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Ebola Exclusions from Commercial Insurance Policies

Written by: Heidi Lawson and Scott Rader

Last week we wrote about a new business interruption insurance policy that is being rolled out to healthcare providers which will provide specific coverage for various Ebola-related losses. This week we note that some business insurers are beginning to specifically exclude Ebola-related losses from their standard commercial insurance policies.  This raises what might seem to be an obvious question:  are Ebola-related losses currently covered by standard business interruption provisions (in which case it would seem redundant for an insurer to specifically add this coverage) or are they currently excluded (in which case it would seem unnecessary for an insurer to specifically exclude it)?  But these apparently opposite reactions can be seen as reflecting a common theme among insurers:  because ambiguities in an insurance contract typically are construed in most jurisdictions against an insured, insurers prefer for their policies to be as explicit as possible (particularly when it comes to exclusions) to ensure that policyholders cannot make a claim for coverage as a result of an ambiguity.  The tendency for insurers to do so highlights why insureds typically should retain counsel to review their policies to make sure their expectations about what will be covered are reflected by their policy’s language.  For more information about how this Ebola exclusion could affect your business or for a more general review of your business’s insurance policies, please contact Scott Rader, Elizabeth Kurpis or Heidi Lawson.

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Theresa advises clients on all aspects of the pharmaceutical supply chain, including counseling industry stakeholders on a range of business, legal, transactional, and compliance matters. She provides clients with strategic counseling and creative business modeling that considers legal restrictions and regulatory risk in light of innovation and business goals.