food & drink

Insure against anything?

When someone is robbed or has an accident, the usual question is, 'Are you insured?' If you want to give a garden party in July the rain insurance will obviously cost you less than for the same purpose in January. But what about business insurance? Not the premises or the fleet of motor vehicles, but unusual events that affect the businesses' profitability? Such as a pandemic.

A group of US restaurant owners paid millions in insurance premiums over the years to cover any eventuality that could prejudice their bottom line. Referred to as Business Interruption Insurance, there can be no disputing that every occupation has been disrupted big-time by the coronavirus.

But apparently the companies argue that insuring against a pandemic virus is impossible, and although a claim would be accepted if there were an actual virus in, for example, a restaurant kitchen causing a closedown, this would be a specific identifiable issue.

What the restaurants claim is that it is all part of a dastardly plan, whereby all US restaurants, whether insured or not, will lobby the government for a nationwide bail-out, avoiding insurers having to pay individual claims.

While this class of insurance is the norm in the States, in Spain it is highly unusual for a restaurant to have such cover. Loss of profits for any reason must be qualified with facts and figures, but a general suspension of all activity is not envisaged to any degree, so, the insurers maintain, this cannot qualify for a payout.

If potential customers are stopped from frequenting restaurants by a pandemic, this has to be declared as such by the country's government, something that has happened globally but not nationally.