtually drawn around each individual user, from anywhere they log on.

Growth in cyber-crime is adversely effecting businesses, with an estimated cost of more than $29 billion per year. 

With the shift to remote working and the need to manage and maintain customer data off-site, businesses are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

If you, or your business, are the victim of a data breach having cyber insurance will generally provide you with an adequate safeguard and expert assistance.  This includes restoring data and/or containing the privacy of company information, which is often more critical in the immediate term from a business continuity perspective than a monetary payout.

Speak to your broking team for more information on how we can help.

Complimentary Review

Complimentary Review

Securing optimal insurance protection is becoming more challenging.

Having a fresh set of eyes can make a dramatic difference.  HDL welcomes the opportunity to evaluate and challenge your current risk and insurance program in a confidential manner that avoids disrupting existing relationships.

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Over 150 Insurers across the globe.

Our Global Insurance Network

Over 150 Insurers across the globe.