Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survival Guide for the Transportation Industry

The start of 2020 not only brought a new year, but it also brought a new decade. The saying, ‘new year, new me’ is often used when people are preparing their new year’s resolutions lists – things they want to accomplish within the next 365 days. Oftentimes, people and businesses will set goals for themselves that they hope to achieve by the same time the following year. One thing no business expected or planned with the start of the new decade was to be hit with a mysterious pneumonia-like virus outbreak known as the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

 

COVID-19 is Declared a Worldwide Pandemic

The amount of cases due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and around the world continues to increase daily. As a result, the World Health Organization has declared the novel COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. As of Thursday, March 26th, 2020, 1:13 P.M. E.T., the coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 489,500 people, according to official counts. The New York Times reports that at least 21,975 people have died, more than half of which were outside of mainland China. There is also evidence that the virus has reached six continents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against all non-essential travel throughout most of Europe, and to South Korea, China, and Iran. Moreover, the CDC has warned older and at-risk Americans to avoid travel to any country out of the United States.

The New York Times has created a Coronavirus map to track the global outbreak, which can be seen here. As the map below shows, more than 171 countries have reported cases of infected people.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Map Tracking the Global Outbreak.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Map Tracking the Global Outbreak from The New York Times.

 

Coronavirus in the United States

The number of known coronavirus cases in the United States continues to grow quickly as well. As of Thursday, March 26th, 2020, 1:13 P.M. E.T., the number of known cases of the coronavirus in the United States exceeded 75,000 cases of coronavirus confirmed by lab tests as testing expanded and the virus spread. There are at least 75,178 people across all 50 states, plus Washington D.C., and three U.S. territories, that have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the New York Times database. In addition, at least 1,069 patients with the virus have died. The New York Times has created a Coronavirus map to track the reported cases in the United States, which can be seen here.

United States map of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
United States map of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak from The New York Times.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND ITS IMPACT ON BUSINESSES

Businesses During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

More state and private labs in the United States have begun running tests for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in recent days, which has increased the capacity to identify new patients. In previous weeks, there have been weeks of delays and test kit shortages. As the United States scrambles to understand the extent of an escalating public health crisis, life in many states has become standstill. With people told to social distance to help ease the pandemic and contain the outbreak, governors have ordered schools and businesses to close. Gatherings, meetings, concerts, festivals, and sporting events have been canceled. Amusement parks, movie theaters, bars, clubs, and restaurants have closed. Gyms in several states are being ordered to close as officials have decided that rooms full of people working out and breathing hard is too risky. Grocery stores and other retailers that sell food or basic supplies are staying open with limited hours to allow for cleaning and restocking of store shelves. The fast-spreading virus has put a halt on daily activities like date nights and eating out. Essentially all activities that involve crowds have been paused. In some places, residents have even been ordered to stay inside.

In addition to the illnesses and deaths associated with the COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus has begun impacting daily life as well as businesses across a multitude of industries. Large businesses like Apple, Nike, Patagonia, and thousands of others have started shutting down in the nation’s largest cities — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Moreover, many smaller businesses around the nation have also shut down.

“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27,” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. Stores in China are reopening as that country says it has contained the outbreak. “One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” he said.

America’s economy has begun to shut down as pandemic measures take hold. With this halt, also comes a halt to economic activity. In California, for instance, the state has begun enacting extreme measures to prevent the virus from spreading even more. A shelter-at-home order has been put in place in which residents were told not to go out for three weeks except to meet “essential needs.”

Despite the White House advising all Americans to practice social distancing, the number of coronavirus cases in the US continues to rise. So governors across the nation are taking stronger action by issuing stay-at-home orders in their states. By Wednesday, March 25th, when all 12 current state orders take effect, 126,800,466 people, or 39% of the US population, will be officially urged to stay home. The following states have implemented stay-at-home orders: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. Under these orders, comes various rules with what residents can and cannot do. Taking a walk, riding a bike and being out in nature for exercise is allowed, however, but people should stay at least 6 feet away from others. Moreover, all nonessential businesses are to close and restaurants are only to offer take-out, delivery or drive-thru. With people being told to social distance themselves to help ease the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, businesses across the nation have been forced to rapidly adapt their business models and marketing. So it leaves the question, what can a business do to adapt and market themselves during the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

How Businesses Should Plan for and Respond to the COVID-19 Virus

The CDC has advice on how businesses can plan for and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The following recommended strategies are for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • If your business is still open, it’s extremely important that employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Don’t require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • The CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. 
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, and desks can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
Infographic of How Businesses Should Plan for and Respond to the COVID-19 Virus
How Businesses Should Plan for and Respond to the COVID-19 Virus.

Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

The CDC also recommends that all employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly. Employers should:

  • Ensure the infectious disease outbreak response plan is flexible. It would also be a smart idea to involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees.
  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.

