vrsANA’s first COVID-19 Policy was put into action in March 2020. It was one of the first plans in the industry and it served us well, helping protect our staff and the people we interact with.

This Policy adapted from the model Insurance Disaster Deployment COVID-19 Plan developed by the Insurance Council of Australia and ANA acknowledges and thanks ICA for its initiative.

 About this document

This COVID-19 PLAN sets out the minimum safety measures that all vrsANA personnel are to employ to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission in all work-related situations.

Penalties may apply for breaching health requirements imposed by relevant State Authorities to minimize COVID-19 risk.

This document is subject to change based on evolving requirements, legislation and best practice.

1.  Overview

The fundamental principles of this Plan are common sense and vigilance. COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures are only effective when accepted and complied with by all individuals. Insurers, service providers and deploying personnel should actively engage in familiarising themselves and ensuring compliance with these COVID-19 Safe requirements and any additional requirements imposed by relevant Health Authority.

If there is a conflict between this Plan and State Health guidelines, the higher level of precautions will apply.

Key Terms

Deployed Personnel: Any person employed or contracted by an insurer and physically deployed to a disaster-impacted community

Declared Hotspot: Any locality listed as a Declared COVID-19 Hotspot by the relevant State Health Authority.

ICA: Insurance Council of Australia

State Health Authority: The relevant State Health Authority that has jurisdiction over the area impacted by the disaster

2.  General COVID-19 Infection Control

The Australian Department of Health has developed guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19. On deployment, these guidelines should always be adhered to as should any other measures required by State Health Authorities. The Government guidelines state:

Practice good hygiene

  • wash your hands often with soap and water. This includes before and after eating and after going to the toilet
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when you can’t use soap and water
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • clean and disinfect ‘high touch’ surfaces often such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
  • clean and disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
  • use tap and go instead of cash where possible
  • increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows or changing air conditioning

Keep your distance

  • maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others wherever possible
  • avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
  • use tap and go instead of cash where possible
  • practise extra care if you are using public transport
  • avoid crowds – if you see a crowded space do not enter
  • avoid large public gatherings

Cough Etiquette

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Put tissues in the bin immediately
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser

3.  Employer obligations

If deploying personnel to a disaster, insurers and service providers are to:

  1. Ensure Deployed Personnel are aware of this COVID-19 Plan and agree to adhere to the agreed principles contained in this Plan.
  2. Abide by any COVIDSAFE plan in effect at recovery hubs, insurance hubs, community centres and disaster assistance points, as well as follow the directions of any lead government agency. If there is conflict between this Plan and the COVIDSAFE plan in effect at that location, the higher level of precautions apply.
  3. Where possible, arrange appointments or meetings with customers in advance. When making appointments, ask customers health screening questions to ensure
  4. Develop systems to maintain a log of all close contacts with Deployed Personnel. The log must include contact information for close contacts and is to be provided to the relevant Health Authority if required for the purpose of contact tracing.
  5. provide all Deployed Personnel with PPE for a minimum of 14 days, including single use disposable surgical face masks and alcohol based hand sanitiser, for personnel on the outbound leg of their deployment and sufficient spare PPE.
  6. ensuring deploying personnel are given suitable instruction and training on how to use face masks and other PPE appropriately. (See Appendix B)

4.  Personnel responsibilities

All personnel deployed by vrsANA are subject to this Plan and responsible for:

  1. Their own hygiene and safety.
  2. Following this Plan and the procedures of any other COVIDSAFE plan in relation to evacuation centres, recovery hubs, community meetings or other assistance point – the directions of the lead government agency.
  3. Maintaining physical distancing of a minimum 1.5m distance from all other persons.
  4. Carrying and using COVID-19 specific PPE and consumables when physical distancing is not possible, where directed by the relevant Health Authority.
  5. Immediately escalating breaches of COVID-19 safe principles to their manager.
  6. Reporting interactions with possibly exposed persons
  7. If you come into contact with a person who may have been exposed to COVID-19, outside of work, reporting it to vrsANA Management and remaining away from work until further instructed by ANA Management.
  8. If you come into contact with a person who may have been exposed to COVID-19 as part of your work, as soon as practical after leaving the area report this matter to vrsANA.
  9. If you at a site outside your office and it is possible that management of the facility are not aware of the exposure, please also notify them.
  10. At all times, holding and carrying relevant and valid official identification, or evidence that confirms their identity.
  11. Keeping records of all close personal contacts for a 14-day period commencing on the date of the deployment. These records are to be provided to a manager and must be kept for 28 days.
  12. With WA, use the WA-Safe app wherever there is a check-in point. Outside WA use the Commonwealth Government app.
  13. In the event you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, immediately notify ANA and seek medical assistance. Do not come in to the office or meet face-to-face with work-related people until you are well.

5.  Wearing Face Masks

If required by relevant local health orders or at the direction of a lead government agency, all Deployed Personnel will wear a face mask to minimise COVID-19 transmission risk. In all other circumstances, where physical distancing cannot be maintained a face mask must be worn.

Masks are to be, at a minimum, single use surgical face masks that are disposed of after use. Reusable face masks are not to be worn. Appendix B contains correct procedures for donning, removing and disposing of masks.

