The impacts of COVID-19 have stretched beyond the healthcare industry, impacting everything from computer security to construction. Those in the construction industry, whether supply chain vendors, contractors, developers, owners, and others, have all had their businesses affected by the pandemic. The varying requirements across the country for labor suspensions or health and safety practices impact the ability to complete jobs and source materials. As a whole, the construction market continues to face challenges as the world battles COVID-19.
Identifying Between Short and Long-Term Challenges
Some of the problems seemed isolated to the industry so long as COVID-19 was a threat, but as the struggle to contain and eradicate the virus continues, issues with exposure and transmission of COVID-19 still loom large. Employees, subcontractors, and material suppliers may recover from the physical threats, but the interruption to the supply chain or delays in project completion must still be addressed.
Regulatory compliance for a safe and healthy workplace is still an issue and one that continues to evolve. Risk management concerns have grown in light of the new possibilities that long-term illness could plague employees, and subcontractors may not have the needed materials to move forward. Further, supply chain interruption impacts pricing and completion timelines for construction projects. Facing these challenges and protecting against the subsequent liabilities requires experience.
Offering More Than Insurance Advice
As an insurance agent, your area of expertise is insurance. However, your clients will need to be informed of the potential legal complications arising from the COVID-19 fallout. You are not a lawyer, but you can guide them through some of the continuing struggles the construction market is facing. These are just a few of the areas to educate clients on:
- Timely notice: With continued delays likely in sourcing materials or maintaining a healthy workforce, your clients need to be aware of any contractual requirements for notifying partners and participants of changes to the schedule or contract terms.
- Documentation: Any changes that will be made or alterations that can’t be prevented must be documented in great detail, outlining both the impact of changes and any mitigation efforts to combat these effects.
- Delay or poor performance claims: Your clients need to have the force majeure and the frustration of performance language of their contracts more explicitly stated (i.e., coverage of a pandemic as an excusable delay), both for their protection and the project owners.
- Workplace safety: Work environments that are free from recognized hazards capable of causing serious harm or death have new requirements in light of the CDC and local or state standards of protection from COVID-19.
As you prepare to work with your commercial clients for comprehensive coverage, it might take educating them on the lasting impacts of COVID-19. Their insurance plans shouldn’t be reactionary or defensive but more on the offensive against known liabilities.