For more recommendations in planning, preparing, and responding to the Coronavirus as an employer, be sure to check out the CDC’s strategies and guidelines here.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY

Coronavirus’ Impact on the Transportation Industry

The transportation industry is no exception when it comes to industries that have had to adapt during these times. Travel to and throughout the United States has quickly dropped in recent days, driven by concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. On March 11th, President Donald Trump announced a month-long ban on most non-U.S. citizens traveling from Europe in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus — and on March 14th said the ban will extend to the United Kingdom and Ireland — although the move has been criticized as ineffective at stopping a virus that is already in the U.S.

Trump’s orders follow a widely-reported trend of people across and the U.S. and the world canceling or reducing travel plans in an attempt to limit their risk of contracting COVID-19. This practice of self-isolation, known as social distancing, has already had an impact on many major forms of mass transportation across the U.S. and internationally. This has caused major changes within the travel and transportation industries both for the workforce as well as the public. 

Tips on How People in the Transportation Industry Can Protect Themselves

Do you work in the transportation industry? Need ways to protect yourself during the pandemic? Want some ideas on how you can still work and generate revenue while making adjustments to your policy to save money when business is down? American Business Insurance Services, Inc. has plenty of ideas to help you. 

  • Advertise frequent cleaning and disinfecting of cars 
  • Advertise precautions taken by drivers
  • Explore other ways drivers can generate revenue using their vehicles
    • Food delivery
    • Package delivery 
    • Taking elderly to and from necessary doctors appointments 
    • Taking people to and from hospitals 
    • Taking elderly or people in urban areas to where public transportation and even Uber and Lyft shut down to grocery stores and pharmacies, etc. 

American Business Insurance Services, Inc.’s Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

At American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we are closely following the Coronavirus pandemic nationwide and across the world. We want to let you know we are currently corresponding with all of our partnered insurance carriers on what they can offer to help you in this time of need. It’s a fluid situation, changing daily and we are adapting as we go.

How American Business Insurance Services, Inc. is Helping to Offset the Financial Crisis

At American Business Insurance Services, Inc. our number one priority is to keep our employees and customers safe, happy, and healthy. With that being said, we’ve taken several measures to help ensure our customers are taken care of during this time. Here are some of the efforts we as an agency are taking to help offset the financial crisis:

  • Fleets can delete vehicles and leave only 1 on the policy (or just the amount on they need operating right now). If all vehicles are parked, we recommend they keep 1 on to keep the policy active – then add rest when they are ready.
  • To save money, fleet owners can temporarily surrender their medallion to the operating city/state and drop limits to the state minimum while the vehicle is sitting.
  • If an insured is going out of business (either temporarily or permanently) – they will most likely approve a pro-rata cancellation (no penalty for canceling early)
  • Payment extensions/special arrangements
  • Remove drivers that are being surcharged
  • Some carriers are reducing premiums temporarily

 

HOW DIFFERENT SERVICES IN THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY HAVE BEEN AFFECTED

EMERGENCY VEHICLES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Emergency vehicle insurance is an essential financial protection in case you get into an accident that leaves you liable for damage, or in case your vehicle gets stolen or damaged by another person. As long as your insurance is active and you are making your premium payments on time, you will continue to be protected. 

However, given the global COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that cities and states across the nation are beginning to require mandatory curfews and business closings, you might be wondering how your emergency vehicle insurance will be affected, or even if you should drop some of your coverage in order to save on your premiums. That said, if you plan on driving at all you should keep your vehicle insurance as is — most states require vehicle insurance to legally drive on public roads.

Many people are concerned about how the coronavirus outbreak will affect their insurance policies, whether it be life insurance, travel insurance, or health insurance. Your emergency vehicle insurance may be affected, but not when it comes to your premiums (unless you cancel your policy or change your coverage). What will likely be affected during the coronavirus pandemic is how you interact with your insurance company. For example, meetings with a claims adjuster may be virtual instead of in person, or there may be longer wait times to speak to agents from your car insurance company.

For the most part, your emergency vehicle insurance is not going to change during the COVID-19 pandemic, unless you make changes to your policy. Although there may be fewer people out-and-about during this time, you should probably keep your emergency vehicle insurance policy as-is. With increased numbers of cases nationwide, many people may need to start turning to emergency vehicles to transport them to hospitals, especially if restrictions on leaving one’s home continue. 

 

THE SHIPPING AND DELIVERY INDUSTRY DURING COVID-19

How is the Shipping and Delivery Industry Affected by COVID-19?

Within the transportation industry, the shipping and delivery industry has been harshly affected. The coronavirus outbreak is hitting both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach extremely hard. “First, we have the trade war, which was severely affecting our volumes,” said Phillip Sanfield, spokesperson for the Port of LA. “Now with that comes the coronavirus. We are now looking at a 25% volume decline in February of this year versus February of 2019.”