If personnel have deployed from a Declared Hotspot, single use surgical masks are to be used when not in self-quarantine, unless otherwise instructed by the relevant Health Authority.

6.  Deploying Personnel from Declared Hotspots

Insurers are to avoid deploying personnel from a Declared Hotspot unless the person provides a critical service that cannot be fulfilled by any other personnel located outside of a Declared Hotspot. 

A person is from a Declared Hotspot if they reside in or have visited in the last 14 days a postcode declared as a Declared Hotspot by the State Health Authority.

If an insurer or service provider considers it essential to deploy personnel from a Declared Hotspot, they are to first notify the ICA Risk Team. The ICA will then liaise with Government and confirm the relevant approval process required.

Before deploying personnel from a Declared Hotspot, an employer must:

  1. contact the ICA and confirm the essential need for deploying personnel from a Declared Hotspot to the disaster-affected community.
  2. complete all relevant applications for exemptions to quarantine and/or border crossing restrictions.
  3. Ensure personnel required to deploy undertake COVID-19 testing and self-isolate between taking the test and deploying. Personnel must not deploy unless they have been tested and returned a negative result for COVID-19.
  4. Ensure personnel do not deploy until confirmation has been received that they are approved to be deployed to the disaster.
  5. On becoming aware of any Deployed Personnel being diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of their return from deployment, the insurer or service provider must notify the ICA and relevant Health Authority, as well as cooperate with subsequent investigations and contact tracing.

7.  Additional obligations for Deployed Personnel from a COVID-19 Hotspot

If deployed from a Declared Hotspot, personnel are to:

  • Abide by the principle of self-quarantining at their accommodation other than when directly fulfilling their critical function.
  • Wear PPE, including N95 mask (or equivalent) when outside of their accommodation.
  • Maintain physical distancing and avoid close contact with any person for 14 days from deploying or until returning home, whichever is sooner.
  • Submit to any COVID-19 tests required by the relevant Health Authority.
  • Keep a log of movements and close contacts by either keeping notes and utilising apps such as the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app.

8.  Accommodation, transport and meals for Deployed Personnel from a Declared Hotspot

  • Personnel are to be co-located in the same hotel unless impractical due to the circumstances of the disaster. Personnel are to be provided individual rooms, unless impractical.
  • Personnel are to self-quarantine at their accommodation when not fulfilling critical function for 14 days of arrival or until their departure, whichever occurs earlier.
  • Personnel are to only travel by private or hire motor vehicle and should not carry any passengers. Personnel are not to travel on public transport.
  • Personnel are to avoid any gatherings of people including restaurants, bars and supermarkets unless unavoidable.
  • Meals should be consumed at the person’s accommodation utilising delivery services if available.

Notwithstanding the above, large disasters pose significant challenges to and restrictions of services and amenities. If accommodation, transport and food services are limited, Deployed Personnel are to use common sense to take the most appropriate action to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

9.  Symptoms During Deployment

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever (37.5 ° or higher)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • loss of taste
  • loss of smell.

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite. If any personnel develop any of the above symptoms at any stage of the deployment, they must immediately inform their manager and isolate themselves from other personnel. Insurers and service providers are to have plans to manage confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.

If symptoms develop once deployed, the symptomatic person and any close contacts must be isolated as soon as possible and the matter reported to the ICA and the relevant Health Authority. The Health Authority give directions for the management of the incident in accordance with the relevant jurisdiction procedures.



How to put on a face mask

  1. Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds) or hand sanitizer prior to touching the clean mask or removing it from its packaging. Dry your hands and make sure you do not touch any surfaces (like opening a door) before you handle the mask.
  2. Remove the mask from its packaging and make sure the mask has no obvious tears, holes or faults. Avoid touching the front of the mask especially once donned.
  3. Identify the top of the mask (generally it has a stiff bendable edge that will mould to the shape of your nose) and the front of the mask (normally a mask is coloured on the front) with the white side towards your face.
  4. If your mask has ear loops, hold the mask by the ear loops and place a loop around each ear. If your mask has ties bring the mask to nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and tie with a bow (leave the bottom set of ties at this time).
  5. If your mask has a band, hold the mask in your hands with the nose piece or top of the mask at your fingertips, the headbands will hang loosely below your hands, then bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head to rest on the crown of your head, then pull the bottom strap all the way over your head to rest at the nape of your neck.
  6. Pinch the stiff nose piece to the shape of your nose.
  7. If your face mask has ties take the bottom ties (one in each hand) and tie at the nape of your neck with a bow.
  8. Adjust the bottom of the mask over your mouth and under your chin.

How to remove a face mask

  1. If you are wearing gloves you should remove your gloves and wash your hands before removing your mask. See our information on Gloves for how to remove your gloves.
  2. Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds) or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Dry your hands and avoid touching the front of the mask.
  3. Do not touch the front of the mask, you will contaminate your hands. Only touch the ear loops, ties or bands.
  4. If your mask has ear loops hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and pull the mask away from you and away from your face.
  5. If your mask has ties untie the bottom bow first (at the nape of your neck), then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from your face as the ties are loosened.
  6. If your mask has bands lift the bottom strap over your head first, then pull the top strap over your head and pull the mask away from you and away from your face.
  7. Dispose of the face mask into a bin.
  8. Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds) or hand sanitiser.