Fear escalates as the Coronavirus spreads to 20 countries
UPDATED POST — 30 January 2020
More than 7,000 cases of coronavirus are confirmed in 20 countries, and 170 people have died from the virus. Russia has closed its borders to China, airlines are cancelling flights to the region and governments are warning against non-essential travel. Scientists are working to develop a vaccine, but it could take months. For now, limiting exposure is the best defense. Citizens in and around Wuhan, China have been asked to stay home from school and work in order to limit the spread of the virus.
The concern is also growing among businesses with ties to affected areas. Aside from the health threat, businesses could experience monetary losses associated with travel cancellations, as well as operational and supply chain interruptions. Moreover, many businesses may not have the appropriate insurance coverage for losses associated with an outbreak.
Crawford’s Forensic Accounting Services has developed a white paper to assist companies as they navigate complex outbreak claims.
For assistance, please call your local Crawford office or our regional Crawford Forensic Accounting Services experts. For more information about Crawford Forensic Accounting Services, please visit cfas.global.
Managing Director, Global Technical Services Asia
P: +65 6632 8600
Director, Global Head of Crawford Forensic Accounting Services
P:+61 7 3230 4403
P: +852 2526 5137
Director of Forensic Accounting Services, UK
P: +44 7920 136417
President, Global Technical Solutions
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Chief Client Officer, Global Client Development
P: +44 7919 552624
ORIGINAL POST — 27 January 2020
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was officially identified as a new virus by Chinese authorities on January 7, following reports of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.
According to reports, the number of confirmed cases in China is approaching 3,000, with over 80 related deaths recorded so far. Cases of 2019-nCoV have also been confirmed in 13 other countries (as of January 26) . These include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, and the US.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed five cases in the country, with illnesses recorded in four states: Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington.
As has been reported, travel restrictions into and out of Wuhan are in place and restrictions are being applied to other cities in the region. Monitoring facilities are also in place in international airports around the world as authorities monitor for instances of the virus.
Based on the expectation of further international spread of the disease, the World Health Organization has advised that “all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of the onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection.”
Initial investigations are ongoing into multiple factors relating to 2019-nCoV, including the make-up of the virus itself, how it spreads, how it affects those who contract it, and what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission.
While the initial source of the virus is believed to be animal, it now appears that the virus is able to spread person-to-person. At this early stage, there remains uncertainty as to the speed at which the transmission of the disease can take place.
Symptoms include respiratory problems, fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. To date, the direct impact on infected people has ranged from very mild symptoms to people suffering severe cases of pneumonia and dying.
Authorities are recommending that all nonessential travel to Hubei Province is avoided, with further recommendations that travelers to other parts of China maintain various health precautions, including avoiding close contact with people showing symptoms of respiratory infection, frequently washing hands and avoiding unprotected contact with animals.
Responding to such events forms the duty of care placed on organizations to ensure the health and safety of each and every employee. And while the physical and emotional toll alone can be debilitating, businesses must also take immediate action to mitigate business interruption. During the SARS, MERS and Ebola epidemics, businesses and local economies suffered significant customer losses and supply chain interruptions.  The most common risks include:
- Denial of access
- Travel cancellations
- Employee occupational health for impacted patients traveling on business
- Business income interruption and impact, most notably for hospitality
- Contingent business interruption due to supply chain disruption
Tens and hundreds of billions of dollars in annual losses are at stake during an outbreak. Crawford has considerable experience in working with its clients to help manage the threat of pandemic posed by the spread of viruses such as 2019-nCoV. According to Scott Reichelt, director of Crawford Forensic Accounting Services Asia, “Unfortunately, many claims associated with outbreaks are denied. Companies that kept meticulous records about losses due to travel cancellations and supply chain interruptions are best positioned to recoup losses from their insurance provider.”
He also suggests that companies:
- Enact operational continuity plans
- Understand what is covered under their insurance policies
- Engage with carriers and brokers in order to leverage their tools and knowledge
Most companies and people are on holiday this week due to the Lunar New Year celebrations. Crawford is closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. We will continue to provide updates as developments occur. Should you require further support from Crawford or would like further information on how we can facilitate your response, please contact:
Chief Client Officer, Global Client Development
T: +44 207 265 4041
M: +44 7919 552624
Global President, Global Technical Services
T: + 44 207 265 4096
M: +44 7802 591 040