This is a massive economic generator, as they are the two biggest ports in the western hemisphere. With both ports combined, the San Pedro Bay Port Complex is the ninth biggest port in the world. According to Weston Labar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, “40% of all of the goods flowing in and out of this country come through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.” Labar also stated that over 18,000 truckers service the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which is an unprecedented amount in the country. According to Sanfield, over 100,000 people work on the waterfront. One in nine jobs in Southern California is associated with the ports in some way. “That’s about one million jobs when you look at directly and indirectly related,” Sanfield said. “That’s a major impact.”

In late February, Shippers Transport Express alerted 145 drivers who work at the port of Los Angeles that they would be reducing hours beginning February 28, because of the decreased volumes of cargo moving through the port at the time. Ron Herrera, the director of the Teamsters Union Port Division of the Western Region, told TIME on March 13 that roughly 30% of those drivers have been allowed to keep driving. He said the decreased hours are driven by the low volume of cargo coming from Asia. ABC 7 reported that Phillip Sanfield, a spokesperson for the Port of LA, said that they saw a roughly 25% decline in volume in February 2020 compared to February 2019. 

A spokesperson for Shippers Transport Express told TIME in an email on March 13, “We have in good faith worked to alert our workers to the reduced volume situation facing our industry as a result of the [coronavirus].”

“We’ve informed [drivers] that we will be providing hours as volume arrives and we have more work. Hopefully, volume returns to normal shortly and we will have volume and hours for all our drivers. This will be done on a seniority basis, as hours materialize, which is the Teamster’s process,” he continued.

One of those workers is 35-year-old Wendy Cruz, who has driven for Shippers Transport Express for four years and told TIME on March 13th that she’s “definitely” worried about job security going forward. “We don’t know what’s going to happen,” she explained, “And I recently just purchased a home.” Herrera told TIME on March 13th that the Teamsters Union anticipates more layoffs because of low manufacturing rates in China. “I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom of this yet,” he says. As NBC News reports, some economists say the coronavirus could have a bigger effect on U.S.-China trade than the Trump-era trade war did.

How is the Shipping and Delivery Industry Affected by COVID-19

Delivery Insurance with American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Every business that transports an item for a fee should have commercial delivery insurance. From owner-operator sized businesses to large fleets, our agency has a market that suits the needs of your company. At American Business Insurance Services, Inc., our agency features a proprietary management system that is specific to all types of business auto companies and delivery is not an exception. Whether you have been in operation for 30 years, or you are brand new in business, getting covered is easy. We shop all the current competitive markets for you. All you need to do is sit back and wait while we handle the work. 

Because you’ve chosen to deliver goods for a fee, your business auto coverage technically falls into the “Livery” classification. Not all insurance carriers can cover this type of transportation so it’s important that you get the proper policy in place. Your business has entered an agreement with your client to get what they have and get it where it needs to go. Because your vehicle and driver are under contract, just any old auto policy will not do. Our licensed brokers are well-versed in where to shop your application to get the most competitive pricing on the proper policy type. Delivery vehicles tend to be on the road more often than other business categories and therefore the risk must be assessed properly. Here’s an introduction to the types of coverage that commonly apply to a delivery business:

  • Auto Liability: Covers passengers in other vehicles as well as pedestrians that may be injured by your employee/drivers up to the bodily injury limits listed on your policy.
  • (Auto) Property Damage: Covers damage to property caused by your employed vehicle operator up to the limits listed on the policy.
  • Comprehensive & Collision: Covers small damage to your owned vehicle as well as theft, total destruction, fire and other causes of loss up to the current value of your vehicle. A deductible typically applies.
  • Personal Injury or Medical Coverage: Covers the driver up to the amount listed on the policy for damage to self if they cause the accident. This amount can be used towards medical bills or towards the deductible on the driver’s own health insurance if they have that coverage.
  • Cargo Coverage: Specific to the delivery sector, the type of cargo that you are hauling and how much it is worth is very important in ensuring you have proper coverage. This ensures that what you are transporting gets where it needs to go without the worry of theft, fire, or other associated risks.
  • Other business insurance products such as General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, and Business Owner’s Policies are also available.

 

THE FOOD BUSINESS INDUSTRY AND DELIVERY DURING COVID-19

How Food Businesses Nationwide are Handling Coronavirus

Since the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. was officially confirmed last month, restaurants and food businesses around the country have been affected in various ways. As the virus continues to spread, many restaurants have been forced to close their doors and only allow for take-out and deliveries. As food companies navigate a changing delivery landscape due to the coronavirus outbreak, they’ve been responding with tweaks to make customers feel safer. As people continue social distancing in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, many restaurants, and fast-food chains have switched to a “to-go only” model. More and more people are turning to delivery so they don’t have to go to stores. Those who are used to simply grabbing their box of pizza or bag of takeout may see some changes in the coming days and weeks to combat the spread of the COVID-19. Every company will be handling things a bit differently, but most are following a ‘contactless delivery’ and/or ‘tamper-proof’ plan. 

