Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources   

What resources are available to help small businesses during this crisis?

The Federal Government has passed sweeping legislation to aid small businesses during the pandemic.    We have compiled some resources here that may be helpful.

  • The US Chamber of Commerce has provided a Small Business Survival Guide with tons of useful information on the numerous government programs that are now available to assist small businesses.   Click here.
  • For an easy-to-follow guide and checklist on navigating the recently passed CAREs Act, please click here.
  • The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has comprehensive information on grants and loans.  Click here.
  • The State of NJ has provided an Emergency Assistance Eligibility Wizard to help determine if you qualify for aid.  Click here.
  • NJ also has a convenient Grant Estimator tool to help see what grants you might qualify for.   Click here.
  • The NJ Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) has a resource center with comprehensive Coronavirus information.  Click here.
  • For information about Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.
  • The Department of Labor provides a number of Coronavirus resources on their site, located here.

I am Self-Employed, an Independent Contractor or a "gig" worker who is not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits. Is there any program that can help replace my income lost due to COVID-19?

Yes.  Assistance is available to self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig and platform workers who are impacted by COVID-19 through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and possibly the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  We have provided links to two downloadable guides below to help you understand what benefits are available and how to apply for them.

If you are a self-employed worker, independent contractor, gig or platform worker please read both documents before applying for Unemployment Insurance benefits.  Additional information is available on the Department of Labor’s website.

Does the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allow my business to receive a loan to cover my Property and Casualty Insurance Premiums? Are my premium payments forgiveable under the program?

Yes, these loans are available to cover numerous expenses including your Property and Casualty insurance premiums.  It is critical to maintain your business insurance whether or not your business is presently operating since you can still sustain losses from fire, wind, burglary, and other covered perils.

Will the loan amount used for insurance premiums be forgiven?   We believe that is the intent of the program.  To view a letter from Senator Tim Scott to the SBA confirming this, please click here.

What is Farmers Insurance Company of Flemington doing to ensure business continuity during the Coronavirus pandemic?

We have taken a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees and our ability to continue to serve our Policyholders during the pandemic.

  • We have cancelled all our scheduled continuing education classes and other group events. We are also asking everyone including Policyholders and vendors to refrain from unnecessary visits to our office.
  • We have implemented a moratorium all business-related travel and we are minimizing in-person interactions with the public to the extent possible.
  • We have installed hand sanitizer dispensers at all entrances to our facility as well as in key areas of the building such as near dining areas and conference rooms.
  • We provide our employees with a generous sick leave program and we have asked any employee who exhibits symptoms to report them immediately and to refrain from coming to work.
  • Approximately half of our staff is telecommuting, particularly those who have medical issues that might make them more vulnerable to the virus. For employees whose jobs require their physical presence in the office, we are practicing social distancing and encouraging proper hand-washing and sanitary procedures.
  • We have provided CDC guidance to our staff and tenants regarding proper hand-washing and respiratory etiquette.  To learn more about how to avoid COVID-19, click here.

We will continue to monitor the situation and we will take any necessary steps to ensure we are available to serve our Policyholders during this pandemic.   That said, some services may be delayed or prohibited by government intervention including travel restrictions or quarantines.   We will make every effort to find workarounds in these situations and we appreciate your understanding.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hardship Accommodations   

I have suffered a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but my insurance premium is due. Is there anything Farmers can do to help me?

Many of our Policyholders have been adversely impacted by the government shutdown of their businesses and places of employment.   Farmers of Flemington has provided accommodations to our Policyholders since the pandemic began and we will continue to do so.   Rest assured, we will work with you to ensure you do not lose your important insurance coverage during this crisis.

If you have suffered a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will gladly adjust your payment plan to better spread your remaining payments over the balance of your policy term.   We will also work with you and your Independent Agent to adjust your policy as your circumstances change to ensure you have the right coverage for your situation.

If you simply cannot afford to make a payment right now due to circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, Farmers of Flemington will provide a 90-day grace period for your upcoming premium payments.  There are two options available.  You may:

  • Begin the 90-day grace period retroactively back to April 1, 2020
  • Begin the 90-day grace period on May 1, 2020

During the grace period, we will not cancel your policy for non-payment of premium, nor will we charge any late fees, interest or penalties.  Once the grace period has expired, the amount due on your policy will be spread across the balance of the policy term.

To apply for a hardship accommodation, please use the request form located here.

In these difficult times, Farmers of Flemington remains committed to putting our Policyholders first.   We will get through this together and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.

Stay well,

The Farmers of Flemington
Account Services Team

I am a commercial policyholder and my exposure to risk has been reduced due to the government-ordered shutdown. Can Farmers help adjust my policy to reduce my premium?

