What is MJ’s recommendation on requiring COVID-19 testing?
Concerns with mandating tests are more practical and logistical than insurance-related, as requiring testing is not a guarantee and not thoroughly enforceable on a wide scale. Further, it likely would involve coordination and financial investment to provide and/or require testing before returning to campus at this point. We maintain that it would be difficult to prove negligence in the event one of your members or tenants contracts the virus, even if you did not provide testing. Negligence might come into play if you did not follow through with promised health and safety measures or knowingly expose those in your care; for example, you require testing but do not act on results received. At this time, there is not a virus exclusion on the General Liability policy should this coverage need to come into play.
Unfortunately, this, like so much when it comes to this global pandemic, varies wildly from location to location based on the availability of testing. Even when tests are available, we are hearing that in many places it is taking more than a week to get results. If testing isn’t available for students on campus or nearby, it also may not even be accurate by they time that they move in. For example, if they take the test in their hometown, it only reflects their status at that moment, and they could contract the virus in their travels to campus or even their first night in town. If they take a test five days before they return to school, they may not have the results once they get back.
It is helpful to encourage tests if members feel that they may have been exposed and stress to all of them that it is important that they maintain social distancing when possible and be truthful if they begin to experience symptoms.