Contactless Delivery

To stay afloat during these times, restaurant businesses and delivery services have begun implementing ‘contactless delivery,’ to further prevent spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between delivery drivers and customers. Customers and drivers alike have expressed concerns about the increased risk of infection from contact with each other. Reinvented menus, lowered prices, fire sales, and the good old telephone are enlisted in the fight to survive the coronavirus crisis. More delivery companies, such as Grub, UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, and Seamless, are offering contactless delivery.

On March 6th, Postmates announced that they’d be introducing Dropoff Options which gives their customers the ability to specify how they’d like to receive deliveries. Customers can choose to meet their Postmate at the door, as they have before, meet curbside, or go non-contact and have deliveries left at the door. Moreover, the grocery delivery service Instacart added the “Leave at My Door Delivery” option for contactless delivery on March 6th as well. Furthermore, Doordash customers can text a photo of where they’d like their food to be left while Grubhub and Seamless customers have been encouraged to contact drivers directly with delivery instructions.

Contactless delivery’ is a new term that has rippled through the restaurant business since the virus outbreak. The concept is quite simple. The kitchen prepares food that is then boxed up and sent out to an address where a gloved messenger quietly deposits it at the door. The hungry customer and the person making the delivery keep a safe distance between them, abiding by the social distancing rules instated by the U.S. government. It’s not the kind of service with a smile that the hospitality industry prides itself on. But for thousands of restaurants across the country, ordered to close their dining rooms to slow the spread of the coronavirus, contactless delivery may be their only chance to stay open and avoid wholesale layoffs. From corner diners to world-class restaurants, operations have shifted their focus on delivery and pickup orders. 

For restaurants, contactless delivery and contactless curbside pickup, are components of a new hygiene protocol that has been adopted alongside old routines, on the fly and despite advice from health departments that can be unclear, contradictory, or nonexistent. Kitchens that are accustomed to worrying about the temperature of the walk-in refrigerator now check all employees for fevers. Gloves, once scorned by serious cooks, are suddenly a necessity. To say the least, the restaurant and delivery business has changed quickly and rapidly in response to the virus.

Tamper-Proof or Tamper-Evident Delivery

Some companies like Chipotle have gone even further, offering a “new, tamper-evident packaging seal to help ensure food is untouched during delivery.” This usually looks like a special seal or sticker and is meant to give customers some peace of mind that nothing has gotten in—or out—since their food was dispatched.

How Does This Impact Delivery Workers?

It’s no secret that many of these policies were put in place because of increased demand for delivery following news of the coronavirus outbreak. Gig workers for food delivery and ride-hailing apps are bracing for the spread of coronavirus. This is a great way for drivers looking for extra income while taxi and traditional transportation are down. But because their jobs require on-demand service to dozens of strangers every day — and don’t provide health insurance or other benefits — contractor workers are nervous about how an outbreak could impact them and put them at risk. While some of these options can protect drivers in addition to customers (for example, drivers who don’t come to your door will decrease their risk of coming into contact with someone who could be sick, too), many drivers are understandably still concerned about working during the coronavirus outbreak, and some have stopped working altogether.

Many delivery companies have issued guidelines for workers during the outbreak, as Business Insider pointed out, and many of those same workers have taken additional precautions to keep themselves safe. Drivers and delivery workers for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash told Business Insider they’re scouring their cars with bleach and cutting back on hours — and that they’re unsure what they’ll do if the outbreak gets worse. Even so, if you do opt for delivery during the outbreak, consider using non-contact services, especially if you or someone you’ve come in contact with has been ill. Practice good hygiene, especially hand-washing, be kind, and as always, tip well!

Short-Term Policies for Restaurants Offering Delivery During COVID-19

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, the impact businesses are facing is unprecedented with never before seen restrictions on daily life. With prevention and containment efforts well underway, restaurants are being hit hard by governmental authorities restricting access to their business and only allowing takeout and delivery at this time. Faced with this new challenge many insureds are not prepared to offer delivery options but are working hard to adapt their business.

Our agency has access to a new program for HNO geared toward restaurant delivery. It offers a new specialized product to cover restaurants now offering a delivery option to its customers. This program is written by an A.M. Best rated “A” X carrier and can accommodate a wide range of classes that have been affected by COVID-19. 

Product highlights include:

  • Monoline coverage
  • 3 or 6-month policy
  • In-house authority for quick turnaround
  • Non-auditable policy
  • Limit options of $300K, $500K, $1M CSL
  • Deductible $2,500
  • Offering short term policies starting at $1,500
  • MVR screening service provided 
  • Symbols 8 & 9 commercial auto liability
  • No restrictive warranties
  • Available in all states except MI

Submissions:

  • Application
  • Drivers list required
  • Location schedule if more than one location

Insurance for Delivery Businesses During COVID-19

First off, to ease your mind a bit, the FDA’s current position is that “there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19.” Furthermore, they went on to say that there is “no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.” As always, as long as the food is prepared safely, there isn’t a huge risk. Essentially, your major risk of dining within a restaurant is touching a table, counter, or other surfaces that someone who is contagious may have touched. So ordering takeout and delivery is definitely a safer option that dining in. Because Delivery Businesses have become so important during this outbreak, it’s important for employers to get insurance for delivery businesses.

