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Coronavirus: Business Insurance FAQS

17th April 2020
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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our lives, you’re likely to have questions about how it affects your insurance cover – especially in relation to your business. We’ve noted down some of the commonly asked questions to help you find the answers you need.

Q What do I do about any changes I need to make to my policy?

Drop us a line. Our teams are working as usual. Office phone numbers have been redirected to our team while they work from home. Get in touch with your account executive, or use our contact form. We’ll work with you to make the appropriate changes.

Q My renewal is due soon, what do I need to do?

Please be assured that we are working hard to ensure you receive your document in good time prior to your renewal date. If you would like to discuss your renewal once you receive your documentation, then please get in touch.

Q I have a premium finance plan with Close Brothers / Premium Credit but I am going to struggle to make payments, what should I do?

If you pay your premium via Close Brothers, contact them using the details below:

For any customers who pay via Premium Credit please contact them using the details below:

  • Please call 0344 736 9836. This will direct you to an automated security system for which you will need the following 3 pieces of information:

    Your credit agreement reference number
    Your date of birth and postcode
    Your bank's sort code

Q My business is struggling with cash flow in these uncertain times, is there anything you can do to help with the payment of my premiums?

We may be able to offer you an instalment plan via our third party finance providers. This will allow you to spread the cost of your payments over monthly instalments and can be set up electronically with your consent.

Q If I do not follow Government advice will this invalidate my insurance?

This will depend on the policy you have and what it covers. For example, in respect of travel insurance, if you travelled against government advice there may not be any cover. There will be individual circumstances in the event of any claim which will need to be considered. The latest government advice can be found here.

Q Where can I go for more advice on how to keep my business running in these difficult times?

For information about Business Interruption Loan Schemes (CBILS), visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Other useful links and resources include:

  • Association of British Insurers
  • Mental Health Foundation

Q The Government announced on 17 March that the potential obstacle of premises closure was being addressed with the Insurance industry leaders. Can I now claim for my income loss?

Some policies may cover disruption to the business caused by the outbreak of a notifiable disease or specified diseases, but this is dependent on the wording of these extensions which vary from insurer to insurer, and the individual circumstances that apply.

Many policies won’t respond as they only cover “specified diseases” of which COVID-19 is not listed.

Unfortunately, a standard business interruption policy does not cover you for the losses relating to the impact from COVID-19. The standard cover is designed to respond to losses due to damage to your property by an insured peril such as fire or flood.

Q If my suppliers are affected by COVID-19, will my Business Interruption cover apply?

Most policies will not respond to this as a trigger for business interruption cover, unless specific extensions relating to pandemic have been added.

Q I have closed my business temporarily – do I need to do anything?

Many policy wordings will contain unoccupied premises clauses. It is important that you notify your usual representative at One Broker of any closures and provide details of the measures that you are taking so that we can discuss this with your Insurer.

Due to the unique circumstances that COVID-19 presents, some insurers have responded by increasing their standard unoccupancy clauses by giving policyholders a longer period of unoccupancy before needing to notify them. However, there will still be conditions during the unoccupancy period that will need to be adhered to, as before.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update this as necessary.

Q Will my ‘Public Liability’ cover cater for staff bringing their children into the workplace (with no access to the main shop floor or work environment)?

As a general rule, you will be covered under your 'Public Liability' insurance, however this should be referred to your insurer for approval and would likely be subject to the undertaking and documenting of a risk assessment that clearly shows suitability of your workplace. This should consider things like:

1. Has a specific risk assessment of your business been carried out i.e. is it suitable for their children to access?

2. Have the relevant checks been made for any staff members (if applicable) i.e. the suitability of those undertaking the supervision of their children?

3. Have you followed current Government guidance i.e. around any staff / visitor exposure to the virus, self-isolation and third-party visitors to their premises?

4. Has a risk assessment been undertaken on the suitability of the area where their children will be?

Q Is ‘Loss of Rent’ covered on property owners policies?

You will need to refer to your policy wording for full terms, conditions and exclusions, as this will differ with each insurer. The general insurance position is that your policy may respond in two different areas if the policy has 'Denial of Access (non damage)' and 'Notifiable Disease' extensions:

- In outbreak of a notifiable disease at the premises.

- Denial/Prevention of access on the advice of government, police or local authority.

Note that COVID-19 disease became notifiable on 05/03/2020 under the relevant English statutory instrument.

It is only the contractual loss of rent that would be covered by the policy. If tenants simply suspend rent payments themselves this would not be covered nor would the Insured’s (landlord) decision to reduce rent on the part of tenants or a decision to provide a discount.

In normal circumstances, a standard lease will allow for rent suspension in the event that the property is destroyed or damaged by any insured risk [or uninsured risk] so that the premises are unfit for occupation or use or inaccessible.

The situation is changing rapidly and we can only advise based on individual policy wordings.

Q Can I cancel my policy or let my cover lapse if I’m not trading and don’t need it?

We fundamentally believe that if a business intends to trade on the other side of this situation and carries any of the liabilities mentioned below, then they should retain cover. Please consider the following risks should you consider lapsing your insurance cover.

Do you have a premises?

If you own or rent premises then you could still be liable for damage or injury caused by the property. For example, if a roof tile should come down and injure someone, you would be liable.

Though Buildings insurance is not a legal requirement, having appropriate buildings insurance in place is usually a condition of your mortgage.

Do you lease your premises?

Have you checked your lease agreement to understand what liabilities you hold to your landlord? You may contractually and therefore be legally responsible for insuring all or part of the premises.

Do you intend to offer a different service to customers?

For example, we’re starting to see many traditional pubs now offering a delivery service to their communities. This means that they will have employees who will be visiting customers and they will be holding stock.

You will need to check with us whether your Public Liability, Employers Liability, Stock and Property covers are all adequate.

Will you still be holding your current stock?

This stock is still at risk of theft and damage. In the event of a flood, theft, or escape of water ‒ could you cover the cost of re-stocking your entire business?

Are there any residual liabilities connected to work previously carried out?

Some covers, such as Professional Indemnity Insurance, require continuous coverage to remain suitable where claims can occur sometime after work was carried out. It is important to keep cover active.

What about Employers Liability Insurance and the position with furloughed workers?

Employers Liability cover will need to be maintained for all employees working under a contract of employment even if they have been furloughed.

Of course, this is only a selection of the questions we have been asked. If you have any queries regarding your insurance in the light of Covid-19, email us CV19@OneBroker.co.uk.

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