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Insurance considerations for manufacturers pivoting to personal-protective-equipment production

The COVID-19 has moved the course of everything, including Canadian businesses. Canada Goose, Bombardier Inc, Ontario Power Generation, the Labbatt Brewing Company, are some of the manufacturing firms that have joined the list to pivot their operations to non-traditional production amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawyers have suggested manufacturers restructuring their business operations and pivoting to the production of PPE or medical equipment, should reach out to their brokers in advance of making any changes in order to ensure they’re adequately protected.

“They might be bringing larger volumes of chemicals and/or brand-new chemicals and resins onto their sites. A lot of them are going to be switching into industries that involve a lot of plastic, whether that’s in handling, fabricating or production, which could pose new risks. These are all things that may not have been conceived of or contemplated in their initial risk management strategy.” told Karim Jaroudi, environmental specialist at Burns & Wilcox Canada.

Another thing for manufacturers to consider from an environmental exposure standpoint – which many probably aren’t because of the fast-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic – is what happens when things eventually get back to normal. Is it safe to convert your plant back to its original use? Are you still storing different chemicals or hazardous materials? How has your environmental exposure changed since you made the switch? Are you going to switch back or do you plan to keep producing PPE?

“I think we cross that bridge when we get to it,” Jaroudi commented. “There is absolutely an underwriting endeavour to be had there. Brokers will have to work closely with their manufacturing clients to understand their way back and what is being done to facilitate that.”