 

CANNABIS DELIVERY DURING COVID-19

How is the Cannabis Industry Affected by COVID-19?

As the world finds itself immersed in the largest public health crisis of our lifetimes, the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the main topics of discussion at this time is how the novel coronavirus is disrupting life for every American and most across the globe. With the nation’s rapid shift into social distancing and isolation, the U.S. economy has seen dramatic changes. Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, the cannabis industry and reform movement are just as important to mention during this difficult time. The reality is that the coronavirus’ impact on our economy and society is also impacting cannabis, with the effects likely to get significantly worse in the coming weeks and potentially months. 

How is Cannabis Delivery Affected by COVID-19?

One niche that has seen significant growth in recent days is the cannabis sector, especially companies like Curaleaf (OTC:CURLF), and Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF). If you are a fleet owner for cannabis delivery, this is a very important time to pay special attention to what’s happening around you. 

During the week that ended March 13, retail locations across the country’s largest legal cannabis market, California reported increasing delivery sales. Employees at privately held Ganja Goddess, a delivery service provider operating in California, say they have seen a 10% increase in sales each week for the past three weeks. California declared a state of emergency on March 4 after reporting the state’s first death from a COVID-19 infection. In Florida, another state where Curaleaf and Cresco have significant operations, Governor Ron DeSantis on March 7 increased the state of emergency from level one to level two.

Cannabis Delivery Insurance with American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

If you’ve been shopping for cannabis delivery insurance, then you’ve probably discovered that this line of coverage is not easy to find. Although cannabis itself is still federally illegal, in the United States, it is legal that it is legal to open and run a cannabis business – insurance products are not always readily available or affordable. Then, once you do find it, the quoting and binding process can be stressful – especially if you are not working with an experienced broker.

During this time of booming sales, cannabis delivery insurance will be especially important. At American Business Insurance Services, Inc., our agency has 36 years of experience in transportation insurance. Because of this rich history in a niche line of business, we have access to carrier programs and underwriter relationships that other agencies do not. Also, we specialize in business auto insurance so we’ve been able to streamline our staff, management system, and the customer experience in a way that will make running your business much easier. 

When we saw that cannabis was becoming legal in more and more states, we decided it was time to offer an insurance product that would make the most sense for our agency, as well as you, the customer. That’s why we decided to focus exclusively on cannabis delivery insurance because it’s so closely related to what we already specialize in (transportation). We are extremely familiar with this line of business. We shop every carrier that writes cannabis delivery insurance and presents the options in a way that makes sense and is easy to understand. Once you are ready to place the coverage, we will bind the policy and have certificates and ID cards to you the same day. The simplicity doesn’t stop there. Once you have your coverage in place with us, you’ll receive a customer login so that you can view all important aspects of your policy, add or delete vehicles and drivers, print ID cards, print proof of coverage, check your current billing status, and more!

 

RIDE-SHARING DURING COVID-19

How is the Ride-Sharing Industry Affected by COVID-19?

Like many other industries in the United States and around the world, Uber and Lyft have taken a hit from the spread of COVID-19. Uber has announced that if any driver or delivery person contracts coronavirus (COVID-19) or is asked to self-isolate the company will provide financial assistance for up to 14 days. Uber has also announced that it’s working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help clean their cars. Similarly, Lyft has announced that it plans to deliver cleaning supplies to its drivers and will “provide funds to drivers” with COVID-19 or in quarantine “based on the rides they provided on the Lyft platform over the last four weeks.”

Many Uber and Lyft drivers based in the United States have expressed frustration that their companies have not done enough to protect them from the virus or from severe economic losses. A lot of Americans have been told to stay at home by their employers or even by their governors, making the amount of rides decline. The CDC even posted an article on Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19, in which they state: “Stay home except to get medical care… Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.” 

TIME published an article As Coronavirus Spreads, U.S. Travel Providers Are Cutting Back Their Services. Here’s How That’s Impacting Transportation Workers, in which they talked about the transportation industry during this virus. In the article, Steve Gregg, who has been driving for Uber and Lyft in California’s Bay Area for a little over three years, told TIME on March 13 that he’s “not in a position” where he can stop driving. Even though he says his fear over the coronavirus has caused him to have mild panic attacks, he’s had to keep driving because he depends on the income to support his children. Gregg adds that the two-weeks compensation he would receive if he got sick would be “a little too late.” Many Americans like Gregg have felt the struggle to manage these tough times.

TIME also interviewed a man whose name they changed to Yash to project his job, is an Uber and Lyft driver. He said his income went down last week by 30%. He adds that as his income has gone down, his costs have gone up; he now takes his car to get washed every day. “We are at the front line of this epidemic. On a daily basis we deal with 20-30 people,” he says. He says he’s been suffering from insomnia since the crisis began, but he can’t stop driving because he can’t afford to.

