Can you insure against the disruption caused by a road upgrade by a main roads department?

I received the following question this morning.

Morning Allan,

I need your opinion please, I know you are extremely busy and I appreciate your time.

Contractors for the [Queensland| Main Roads Dept have torn up the Bruce Highway in my town for major oadworks (planned), and in so doing have denied access for my client’s customers.

As a result their cash flow is severely reduced, as it has been ongoing since approximately August 2011 and will continue until June 2012. I have checked the PDS’s [Product Disclosure Statements] of [Australian insurers] Vero, Calliden and Zurich and QBE I cannot find any way any of these policies can respond.

I have called claim departments and we cannot find a wording we could use for this situation.

I have checked on the LMI policy comparison and of course it lists B/I [business interruption] as covered, but only following an insured event.

None of my clients have approached me, I wanted to see if I could help them.

Have you ever had success with a similar case ?

Regards Rick.

My answer was along the following lines:

Regrettably, this is regarded as a business or political risk that is not something that the private Insurance industry can insure.

The Main Roads Department and their contractors do have some duty to the residents and business owners to minimise the disruption to everyone and even allowing for the slow pace of some contractors, from August 2011 to March 2012 does seem an inordinate length of time.

Had I got this question earlier, I would have suggested that the business owners contact their local State Government member, particularly with the election coming up, to put some pressure on him to speed up the works or to arrange some sort of compensation to assist the business owners. Perhaps a letter from a lawyer or a community action group may get things happening faster.

Leave a Reply