By Tim Barnhorst, CPCU, ARM,
If your resort is closed for the season, focus on discontinuing operations as you would during the end of a normal season.
Some specific actions to consider:
Unplug computer equipment and point of sale systems in on-mountain lodges and buildings that will not get used during the off-season to avoid damage from lightning strikes and power surges.
Check propane and natural gas lines for loose connections where they come into the building, and for cooking appliances and clothes dryers that may have been moved during cleaning.
When your mountain operations are using groomers and snow machines, consider limiting, discouraging or eliminating visitors from uphill travel until your staff are finished with their closing routine. Specific signage can be used to deter uphill traffic or prohibit it all together.
Should claims arise from property damage, premise liability, or workers compensation, it’s important to conduct thorough investigations and to contact your insurance adjusters in a timely matter.
Insurance and Pandemics
In 2003, on a smaller scale, the word dealt with the SARS pandemic. At the time, the insurance industry had not seen anything like it, and as a result, insurance language and coverages changed dramatically. After claims for business interruption and liability-related losses rolled in, insurance carriers drafted exclusionary wording on many of their policies to limit exposure from global pandemics in the future.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, so too does the insurance landscape. Because each ski area faces unique challenges and unique claim scenarios, it is imperative to reach out to your appointed claims adjuster. Every claim stands on its own merits, and coverage applicability will vary based on the unique facts and circumstances of a given situation, by policy form, and by jurisdiction and/or state law/statute. That makes it difficult to elaborate on hypothetical coverage questions. If an insured thinks coverage would exist, then they should file a claim with their specific claim adjuster, who will then work with the carrier to make the final coverage decision.