When asked for comment on March 12 about the impact the spread of the virus has had on drivers, Uber directed TIME to a speech the company’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi gave at Morgan Stanley last week, where he said, “As far as the impact to date, first of all, we are completely focused on the operational side of the business, making sure that our riders are safe, our drivers are safe, they understand what are best practices to make sure you stay safe. Our employees are taken care of. Our partners are taken care of.”

When asked for comment on March 12 about the virus’s impact on drivers, a Lyft spokesperson told TIME in a statement, “We are monitoring the coronavirus situation closely, and taking action based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Our focus is on keeping our riders, drivers and team members safe. We have an internal task force dedicated solely to this issue, and are prepared to take action as needed.”

Responding to the concerns raised by the drivers TIME spoke with, a spokesperson for Uber said in a March 14 in a statement, “The mounting fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus is being felt by everyone around the world. We know it’s especially concerning for people who drive and deliver with Uber. In these difficult times, their well-being is at the top of our minds, and we have a dedicated team working around the clock to support them the very best we can.”Ride sharing during COVID-19

Important Information for Drivers and Delivery People

As stated in the ‘Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan’ section of this blog, sharing advice to stay healthy is extremely important during this time. Uber has shared a list of what they believe to be the best advice for drivers and delivery people. All of the information they have shared are practices that ride-sharing, taxi, and private car drivers should look over. 

  • Cleaning supplies for your car 
    • “We are working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help you keep your car clean. Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.”
  • “Leave at Door” Delivery
    • “Eats customers have the option to use delivery notes to communicate how they’d like their orders delivered. They may include a note like “Please leave my order at the door” or “ring my doorbell and leave in the lobby.” You can see these instructions in the app under ‘customer note’ once you arrive at their location.”
  • Supporting public health authorities
    • “We have a team available 24/7 to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic. Working with them, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID‑19. We’re also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice.”
  • Support if you’re taken off the road
    • “Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID‑19 or is individually asked to self‑isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide.”
  • Maintaining your Uber Pro status
    • “The last thing you should have to worry about is losing your Uber Pro status. We are protecting the current Uber Pro status for all drivers for the remainder of this qualifying period.”
  • Support if you rent a vehicle to drive
    • “We have worked with our preferred global rental partners to ensure that any driver diagnosed with COVID‑19 or individually quarantined can return their car with no penalty. We are also actively working with our U.S. preferred rental partners to allow no‑penalty returns for any driver who wishes to return their rental car.”

Response Plan Ideas for Fleet Owners and Employers in the Transportation Industry

For fleet owners, Uber has also released what they’re doing to keep their drivers and customers safe and healthy during this outbreak. This information is very helpful and can help you in creating your infectious disease outbreak response plan. These are all steps you as an employer should take in the transportation industry.

  • Support public health authorities
    • “We have a team available 24/7 to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic. Working with them, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID‑19. We’re also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice.”
  • Helping affected drivers and delivery people
    • “Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID‑19 or is individually asked to self‑isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide.”
  • Helping to keep cars clean
    • “We are working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their cars clean. Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.”
  • Giving you options for food delivery
    • “We understand that you may be relying more on food delivery right now. If you prefer, you can leave a note in the Uber Eats app to ask your delivery person to leave your food at the door.”
  • Upholding our Community Guidelines
    • “There have been reports of discrimination linked to the current situation. This is never okay—every rider and driver is expected to follow the Uber Community Guidelines, which clearly prohibit discrimination.”

 

TAXI SERVICES DURING COVID-19

How is the Taxi Industry Affected by COVID-19?

Similar to the ride-sharing industry, the taxi industry has taken a big hit from the Coronavirus outbreak. When most people hear the word taxi or cab, they automatically think of New York. New York City especially is typically a booming city with constant traffic. However, with the Coronavirus, New York City cabbies are suffering a radical drop in ridership amid concerns, with some only scraping together a few bucks after long shifts behind the wheel. 

The New York Post published an article describing the hardships of being a New York cab driver during this time. “We don’t make money,” said Queens cabbie Jones Donkoi while trying to land fares on the Upper West Side. “I collected $300 in fares but if you take the taxes and surcharges and lease payment, I make about $40 at the end of a 12-hour shift.” “I support three children,” he said. “I’m going to find another job because I can’t continue like this. I can’t buy anything.” 

Another driver, Mohammad Azad, said it has become so bad that he had just $10 in his pocket after his first three hours on the road on Sunday, March 15. “Our pockets are empty,” said Azad, who was near Spring Street in SoHo Sunday. “If it continues like this, it will be very hard to survive in New York City. All taxi drivers are miserable. Am I scared? Yes. But we take the risks.”

