Do I need Business Interruption Insurance: Ordinary Payroll

Do I Need Business Interruption Insurance for Ordinary Payroll

To mitigate the risks associated with these disruptions, many businesses opt for business interruption insurance. This type of insurance provides coverage for the loss of income and additional expenses incurred due to a covered event. However, when it comes to business interruption insurance, one important decision that business owners need to make is whether to include coverage for ordinary payroll.


Understanding Ordinary Payroll Insurance Coverage

Before delving into the importance of payroll insurance coverage, it is essential to understand what it entails. Ordinary payroll is typically defined as the entire expense of payroll for all employees of an insured entity, excluding officers, executives, department managers, and employees under contract. In the event of a catastrophic loss, such as a fire, a business interruption policy covers the ordinary payroll as a necessary expense.

Ordinary payroll coverage is commonly included as an endorsement in many property and business interruption insurance policies. It allows businesses to retain key hourly employees who are completely idled after an incident and are unnecessary for continuing operations. However, it is important to note that coverage for payroll can be excluded or limited, typically for a specified number of days, such as 30, 60, or 90 days.


Key Considerations for Ordinary Payroll Coverage

When it comes to insuring ordinary payroll, several key issues and questions may arise. By addressing these concerns, you can gain a better understanding of the complexities surrounding ordinary payroll coverage in business interruption insurance.

  1. Definition of Ordinary Payroll: The definition of ordinary payroll can vary, and it is important to understand how it is classified in your insurance policy. While ordinary payroll typically excludes key employees such as officers, executives, and department managers, there may be employees with impressive job titles but ordinary payroll job functions. Consider the intrinsic value of certain ordinary employees to your business and ensure they are appropriately classified.
  2. Complete Suspension vs. Partial Operations: Insurance policies often assume that a covered event results in a complete suspension of operations at the loss location. However, what happens when operations are only partially suspended, and there is an ordinary payroll limitation or exclusion? In such cases, there may be continuing payroll beyond the coverage period, which may not efficiently contribute to continuing revenue and could include idle time.
  3. Payroll as Extra Expense or Expense to Reduce Loss Coverages: In some instances, businesses may choose to pursue continuing ordinary payroll beyond the limited coverage period as an extra expense or an expense to reduce loss coverages. This decision should be carefully evaluated based on the specific circumstances and potential financial implications.
  4. Labor Market Availability: Once a business is ready to resume operations after a business interruption, access to the proper labour pool may be limited. This can significantly impact extended periods of indemnity business income losses. Assess the cost-benefit of affording ordinary payroll coverage to retain employees and reduce the risk of labour market unavailability.
  5. Coinsurance Assessment: Consider how the answers to the above questions and issues may affect the treatment of ordinary payroll in a coinsurance assessment. Coinsurance is the requirement for policyholders to insure their property to a specified percentage of its value to avoid penalties or reduced claim payments.


Assessing the Risk and Cost-Benefit Analysis

When considering whether to include ordinary payroll coverage in your business interruption insurance, it is crucial to assess the risk and conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Every organization is different, and factors such as employee skills, local job markets, and the cost of retaining new employees need to be taken into account.

  1. Risk Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential risks and their impact on the business. Consider the likelihood of events that could cause business interruptions and evaluate the potential financial losses associated with these events. This assessment will help you determine the level of coverage needed, including ordinary payroll coverage.
  2. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Evaluate the cost-benefit of including ordinary payroll coverage in your insurance policy. Consider the cost of retaining employees during the restoration period and compare it to the potential losses that could occur if key employees are not available when operations resume. Additionally, assess the availability and cost of hiring new employees in the event of a loss.


The Role of an Ordinary Payroll Exclusion Endorsement

While ordinary payroll coverage provides businesses with the ability to retain key employees during a business interruption, an ordinary payroll exclusion endorsement can eliminate coverage altogether for payroll expenses of employees deemed unnecessary to the function of the business. This exclusion may result in a lower insurance premium but can present a serious risk to your business in the event of a loss. If you choose not to insure ordinary payroll, it is crucial to thoroughly review union contracts and consider any potential labour issues that could arise.

It is important to note that the decision to include or exclude ordinary payroll coverage depends on your specific business circumstances and risk tolerance. Consulting with an insurance professional can provide valuable insights into the implications of including or excluding ordinary payroll coverage and help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business needs.


So, ask yourself, “Do I need business interruption insurance to include coverage for ordinary payroll?” By including coverage for ordinary payroll, businesses can retain key employees during a period of restoration, ensuring continuity and minimizing the impact of a loss. However, deciding to include or exclude ordinary payroll coverage requires careful consideration of factors such as risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis, and potential labour issues. Consulting with an insurance professional can provide valuable insights and help businesses make informed decisions that protect their operations and financial stability.

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