That said, he wouldn’t rule it out.
It’s a slightly curious response given the amount of research into the lower risks of serious illness, hospitalisation and death that accompanies vaccination that has already been published by a range of credible experts.
When pricing risk for overseas travel insurance, vaccination status seems even more important given the incidence of COVID is so much higher in most other countries.
Travel insurers already charge higher premiums for customers looking to do dangerous activities such as ride a motorbike around Asia, and they impose a bigger premium to those with existing health issues.
But one of the largest providers, Cover-More, is adamant it would charge the same premium – regardless of vaccination status.
The reluctance of insurers to approach the uncomfortable issue of the risk demarcation between those with and those without inoculation appears to be as much about the appearance of discrimination, as it does a lack of understanding of mathematical risk.
Like so many other businesses in Australia that would really prefer all their staff to be vaccinated, they are reluctant to appear prejudicial towards those that aren’t.
Businesses have been falling over themselves to lengthen the carrot they offer staff to have the jab. In-house vaccination hubs for staff and families and paid vaccination leave are now commonplace, while staff surveys abound that metaphorically test the temperature of the employees on the issue.
The surveys taken by those that employ large numbers of white-collar staff suggest that more than 90 per cent are vaccination-willing.
That said, to date there have been a handful that have broken ranks and mandated staff that deal with the public or work in an office setting or onsite in manufacturing or mining.
BHP and Telstra – two of the largest employers in the country have taken the plunge over the past couple of weeks.
On Thursday, the big four banks chose to take different paths. The Sydney-based banks – the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac – will require office and branch staff to have vaccination protection.
The Melbourne-based banks – ANZ and National Australia Bank – appear to be flirting with the idea but are not yet brave enough to take the plunge.
The Melbourne banks seem to be doing so under the cover of the current state-based restrictions. NAB, for example, noted that in Victoria “our people must be vaccinated if entering one of our buildings”.
This however won’t help staff that work in NSW, where everyone will be allowed back into buildings at the start of December. Nor will it help in Victoria when the government eventually drops the restriction distinction between the immunised and those that remain hesitant.
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