Strata and owners’ corporations – insurance and risk issues from COVID-19
Strata Managers, we understand, are inundated with queries from tenants and owners as regards abatement of levies amongst other things. We opine that the major issues to OC’s and Managers in the context of COVID-19 will be:
- requests for abatement to levies by owners
- duties to warn of the effect of COVID-19
- ensuring safety of those within the plan
- ensuring that the plan is kept in a good state of repair, including where there may be un-occupancy of some (in particular commercial) tenancies
- dealing with orders of Authorities in the event “evacuations” are ordered.
As you are aware, Strata policies contain a range of covers including material damage, consequential loss, general liability, office bearer’s liability (a form of directors’ and officers’ liability for persons comprising the executive committee) and supplementary legal expenses (cover for OC’s for their costs in pursuing an action).
- Develop and continually communicate to staff, and or make visible to staff, the pandemic plan, see:
- Review the SafeWork Australia Checklist
- WHS & Workers’ Compensation Plan (sample plan prepared by ComCare)
- “How to Keep Workers Safe” poster
- “Know the Signs” poster
- "Stop the Spread” poster
- Note the guidance from Safe Work Australia by industry for those who cannot work from home
- As regards premium relief:
- Premiums are calculated on estimated wages adjusted annually. However, there is the ability to adjust premiums mid-term where there has been a significant change to the business.
- If the wage roll has changed as a result of COVID19 amending your wage declaration ought to provide relief.
- Consideration should be prioritising this activity particularly where workers compensation premium is a large proportion of your overall insurance costs.