Within days of the closure of the last schools, the final tube train stopped signalling the immediate closure of the UK’s public transport network for the foreseeable future.
Snakes of lorry convoys with armed police motorcycle outriders have been seen moving around the country’s motorways, ensuring vital supplies are getting delivered. The halt of Petrol (Gasoline) sales has prevented the movement of most private individuals.
What’s vital? If the newspaper shop on the corner doesn’t get any cigarettes in soon he’ll probably get burnt out! Most businesses have been shut for over a month now under local community orders.
Around the country local authority disaster action plans are in full swing and restrictions of movement of goods and people, are in place. Rioting is reported in some urban centres up and down the country by the major British TV networks, although the coverage is poor with outside broadcasts rare.
Rubbish piling up in the streets and rats are not helping the problem, as victims of swine fever as it is now known succumb to other diseases. Everyone calls it Swine Fever since the H1N1 swine influenza virus mutated into the deadly strain. Bodies are going uncollected and unburied as the number of fatalities rises.
The most up to date information can be found on remote UK YouTube or Ustream. It looks well bad in India………Even worse in Cornwall…
No seriously we really do think it just media hype! Although a major viral crisis would damge the UK economy.
Uncertainty and fear have been jamming the enquiry lines of call centres of UK insurance companies and brokers, up and down the country this week, following the sporadic outbursts of Swine Flu, influenza variant strain H1N1, associated with travellers returning home after vacation in Mexico.
Unlike the questions regarding travel insurance which have been covered extensively in the national press, it appears the UK public are more concerned about their individual personal covers, should Swine Flu become pandemic.
We asked some of the UK’s leading Insurance Business characters for their thougfhts on how Swine flu in the UK, was going to affect their insurance products and claims.
Hayden Powers, Customer Services Manager at Burgesses Ltd the UK’s largest online supplier of independent income protection insurance and mortgage protection insurance for Sickness and ASU products http://www.burgesses.com explained,
“The majority of sickness insurance protection products sold by online independent providers such as ourselves in the UK, cover Flu and it’s associated sickness, and we can assure all our clients and direct customers that they are covered ‘back to day one’ of a period of sickness caused by swine flu.
It is important that a sickness insurance policy includes the back to day one cover, as most income insurance and mortgage payment protection policies for sickness have a thirty day excess period before you can claim. If your swine flu sickness period only lasts three weeks and you have a thirty day excess period with no back to day one of your sickness cover, then you will not be able to claim.”
Robin Rankin of UK Commercial Ltd http://www.uk-commercial-insurance.com the online UK Commercial Insurance broker, confirms that many small business owners are very concerned about the effects of swine flu on their business.
“They are concerned about the interruption to their business that widespread Swine Flu might bring. We have had enquiries as diverse as from freight forwarder insurance customers that do business in Mexico with imported goods, through to clients who have Keyman insurance who are concerned about business continuity if these key players fall victim to the flu. However most enquiries have been from small businessmen concerned about additional pressures on their already struggling businesses that swine flu might bring, in particular business insurance coverage under the contingency sections of business interruption.
A major problem will arise if companies are forced to close due to a swine flu pandemic, and the nature of the risk becomes fundamental. In this scenario the UK Government will have to step in to rescue falling businesses.”
Dave Healey underwriting expert at online specialist car insurance comparison site http://www.car-insurance.tv warns of the dangers of driving with swine flu.
“We are warning our clients against driving if they are suffering the effects of flu or on medication prescribed due to having contracted swine flu. Aside from any legal obligations, persons doing so are at a much higher risk of having an accident”
It’s apparent that the UK insurance industry is bracing itself against the Swine flu outbreak as the situation worsens, but it is as yet unclear whether they are in a proper position to deal with a full scale influenza pandemic, as seen in 1918 with Spanish flu.
Good news is that despite all the bad economic news and the credit crunch, productivity is up.
There has been a hundred per cent drop in the number of employees calling in sick saying they have the flu!