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April 8, 2020
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Insurance Claims Should Drop From Panic Alone Across Most Types Due To Corona Virus
By Lonce Lamonte - March 3, 2020

There is much talk today within schools, government agencies, corporate private companies, small businesses, mom and pop vendors on street corners, and other work and social groups of requests not to be penalized if one chooses not to come to work or allow his-her child to attend class.  A slow-down of the economy is happening just from the fear factor alone.  It will bring down the numbers of workers’ compensation claims California-wide, nationwide, and worldwide.  The slips and falls claims will be less from fewer people traversing buildings, stair-wells, and parking lots.

A slow-down in commerce puts the claims down as claims plummeted in the great recession of 2008-2009.  This writer has heard people say that claims increase in times of greater unemployment and economic duress, but actually the opposite is true.  When people aren’t working there are fewer employees who can get into accidents.  When people stay in their homes out of fear to go out there are fewer cars on the road and fewer accidents.

The Federal Reserve reacted today, Tuesday March 3rd 2020, to the coronavirus’ already damaging blows to the economy, by announcing an interest rate cut — the first such emergency rate action since the great recession of just over a decade ago.

The half-point rate cut marks a dramatic reversal from a week ago when Federal officials seemed content to take a wait-and-see approach. But there has been mounting anxiety in the United States, evident in panicking financial markets, that a spreading virus could do serious harm to the American economy as it has in China, where the outbreak began.

Last night, this writer was dining at a restaurant near the California-Mexico border.   At ~7:45 pm I noticed I was the only diner in the main dining room.   Several diners I had seen an hour earlier, but there was no near-capacity crowd by far.  An employee commented to me that it was really slow so I mentioned in response that it was Monday night, for one thing, but also I believed people were not going out of their houses due to fear. 

People are afraid everywhere of the coronavirus. 

There have been nearly 50 coronavirus cases reported, so far, in the state of California.  14 came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that quarantined at Travis military base.  The Travis base is in Fairfield, California about ~45 miles from San Francisco to the northeast in route to Sacramento. 

Another corona virus case has come from north of Sacramento; two in Santa Clara county and two in Alameda county.

Two cases have been reported in Southern California.  One in Los Angeles County and one in Orange County.   Now, extensive precautions are taking place at most establishments.  Door knobs are being scrubbed, eating areas are being sanitized, and rest rooms are getting more attention than is regular. 

By Saturday, February 29th 2020, there were three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mexico; two in Mexico City and one in Sinaloa.  The Mexico secretary of health confirmed that these three cases were imported and all led back to infection from a fountain in Italy.  Thus, travel back from Europe is what brought in the virus.

School children leaving school were photographed wearing face masks by photojournalists in Mexico City. Three other cases are under study in Mexico but not confirmed.  One is in Guanajuato and the other in Durango. 

In China, thus far, there are 90,000 corona virus cases (also called the COVID 19 virus) and 3,000 deaths.   Thus, ~92% of the cases are reported from China.

As far as we are in time from the 14th Century, it’s easy to forget the Bubonic plague that wiped out one-third of Europe, or 25 million people, beginning in 1347.  This plague was spread mostly by fleas and not by rats as has been generated in popular folklore.  The symptoms were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.  The ultimate cure was quarantine.  People didn’t go out of the house, as much as they could manage, and only left when absolutely necessary.  Persons and families who could afford it moved to isolated, sparsely populated areas.

Now the slow-down from trade with China, especially, and the aforementioned slow-down simply from fear, panic, and concerns everywhere else, including California with only 50 cases, to date, will most likely affect claims counts.

With this likelihood, the general advice to every claims professional is to expect it, deal with it, observe it, and engage in frequent hand-washing all day long. 

Updated on March 4, 2020 to include the cases reported in Southern California by March 3rd., Lonce Lamonte, journalist, editor; copyright by Lonce Lamonte and adjustercom, all rights reserved.  


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