Taxi garages throughout the city told The Post that business has dropped by 30–50 percent as fewer tourists hit the city and more locals stay indoors to avoid contact with the COVID-19 virus. According to taxi garage owners and dispatchers, the crunch is having a ripple effect on the taxi industry. Garages that rent out the cabs rely on the drivers’ lease payments to pay off their medallions, and without that money coming, some owners said they risk defaulting on bank loans they took out to make their medallion payments. “My drivers work a 12-hour shift and they’re not even making the money to pay the lease on the car,” said Mahbub Hassan, a dispatcher at Yellow Cab Crescent Management in Long Island City. “In four hours, they’re lucky to get three rides.” “We have 268 cabs in our fleet, and 100 of those cars are just sitting there without drivers,” Hassan said. “We have been giving our drivers $200, $300 discounts on the lease, and drivers are still not making enough to cover the lease payment.” Drivers are left living in fear that they’re exposing themselves to the virus while trying to make a living.

Taxi services during the virus outbreak

Taxicab Insurance with American Business Insurance Services, Inc.

Keeping your taxis properly insured and on the road is the key to success. Without proper insurance, you risk liability against yourself and your business. With over 30 years of experience in the for-hire, livery insurance business, American Business Insurance currently insures over 40,000 vehicles nationwide. We have experience providing customized taxi insurance solutions for all types of taxi business from owner/operators as well as fleets with hundreds of vehicles.

We understand that vehicles and drivers need to be swapped out at a moment’s notice, that’s why we’ve created an online portal for you to submit changes, print Auto Identification Cards & Certificates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also, if you call during business hours, we promise you can speak to a live person every time.

Taxi Insurance can be confusing, but that’s why you have us, the taxi insurance experts! There are many different types of insurance available for taxi companies and at minimum, most City/States, DMVs or other regulatory agencies (such as a Public Utilities Commission) require you to have a certain amount of commercial for-hire auto liability insurance to stay in business.

Below is a list of different types of insurance available for taxi cab owners:

  • Auto Liability (mandatory)
    • Bodily Injury & Property Damage to another party
  • Physical Damage Insurance
    • Comprehensive Physical Damage
    • Collision Damage Protection
    • Specified Perils

To learn more about Taxicab insurance with American Business Insurance Services, Inc., be sure to check out our website.

How to Stay Safe While Transporting the Public During the COVID-19 Outbreak

With increased measures being taken nationwide to prevent the spread, many people may be turning toward a more private or isolated form of transportation (Taxi, Black Car, Uber or Lyft) as opposed to their usual train or bus ride.

Below is a list of 5 things you can do to keep your vehicles clean and prevent the virus from spreading to your passengers or yourself:

  1. Wash your hands properly and often.
  2. Cover your mouth and/or nose with a tissue or into the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces/objects. These include but aren’t limited to: steering wheel, car handles, gear stick, hand brake, and trunk.
  4. Clean and disinfect the passenger seating area in between each trip.
  5. Avoid contact with people who aren’t well or have poor immune systems.

 

A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY

Like you, we’ve been thinking a lot about COVID-19 and how that’s affected the transportation industry, other businesses, the economy, our customers, our employees, everyday citizens, and even ourselves. To help you, we’ve designed a survival guide to help you prepare and respond to any impact the COVID-19 outbreak will have on you and your business.

  • Communicate Early
      • If you hold contracts that could be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak — in terms of performance, schedule, or cost — be sure to reach out to those involved earlier than later.
      • Explore mutually acceptable ways to handle issues relating to the virus (i.e. employees are unable to report to work, there’s a shortage of staff, there’s a delay in performance, etc.)
      • Be sure to make any changes to your agreements in writing to help protect against any future claims that may arise.
  • Review your contract’s delay clauses
      • There are more than likely a number of various delay clauses that could be in your contracts, which would have been tailored to the specific contract type. The clauses provide specific procedures for handling delays beyond the control of the contractor. You should review your contracts to see what delay clause(s) you have. More than likely, you’ll encounter delays during the virus, so it’s important to ensure you’re following the applicable procedures.
  • Document everything
      • You should document any increased costs or delays attributed to the virus, and more generally, document how the virus impacts your performance for your fleet. There are cases where a contractor was unable to recover for a delay due to a “flu epidemic” because it didn’t adequately document the impact of the delay. It’s better to document everything to help your future self.
  • Consider trying to recover or offset your increased costs
      • If you experience increased costs on your ongoing contracts, consider requesting a contract modification to cover those costs. If you are a commercial items contractor selling at fixed prices or rates, consider requesting an Economic Price Adjustment under your contract’s EPA clause. The standard EPA clause gives a contracting officer discretion to approve unscheduled increases due to surprising national/international events. 
    • Coordinate with your supply chain now
      • Consider the implications of production or shipping delays on your ability to comply with delivery requirements. If the virus could delay the availability of parts or components, consider identifying alternative sources of supply as soon as possible if you have not done so already.
  • Review your sick-leave policy
    • Many contractors, like many companies, give their employees only limited sick leave. At the same time, having employees attend work because they are out of sick-leave creates significant risk. Contractors should consider how they plan to handle sick employees who are unwilling to stay home (or employees who need to stay home to care for a loved one). While standing outside the factory door with a thermometer may not be the answer, neither is ignoring the reality of the problem. Contractors will be well served by putting together a working group that involves HR and Legal – and probably your employment law counsel and privacy counsel – to implement a practical plan of action.

