While most businesses brace for an economic collapse caused by coronavirus, the outbreak has prompted creation of a new service offering by the nation’s largest claims administrator.
Sedgwick, based in Memphis, Tenn., announced Thursday that it has expanded the scope of its nurse consultation and incident-response services because of the growing number of COVID-19 infections. The company said its clinical consultation program, which offers “24/7 nurse triage services,” will now advise employees who have been exposed to coronavirus on whether they should seek care. The nurses can also advise employers regarding testing options and suggested direction of care, the company said.
“The crisis care program was started with the intention of helping clients prepare for the unexpected so they could feel completely supported amidst stressful situations and complex crises,” stated Andrea Buhl, managing director of clinical operations at Sedgwick. “As coronavirus continues to spread, it made sense to expand the services of the crisis care program to support the needs of our clients.”
Sedgwick said it is also ready to advise employers to ensure their buildings are safe for employees. The company said that it has approved contractors readily available throughout the United States to perform cleaning and disinfection of affected buildings and their contents according to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sedgwick has also formed a partnership with EFI Global, an environmental consulting firm, to assess sites, write cleaning protocols, oversee the work and perform testing of indoor environmental quality.
Steve Powell, an executive vice president for Sedgwick, said EFI Global has experience dealing with emergency responses and microbial contamination assessments in hospitals, nursing homes and public and private schools throughout the country.
Sedgwick said it has been in touch with clients to educate leaders on best practices and worki with senior leadership to implement workplace polices in response to the outbreak.
Sedgwick, with 2018 gross revenue of $2.7 billion, is the largest U.S. based third-party administrator, according to Business Insurance.
According to the World Health Organization, 125,048 people globally have tested positive for COVID-19 as of late Thursday. The virus had killed 4,613, including 313 in the past 24 hours, WHO said.
The Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday that 1,215 COVID-19 cases in the United States. Those had resulted in 36 deaths as of Thursday afternoon. The New York Times reported that 1,599 U.S. cases had been confirmed, with 38 deaths.
Sedgwick was not the only claims administrator to take note. Crawford & Co., a global claims administration company based in London, announced last week that it has established a Coronavirus Claims Instruction and Technical Support Desk to assist clients. The desk will collect and disseminate the latest information on the impact of the virus as well as the insurance response to it, the company said.
Crawford & Co. also said it expects the impact of coronavirus to be low for property and casualty insurers, but travel cancellations caused by the outbreak are likely to affect the hospitality sector.
“In past years, we have had Zika virus, SARS, avian flu and swine flu, all of which caused a number of events to be cancelled and we are aware that carriers and brokers are receiving a large number of enquiries,” stated Rohit Verma, global chief operating officer. “We want to give carriers, brokers and corporates easy access to experts who are experienced in handling contingency, business interruption and casualty claims arising from such events.”
Business Insurance ranked Crawford & Co. the second-largest U.S. claims administrator, with $1.2 billion in gross revenues in 2018.
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