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Re-Opening Your Business? Here Is A Guide

Re-Opening Your Business? Here Is A Guide
    Source: Canadian Underwriter
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COVID-19 - What The Numbers Say

COVID-19 - What The Numbers Say
    Source: Ontario.ca
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Enhanced Insurance For The Agriculture Industry

Enhanced Insurance For The Agriculture Industry
The world is in the middle of a severe pandemic – with various industries feeling the full wrath of COVID-19 on their workforce and their bottom lines. Yet, if you were to walk into a grocery store today, fresh fruit and vegetables continue to adorn the shelves. How do they get there? The agriculture industry, much like every other industry, has s...uffered at the hands of the virus. There are labour shortages and major gaps in work and travel flow. This has meant that significant numbers of crops have gone unharvested and there has been financial loss for the agri-food industry. To help with these struggles, the governments of Ontario and Canada have stepped in. In agriculture, there are numerous factors that affect the industry which are entirely out of the control of the farmers. This is where the provincial and federal governments have stepped in – in conjunction with the insurance industry – to expand Agriinsurance coverage; in order to help farmers better manage these circumstances. Earlier this year, on the 5th of May, the federal government made a commitment to work with provinces and territories to expand the Agriinsurance program – specifically with expanding coverage to include labour shortages as an eligible risk. What does this mean for the industry? As was mentioned earlier, there have been significant losses for the industry due to farmers not being able to harvest crop off the back of their labour. According to Newsroom, the commitment by the government means that farmers are now insured against production that is lost due to an insufficient workforce. The Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, stated that “during these exceptional times, we fully appreciate just how essential our agri-food workers are to our entire food supply chain.” She continued, “Our Government has been working hard with the provinces and agri-food businesses to ensure those workers have a safe workplace so they can continue putting food on our tables. I congratulate Ontario for being the first province to take this important step that recognizes the hardships Ontario farmers and food producers have faced because of worker shortages, and gives them the added support they need.” On top of the current expansion of coverage, there will be further coverage for producers who are unable to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19. Moreover, the expansion is suspected to also cover illness or quarantine of on-farm labour and producer due to COVID-19. In conclusion, though it is an extremely trying time for the Agriculture industry, those who produce the foods that grace our tables can expect further help from insurance experts and the government. This coming together of different sectors is an encouraging sign of how we can all find success in these difficult times. More
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Temperature Screening & Glove Use - Insurance Industry Advice

Industry sources are telling us that business’s may expose themselves to legal risk if they don’t adhere to all government recommendations to protect their clients and employees from the spread of coronavirus while re-opening, legal professionals warn. As social distancing rules loosen in various parts of the country, businesses are looking for way...s to ensure customers and staff entering their premises are not showing signs of carrying the virus. Some are implementing temperature readings, for example, or mandating the use of gloves. But don’t just rely on just one measure or another, legal experts say. Health and safety measures such as temperature checks and glove use should be used in conjunction with other methods to prevent the transmission of the virus. Screening for temperature and wearing gloves don’t in and of themselves protect clients from liability risks, according to lawyers from Miller Tomson. They have published multiple news bulletins about insurance law developments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Commercial clients have many factors to consider when screening their customers and employees for COVID-19, wrote Karen Weslowski, Vancouver-based partner at law firm Miller Tomson and Stefanie Gladders, an articling student. Debra Curcio Lister, an Edmonton-based partner, cautioned separately that while face coverings have been recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there hasn’t been any guidance on the use of consumer-grade disposable gloves. “To avoid liability, businesses should comply with all of the government’s recommendations upon re-opening in terms of protecting their employees, as well as reducing the spread of COVID-19 among the public,” Curcio Lister wrote. “Such recommendations are subject to change, including the use of gloves, as health agencies learn more about the virus and determine the best ways to combat it. Therefore, it is important that businesses regularly monitor the evolving guidelines and remember that gloves may not protect you from COVID-19 nor liability.” Relying too heavily on one measure could create risk exposure. For example, the purpose of temperature testing is to screen for those who may have a fever, one potential symptom of the virus. The novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Mar. 11. “One of the main problems with using temperature testing as a screening method for COVID-19 is that as many as 50% of carriers are asymptomatic,” Weslowski and Gladders wrote. “This allows them to pass the screening and potentially infect large numbers of other employees or customers.” Another issue around temperature screening is that a fever is not always the first symptom that shows up in those who test positive for COVID-19. Sometimes, it doesn’t develop at all. Therefore, clients shouldn’t be heavily relying on temperature screenings when allowing access to its place of business, Weslowski and Gladders said. “It is only partially effective and should be used in conjunction with other screening methods,” they wrote. Some supermarkets and restaurants open for takeout are using temperature screening. British Columbia’s Restaurant and Foodservices Association proposed temperature screening both guests and staff as part of the recommended measures to safely begin reopening, said Weslowski and Gladders. “However, the chief public health officer of Canada was quick to condemn the idea, citing the ineffectiveness of temperature screening during the SARS outbreak in 2003.” Using gloves is another potential measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, Curcio Lister cited information from the WHO that said wearing gloves in public is not considered an effective way of preventing spread. “First, people often wear the same set of gloves everywhere,” she wrote in the bulletin. “This results in touching various surfaces causing the virus to be transmitted through the gloves to different locations.” Even though the PHAC has included an advisory that employees should wear disposable gloves if they come into contact with infected people or surfaces under its re-opening recommendations, officials maintain that frequent hand-washing is considered the best way to prevent spread, she commented.    Source: CDN Underwriter Magazine More
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Risk Management & Insurance