How to Recognize the Symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear within 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Difficulty breaking or shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Phlegm
  • Diarrhea
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Runny nose
  • Pneumonia

How to Protect Yourself and Prepare for the Coronavirus 

Older Americans, those with underlying health conditions, and those without a social safety net are the most vulnerable to the infection and its societal disruption. Although there are still many unknowns with this virus, there are still several basic steps you can take to help reduce your risk of getting sick or infecting others:

  1. Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places if you can. Even if you have no underlying health conditions, and no symptoms, be extra cautious to protect other people. Not everyone who carries the virus will necessarily see symptoms. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  2. Wash your hands. With soap. Then wash them again. As a rule of thumb, many people have agreed that you should wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice is a great point of reference.
  3. Stock up on groceries, medicine, and resources that you may need during a quarantine or incubation period. Stock up on a 30-day supply of groceries, household supplies and prescriptions, just in case. For smart tips on stocking up your pantry, click here. If you take prescription medications or are low on any over-the-counter essentials, go to the pharmacy sooner rather than later. Moreover, make sure you’re set with soap, toiletries, laundry detergent, toilet paper, and diapers if you have small children.
  4. Stay informed. Information about how to stay cautious, what’s happening throughout the world, etc. is constantly being updated. To know how to protect yourself and others, it’s extremely important to know what’s happening. Americans should follow the advice from the CDC, relevant state and local authorities, and health care professionals.
  5. Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.
  6. Don’t stockpile face masks. Face masks have become a symbol of coronavirus, but stockpiling them may actually do more harm than good. They don’t protect you from the virus as most surgical masks are too loose to prevent inhalation of the virus. Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus if you are infected, however. Moreover, health care workers and those caring for sick people on the front lines need these. Stockpiling masks could limit the number of available resources to doctors, nurses, surgeons, and emergency professionals.
  7. Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeves.
  8. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  9. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  10. See a doctor if you feel unwell. If you have a possible case of COVID-19 or feel unwell, it’s extremely important to seek medical attention.
  11. Get a flu vaccine, if you haven’t already.
  12. Avoid unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals. This includes live animal markets.
  13. Cook food thoroughly. Do not eat raw or undercooked meats.
Infographic on how to protect and prepare for the coronavirus
How to protect and prepare for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19, the above steps are necessary to take as well as the following, suggested by the CDC:

  1. Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately.
  2. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  3. If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19.
  4. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19.
  5. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people in or outside of the home, wear a facemask.
  6. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels, and bedding.

Infographic of how to stop the coronavirus spread

How to Contact your Insurance Company During the Coronavirus Outbreak

At American Business Insurance Services, Inc. we are closely following the Coronavirus pandemic nationwide and across the world. We want to let you know that we will continue to keep our office open and fully operating. In order to keep customers and employees safe during this uncertain time, some of our employees are in fact working remotely from home. Luckily with today’s technology, however, we are completely functional from any workstation, anywhere. 

We want to let you know we are currently corresponding with all of our partnered insurance carriers on what they can offer to help you in this time of need. It’s a fluid situation, changing daily and we are adapting as we go. Like many other insurers, we are providing up-to-date information to our customers via email, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates from our company. 

Most insurers are providing up-to-date information for their customers via email or their website, so you should keep an eye out for potential updates from your insurance company. To stay up to date, be sure to join our mailing list here.

There are a few reasons you might need to contact your insurance company:

  • To add someone to or remove someone from your policy
  • Increase or decrease coverage limits or amounts
  • If you move out-of-state
  • Multi-policy and discount question

We have proposed a number of items to insurance companies that should provide relief. We created this petition on change.org to get public auto/transportation added to the “essential services” funding package that the gov is putting together: http://chng.it/mRFCfHgVng.

To stay up to date, be sure to join our mailing list here. Once we have final approval – we will send an email to update you. For now, we want to let you know we are here to help. If you have previously deleted a vehicle or have canceled a policy and need return premium expedited – let us know and we will do what we can to support you. We are experiencing heavy call volume, so we want to encourage you to email us with questions and use our portal to process policy changes.

Learn More

It all started in 1984 as a small insurance agency, today we insure over 40,000 vehicles with thousands of satisfied customers. Currently, we are one of the largest providers of commercial transportation insurance in the nation. We understand what it takes to keep you on the road; our staff has over 75 years of combined experience insuring cabs, limos, ambulances and other transportation network companies. We continuously work to provide the coverage you need at prices you can afford. We offer dedicated websites and mobile web apps to give our customers around the clock access to your insurance. We’ve built our business around technology for the convenience of our customers. We also save money on overhead costs which means our customers save money too. To learn more about our company, visit our website: https://abiweb.com/. Also be sure to follow on Social Media to stay up to date on the benefits offered through American Business Insurance Services, Inc.: Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.