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Difficult Deliveries: The Changing Landscape of COVID-19

There is no denying that COVID-19 has changed the way business is done, possibly forever. Perhaps the most striking change is the number of customers and individuals who have begun ordering their goods online who previously would have purchased them face to face inside of stores. This change has led to companies of all sizes having to find (and often struggling to find) ways to get those orders to customers in a timely manner. Implementing a delivery system is a major change for many companies, and those same companies often do not have the logistical capability to pull it off, particularly when they are struggling to keep the doors open.

So delivery is often handed off to either third-party vendors, nonstandard delivery services, or sometimes even having employees drop off items during standard working hours or on their way home from work. A number of issues arise with these deliveries in terms of risk management. What type of insurance policies are needed for the vehicles? Are the deliveries being done with private vehicles owned by employees, or with work vehicles? What happens if the goods are damaged?

In the case of pizza delivery drivers, for instance, if a business is employing a driver who is using their own vehicle, a Hired and Non-Owned Policy would need to be purchased by the business. This would cover property damage and general liability for that vehicle during the course of the work being done. Whether that is the same for other industries as well really depends on the specifics of what is being done. The bottom line is that someone needs to be thinking about the (1) risks of allowing drivers to use their personal equipment to deliver packages, and (2) who is ultimately responsible for what happens during the delivery of those packages. These are issues which are often not in the general thoughts of owners during normal business operations but have suddenly become a huge issue.

With the holidays quickly approaching, this problem is not likely to go away. Rather, it is probably going to get even worse. Getting past the lockdowns, the threat of COVID looming, and businesses having to either dramatically change what they do or shut down entirely, the economic situation makes it more understandable that many people are turning to side gigs involving delivery, driving, or helping their employers out doing those same things. Who takes the liability for this? What happens in the event of an accident on the road or an issue involving the items being delivered?

Navigating these questions would be difficult even during a normal economic landscape. During the pandemic, though, with so many new questions coming every day and not many answers on the horizon, it is best to turn to the experts. For more information, Wayne Nesbit at 952-746-4312 or

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