Insurance assessors considered essential workers

The Queensland Chief Health Officer has confirmed that insurance assessors and builders are considered ‘essential workers’ during the Greater Brisbane snap lockdown.

Written on 31 March, 2021
Tiffany Eastland

Following Monday’s announcement that Greater Brisbane would enter into a three-day snap lockdown, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) worked with Queensland Health to ensure the insurance industry could continue damage assessments; as well as emergency make safes, wash-outs, strip outs and repairs of properties impacted by recent disasters.

The Queensland Chief Health Officer has confirmed that insurance assessors and builders are considered ‘essential workers’ during the snap lockdown for this purpose.

As with previous lockdowns, it is recommended employers provide staff with a letter confirming the essential nature of their work. Even if staff are considered ‘essential workers’, they must:

  • carry a face mask at all times when they leave home, unless they have a lawful reason not to;
  • wear a mask in indoor spaces;
  • wear a mask when outdoors if they are unable to stay more than 1.5m distance from other people, such as busy walkways and thoroughfares; and
  • be familiar with the latest directions, available here.

Queensland Health also advises that anyone who was in Greater Brisbane on or since 20 March but has since left must follow the same lockdown rules as for Greater Brisbane.

On Monday afternoon, the NSW Chief Health Officer signed a COVID-19 Concerns Notice in respect to any person that has been in Greater Brisbane since 20 March 2021. This Notice took affect at 6pm. In effect, the Notice states that any person in NSW that has been in the City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region or Redland City since 12:01am on 20 March, must:

Immediately travel directly to the person’s place of residence or a suitable place to reside in. If already in NSW, the person must immediately return to their place of residence or other suitable place. The person must not leave that residence except with a reasonable excuse.

Under Schedule 1 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order 2021, a ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:

    1. obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes;
    2. travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence;
    3. exercising outdoors; and
    4. providing care or assistance, including personal care, to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance…

The ICA is working to obtain clarity from NSW Health that damage assessments and claims assistance would classify as a reasonable excuse under exemptions 2 and 7. In the meantime, the ICA recommend any staff subject to this order remain in their accommodation.

In addition, any person that has been to a ‘place of high concern’ is required to self-isolate. A list of venues considered ‘places of high concern’ is available here.

Notwithstanding the above, a person that has only been transiting Brisbane airport since 20 March does not need to comply with the stay-at-home direction.