Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update

With the World Health Organisation declaring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, there is no doubt that this issue is a priority topic for organisations and people around the world. Protecting your people, balance sheet and reputation from the threat of infectious disease is critical to achieving your business objectives. The following information provides a high-level overview of the risk, key strategies for managing the risk and links to range of reference and guidance material.


An outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) acute respiratory disease was first detected in Wuhan, China in mid-December 2019. The disease has spread rapidly, with well over 100,000 confirmed cases in over 100 countries including New Zealand. The challenge this presents the New Zealand Government and Ministry of Health experts is novel as they seek to contain this pandemic. The progress of COVID-19 and the actions of governments, businesses and individuals to put people’s health first is having considerable impact on economic activity and on the operational activities of many businesses in New Zealand.

Government Response

As well as the direct disruption from the disease it is necessary to plan for the impacts of necessary government responses to limit the national impact of the virus. Several measures have already been implemented and more would be expected to follow. It is possible that measures imposed to control the spread present greater challenges to business than the virus itself.

As this is a fluid situation, we recommend you keep informed via the monitoring of government agencies including Safe Travel, the Ministry of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). To better understand the overall NZ government strategy, refer to the Ministry of Health pandemic response plan here. As well as Government  directed action, businesses will also be affected by responses from suppliers and customers, supply chains and service providers. 

How does the coronavirus outbreak affect my insurance policies?

Travel Insurance

The most direct impact is on travel insurance with all providers now issuing policy notices that remove or restrict cover for travel to affected regions.

There are individual insurer restrictions so please ensure you contact your Aon broker with any questions.

All other types of insurance

In many cases policy exclusions for events relating to infectious or contagious disease may apply meaning that cover is not available. Please refer to your Aon broker who can review and advise based on your individual situation.

Cyber risk

Be aware that cyber criminals are using the fear of COVID-19 to exploit people. Please see the latest alert from central government here.

Talk to your local Aon Insurance Broker


Mitigating the risk of COVID-19

To manage the disruption of a pandemic, the following are proven strategies for businesses:

  • Understand your vulnerability - how could your business be impacted.
  • Remain alert and ready to act and ready to adapt as the situation evolves.
  • Focus on accurate, factual and objective data.
  • Assess options and potential strategies. Be flexible and openminded. Test and question assumptions.
  • Develop plans to manage and mitigate the risks.
  • Review and test your business continuity management plan and pandemic response plans. Be able to react quickly.
  • Prepare and implement your communication strategy.
  • Review and communicate policy and practices around leave, working from home, hygiene planning and other factors.

Business Continuity Management

The current focus for businesses is to manage the immediate risk through maintaining awareness of the situation and continuing to develop plans for the potential escalation in severity. Given the potentially short time frames, the approach needs to be pragmatic. As the situation evolves, the focus and strategies will adapt.  


Aon New Zealand's Risk Management Services team are here to help. Find out more about the BCP services available to you here.

Aon's Infectious Disease Response Task Force has established a global resource site to support organisations in mounting effective infectious disease (pandemic) response and in planning for impacts that may confront businesses, their employees and the communities in which businesses operate and employees reside. Visit Aon's Coronavirus Disease Response Site here. The following links provide guidance documents to support businesses in implementing these response strategies.

Contact our local Business Continuity Management specialists for more assistance



This website contains general information only and does not take into account your individual needs or financial situation. It is important to note that limits, excesses, terms and conditions and exclusions apply to the products and services outlined on this website. Please refer to the relevant policy documents for details of cover, the provision of which is subject to the insurer’s underwriting criteria that apply at the time. Please contact us if you have any questions.