Farmers of Flemington has been providing accommodations to our affected Policyholders since the pandemic began and we will continue to do so.   If your business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will work with you and your Independent Agent to adjust your policy as your circumstances change to ensure you have the right coverage for your situation.  If you believe your insurance exposure has changed we recommend you discuss your situation with your Independent Agent.  They can review your situation in detail and advise you as to whether you might be eligible for a reduction or refund of premium.

In these difficult times, Farmers of Flemington remains committed to putting our Policyholders first.   We will get through this together and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.

Stay well,

The Farmers of Flemington
Account Services Team

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Coverage Questions  

If my business is forced to close due to the Coronavirus pandemic, am I covered for loss of business income?

Coverage is typically not available for losses arising from viruses or other pathogens.

Business interruption coverage is specifically designed to work hand-in-hand with the main coverages within the policy.  If you have a covered direct physical loss to the premises such as a fire or wind damage, that forces your business to close then business interruption coverage would apply.  The coverage is not meant, nor is it priced, to cover every possible reason why a business may need to close.  Losses arising from infectious diseases do not involve any physical damage to the insured premises and do not constitute a direct physical loss so coverage would not be triggered.   Also, this type of loss is specifically excluded under all typical small commercial policies, including ours.

To view the exclusion found in your Commercial Property or Businessowners policy, please click here.

If you have reviewed your policy and feel the policy terms do not preclude coverage given your particular circumstances, please do not hesitate to file a claim.  We will review each claim carefully to ensure you are afforded any coverage that may be available under your specific policy.

If I normally rent my secondary home out during the summer season and I am unable to do so this year because of the Coronavirus, can I file a loss of use claim?

Coverage is typically not available for losses arising from viruses or other pathogens.

The loss of use coverage provided by your policy is designed to work hand-in-hand with the main coverages of the policy.   If you have a covered direct physical loss, such as a fire, that damages your premises and prevents you from renting it for the season, the Loss of Use coverage would apply.   The coverage is not meant, nor is it priced, to cover every possible reason why you might not be able to rent your property. Losses arising from infectious diseases do not involve any physical damage to the insured premises and do not constitute a direct physical loss so coverage would not be triggered.   Additionally, all standard personal lines policies, like your policy, specifically exclude coverage for losses involving viruses or other pathological agents.

If your policy isn’t handy and you would like to read the applicable terms, please click here.

If you have reviewed your policy and feel the policy terms do not preclude coverage given your particular circumstances, please do not hesitate to file a claim.  We will review each claim carefully to ensure you are afforded any coverage that may be available under your specific policy.

If I am sued by someone who claims they caught Coronavirus at my place of business or home, am I covered?

No.    There is no third-party coverage for losses arising out of the Coronavirus pandemic or any other loss involving acquisition or transmission of any communicable disease.    These types of risks are excluded under most personal lines and small commercial policies.

If you do not have your policy handy and wish to read the applicable terms, please click here for personal lines or here for commercial lines.

If you have had a claim made against you that you feel should be covered based on your particular circumstances, please do not hesitate to file a claim. We will review each claim carefully to ensure you are afforded any coverage that may be available under your specific policy.

Why doesn't Farmers cover losses from a virus pandemic?

Insurance is meant to cover isolated, unforeseen incidents that create a risk to an individual or business.  A sustained, global incident such as a pandemic that affects every person and every business simultaneously is not an insurable event simply because its impact is too widespread and too damaging.  There is no way to anticipate, quantify, or price, such a risk.

In fact, the estimated losses from this pandemic are already enough to bankrupt the entire property and casualty insurance industry, if they were covered.  That is exactly why coverage is excluded.   Most policies also exclude losses from war, nuclear incidents and the like for the same reason.  These are all uninsurable risks.

 

SO, WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
The only entity large enough to respond to the nationwide impact of a pandemic, both physically and financially, is the federal government.   Steps have already been taken to provide access to funds to aid small businesses and more work is being done.   FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, exists to handle crises such as this and it already has the necessary mechanism in place to get funds directly to those who need them as does the IRS.   This is a national crisis that must be addressed by our government on a national level.

 

This whitepaper from APCIA and Dr. Robert Hartwig, Director of the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business explains why losses from a pandemic like COVID-19 cannot be covered by the private insurance industry.  Click here to view: 

Disclaimer:  These questions and answers are not intended to be exhaustive and do not constitute financial, legal or professional advice.   The information, however, is intended to be helpful and informative.  We hope it will assist you to ask the right questions or help determine whether you have a need for professional advice.