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Industry steps up coronavirus travel restrictions

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Aon Australia has limited domestic travel and insurers are restricting employee overseas business trips as Governments globally take action to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Our teams have been monitoring the situation from the beginning and implementing appropriate precautionary measures,” an Aon spokeswoman told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “Most recently, for example, we have asked colleagues to limit non-essential travel.”

Other suitable alternatives besides travelling are available to remain in close contact and serve clients in the near-term, the firm says.

“We also have postponed some events. We will continue to refine the measures we are taking in light of the latest developments as we draw on the expertise of colleagues and leaders in our firm and the advice from leading public health agencies.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a status update yesterday that more than 93,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed globally in 77 countries. There had been around 3190 deaths, with around 93% of those in China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today that the advice for South Korea would be raised to “reconsider the need to travel” with a stronger warning for the Daegu area.

Federal Government travel advisories this morning declared “do not travel” to China and Iran and advised people to “exercise a high degree of caution” about going to South Korea, Japan, Italy and Mongolia.

Suncorp says its policy on corporate travel is based on advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and medical and travel security services company International SOS.

“To care for the safety of our people, Suncorp has taken a precautionary measure to restrict all international work-related travel, unless it is business critical, and this is subject to approval processes and risk assessment,” a spokeswoman said.

Suncorp employees, based on the advice as of this morning, are not permitted to travel or transit through China or Iran for work purposes and it requires employees, temporary staff, contractors, consultants and partners to self-isolate for 14 days if they have travelled for work or personal reasons to high-risk locations.

Self-isolation is also required for any workers who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

IAG last week extended a group-wide travel ban to include travel directly to and transiting through South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran.

Anyone who has visited the countries must work from home for 14 days and must also work from home if a member of their household or guests have visited or transited through these areas.

Previously its ban had been limited to mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

At Zurich, employees globally are only permitted international travel under “very special circumstances” requiring regional CEO exemption.

In certain locations in Asia, where the virus outbreak is more advanced, employees are working from home until further notice, while Zurich Australia is closely following the advice of the Government in relation to domestic travel.

QBE is also following Government and WHO guidelines, which includes some travel restrictions and quarantine arrangements.