Just Checking the Smellprint

I’m getting nostalgic for Brexit. This whole corona-clown cluster is withing touching distance of peak buffoonery.

Helpfully though, because anti-inflammatories suppress the immune system, we have been advised not to be taking ibuprofen. That’s a relief.

Mind you, it takes a Kofi-Annan-grade negotiation just to but a few packets under normal trading conditions, so it’s never a given that you’ll make it out of the shop with any.

Ironically, the shelves were stripped bare this morning, presumably by the panic buyers who believed that it might help with the fever and headaches. That’s Karma for you.

But back to bug hysteria and the advice of the PM to avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants, and the like. Counter-productive on two counts.

Firstly, that only presses the pause button on the infection, so levels will likely peak at a later point instead. The goal surely has to be to allow the rate of infection to climb at the same rate that the sick recover. That will then avert a healthcare system crash?

Secondly, whole industries are at imminent risk of plummeting through the floor without any form of safety net. It was initially suggested that ‘enforced closure’, would have triggered payouts from insurers, but hereby lies a swift lesson on the insurance game. Insurers never lose, because they are meticulously specific with their contracts and have a myriad of fiendishly ingenious loopy-loopholes into which they can deftly skip. People who bet on insurers to lose are the ones who lose.

Many businesses will have some standard ‘business interruption cover’ in place to protect them, but it will be specific and subject to exceptions. Most commonly, this relates to physical damage at a property which results in them being unable to continue to trade.

Anything for the impact of infectious diseases would necessitate additional cover. And even then, the devil would be in the detail. I’d be flabbergasted if mega-monolith insurers had not already had their loss adjusters ferreting around in the smallprint of even those who had had the foresight to stump up for extra-cover. It’s what they do.

But rest assured – or not, as the case may be – that most businesses won’t have that one covered off.

Ironically, even if the majority were air-tight on the point, there’s no way that insurers could have covered it themselves. That would have led to an economic crash via a different route, so people would have ended up still screwed but by a different tool.

So, let’s have a reality check. While it’s true that you’ll never see a skint bookmaker, insurance companies are at the top of the tree when it comes to betting odds.

Therefore, what should we make of the guidance to stay away from pubs etc? Well, it is in fact a smart political move. They’ve put the ball back in the court of the public and can be seen to give one kind of advice while likely hoping that enough people don’t follow it. Those with cover can’t claim, and insurers don’t take a hit. Meanwhile, the ‘herd immunity’ project will continue, but the powers-that-be will be politically cocooned from the moral outrage of the populace.

Oh, and by the way – Brexit will be back on the table, albeit with a newly flavoured agenda. Brace yourself for more delays and perhaps even the emergence of the coronavirus as a catalyst for a re-think on the decision itself. There is after all nothing like a ‘global crisis’ to pump up the cause for unity.

Cue Cyrus.

unsplash-logoFranck V.

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