Restarting a business after coronavirus lockdown – a risk manager's perspective Countries are easing their lockdowns in different ways, but businesses are facing similar challenges to resume their activities. Douglas Barnett, director for mid-market and customer risk management at AXA UK, is back at work after recovering from coronavirus. With his ...team, he has designed a series of guides that give practical advice, sector by sector, on how to restart a business safely. The lockdowns that we`ve been going through, across five continents, are unprecedented. The situation is like nothing people have experienced before; and it is like nothing businesses have experienced before. Of course, some companies close for the holiday, but that usually lasts two weeks – not several months. And summer or festive breaks are very different from entire countries grinding down to a halt, with only key activities being maintained. No entrepreneur has ever had to restart their business amid such human and economic distress. One essential thing that business owners and managers must bear in mind as their local lockdown is eased or lifted: the duties they owe to their employees and customers are not eased, they are enhanced. Businesses need a plan to resume activities in a controlled and safe manner. And if some activities cannot be carried out safely, they should not be undertaken at all. For various reasons, it is unlikely that all staff will come back to work at once. Some may have childcare or transport issues, for instance. Others may need to self-isolate. Or perhaps the business will restart gradually, bringing people in progressively. These restarters will need to be trained, or at least inducted, about the new working arrangements. It is also for business owners to understand and, importantly, to support the mental wellbeing of their staff: many may fear for their own health or their loved ones’, and some may be grieving. PROTECTION AND DISTANCES Businesses need to provide their employees with the right protective equipment, like gloves and masks and perhaps visors. They need to share guidance with them on how to correctly place, wear and remove face masks. If employees already wore PPE before the pandemic, employers must ensure that protective equipment meets the COVID-19 requirements.  The premises may need to be altered or reorganized to allow for greater distance between colleagues. In particular, face-to-face workstations must be avoided. Shift patterns will reduce the number of people present at one time and allow staff to avoid peak travel times. Staggered meal breaks may need to be considered. For deliveries, a new protocol may be needed to reduce contacts. Shops need arrangements for lines, door control to limit the number of people inside, and a one-way flow between narrow aisles. Neighboring shops need to consult each other and find arrangements for their lines not to overlap. HYGIENE Workplaces will want to deep clean their toilets, canteen and other specific areas before reopening, and then implement a thorough regime of sanitizing. Obviously, particular attention should be given to desks, computers and phones – and hot desking could become a thing of the past. Besides, the trash will need to be emptied frequently to avoid a build-up of used gloves and masks. Hand washing is a vital measure, so hot water, soap and paper towels must be available at all times. And hand sanitizer should be available, particularly at points of entry and exit. Shops may want to reduce opening hours to allow for more cleaning before and after receiving customers. Baskets and trolleys should be wiped after every use. And card payments should be encouraged to avoid cash. SECURITY Before restarting after such a long closure, businesses need to run several checks. The building must be inspected for signs of deterioration or damage needing repair. Security installations also need to be checked; they include alarms, CCTV, sprinklers, fire doors and extinguishers. Equipment such as heavy plant needs to go through start-up checks. Water should be reopened slowly to avoid water hammer, which could damage pipes. The taps and showers that have been left unused for weeks need to be run for five minutes to minimize the risk of legionella. Fleet operators need to check their vehicles are road-legal, with safe tires, brakes and levels. Drivers should be confident about their skills and they will need to be trained on revised procedures, including how to work in compliance when at customer premises. SUPPLY CHAIN While the security checks are somewhat similar to what needs to be done after a usual temporary closure, restarting a business after a national or even international lockdown brings about many logistic challenges. A business will need to assess how long its stock levels can last while its supply chain ramps up. It will need to talk with its suppliers, especially if they provide critical spare parts. The priority should be to speak with tier-1 suppliers first and to secure adequate supply for the next six months. If a company uses temporary premises, perhaps to stock more, it will need to tell its broker to arrange appropriate cover. It will need also to take into account its logistics partners’ distribution capacity. Businesses restarting their activities need to take all those precautions – and they need to be able to prove it. They need to document how they’ve assessed the risks, designed the cleaning regime and informed their staff about the new rules. More importantly, they need to put their employees and their customers at the centre of their restart plan. They should consider people’s anxiety about returning to their workplace. And they should understand their customers’ needs, which will likely have changed tremendously.   Source: Insurance Business Magazine More
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