24 April 2020
It has been a month since the government imposed the social distancing measures and asked certain businesses to close their premises to protect the public and their employees. During this time all HIA staff have been adjusting well to working from home and we’ve been supporting them with regular contact, including group calls and online chat.
The ongoing effect this is having on our clients has always been at the forefront of our minds and we have and will always do what we can to support you, whether as individuals or businesses.
A number of topics have been consistently raised during the last few weeks so we’ve tried to put together a brief summary of the guidance we’ve been giving in the hope that we can support you and help navigate your way through these times.
Loss of Income
The vast majority of insurance policies, both in the UK and worldwide, do not provide protection against the effects on businesses caused by diseases linked to pandemics or general government shutdowns.
Underwriting decisions are taken by insurers when they have been able to quantify the potential risk. Insuring circumstances that require government intervention on such a vast scale are not something that insurance companies have products for because the premium costs would be so large and that would make them inaccessible to most, if not all, businesses.
There may be exceptions however and, if you think you may have a valid claim, please speak with your usual contact for advice.
You may not be using your car at all whilst the country is following the government advice on social distancing. Some insurers are allowing discounts to accommodate this so you may be able to reduce cover and save on premium. This could apply to a single private car or a fleet of vans that are not being used for a period. Please speak to your usual contact for advice.
If you are no longer running your business from your usual premises you should check your policy for the terms that apply when the property is unoccupied. Landlords should also check whether their tenants have temporarily vacated a property and ensure the terms and conditions of their policies are being met.
There are best practices to adopt in these situations and insurers encourage, for example, turning off the mains water and making regular visits to properties to ensure they remain secure check for issues.
Thankfully, some insurers have temporarily increased the length of time your business premises can be left unoccupied to account for the possibility of businesses closing temporarily or using homeworking as an option for an extended period.
Some insurers have also made temporary amendments to their policies and have extended contents to provide protection whilst equipment is at employees’ homes.
Please refer to the relevant sections in your policy documents please speak to your usual contact if you need advice.
If you pay your premium by using our Close Brothers Premium Finance facility or an insurer's own instalment plan, we may be able to help you reduce your monthly payments, temporarily, if you are struggling to meet your financial commitments at present. Please speak to your usual contact for advice.
Estimates and Sums Insured
You should check that you still have adequate protection, for example, if you’ve had deliveries of stock but sales have dropped.
Equally, if the sums insured required have reduced, we may be able to discuss a reduction in premium with your insurer.
Please note that annual premiums adjusted using estimates and declared values will be handled by your insurers in the usual way.