Arch update 25 January 2021
Arch Insurance have issued the following Covid-19 update. It is important that you read its contents and speak to your usual contact at Bridge if you are unable to comply with any of the requirements, need to notify of a change in circumstance or if you have any questions.
Temporarily Unoccupied Premises
For businesses that have temporarily closed following recent government Covid-19 instructions (whether because of regional government lockdowns, choosing to work from home or staff shielding), we will not consider your premises to be unoccupied. This does not apply to premises that were already unoccupied at the time of any government Covid-19 instructions or those that have become permanently unoccupied during this period.
Where premises are possible to access, we will expect you to;
- Conduct weekly visits and take note and retain the condition of the premises.
- Ensure all services are turned off at the mains, except electricity where needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm system in operation and the water and heating system drained (and wherever possible chain and padlock the isolation valves).
- Where practicable, repair or arrange to be repaired any defects found.
- Ensure that the premises are adequately secured against unauthorised entry including the sealing of any letterboxes and openings.
- Remove any accumulations of combustible materials, such as junk mail and newspapers during each inspection of the premises.
- Advise us immediately if the buildings are to be occupied by contractors for renovation alteration or conversion purposes or if the buildings are to become permanently unoccupied.
- All of the above will be subject to a further review by the 31st January 2021, with any amendments advised accordingly.
Arch updates prior to 25 January 2021
We have been involved in in-depth discussions with a number of insurers over the arrangements of our clients’ policy in relation to the restrictions imposed by the UK Government in order to contain the COVID 19 pandemic. Arch Insurance have issued formal guidance following the outbreak of COVID19 and this can be accessed by CLICKING HERE . We have reviewed the guidance and have summarised the important points below. It is important that you read both our summary and Arch’s guidance in full.
Arch’s cover for business interruption is only triggered by damage to physical property at the insured premises preventing the business from being able to trade. Their policies do not cover pandemic diseases due to the difficulties involved in predicting the potential risk. We appreciate that the above clarification will come as a disappointment, however this is largely the same position for the overwhelming majority of commercial insurance policies in the UK – not just for Arch policies. However, we do urge you to check with your usual Bridge contact to clarify the position under your policy.
Further information on the coverage that applies across a wide range of types of insurance contracts across the UK is available from the website of the Association of British Insurers:
For the first 90 days that the UK Government Covid-19 closure order applies to your business, Arch will not consider your premises to be unoccupied. This does not apply to premises that were already unoccupied at the time of the closure order, or those that become permanently unoccupied during this period.
For premises that were already unoccupied at the time of the closure order, or those that have become permanently unoccupied during this period, they will not enforce any condition for regular inspections of the premises. Other conditions will still apply so if you are now unable to meet the terms of the unoccupied conditions in your policy due to the current restrictions, please get in touch with your usual Bridge contact so we can discuss the matter with Arch and ensure that your current level of cover is maintained and any subsequent claim is not repudiated due to breach of these conditions.
Arch have promised to continue to review this position as the situation develops.
Change in Risk
We asked Arch to relax their requirement for notification of any changes in risk whereby for example you have the majority of personnel working from home, housekeeping and maintenance procedures have changed or you have adopted a change in your business description (for example to accommodate a takeaway/delivery service when ordinarily they trade as a restaurant). Other than for homeworking arrangements Arch have not agreed to this so we ask you to please review your business activities and operational arrangements and if there is anything you don’t believe is covered by the above please make sure you speak to your usual Bridge contact so we can ensure you are correctly covered.
Arch have issued some risk management guidance on home working. Please CLICK HERE to read this guidance.
Arch have not advised whether they are prepared to offer automatic increases in sums insured for business and IT equipment to cover the potential capital purchases you may have made to restructure your business operations. Please review your sums insured and speak to your usual Bridge contact to advise us of any changes.
Policy Conditions and Warranties
Other than what we have already discussed above, Arch have issued no guidance on this so we must advise you to contact us if you are now unable to comply with any of the policy conditions or warranties as a result of the restrictions in place.
We made a request that for those of you whose policy is due for renewal during the period whilst restrictions from the UK Government remain in place that Arch offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. Whilst Arch have not been able to agree to this they are happy to grant renewal extensions on a case-by-case basis wherever possible. If your policy is due for renewal we will be in contact with you to conduct the renewal review and we can discuss any requirement for an extension.
Arch have not issued any guidance yet in respect of payment holidays or alterations to payment schedules if you are struggling to pay your monthly premium instalment to them. If you are struggling then please contact them in the first instance or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you pay your instalments through either Close Brothers or Premium Credit then both firms have advised us that they can show flexibility in your schedule of payments by offering limited payment holidays and extending the number of instalments. Both firms will consider each request on a case by case. In the first instance any such request must be made direct to them using the following contacts:
Premium Credit Limited:
Tel: 0344 736 9836 or 0330 123 9717
Close Brothers Limited:
Tel: 0333 321 8566 (Personal Lines)
0333 321 8567 (Commercial)
If you pay for your premium up front then you may want to consider paying it by instalment via one of our Premium Finance partners to help manage your cash flow. If you think you are going to miss a payment deadline then it is important that you contact us as soon as possible so we can assist you.
Motor Fleet Policies
Arch wish to support those volunteering as NHS volunteer responders or in the local authority community help hubs. They have confirmed that this use will be automatically covered for vehicles they are insuring and there is no need to advise them. Please note if you wish to provide a vehicle to a volunteer group, and it will be driven by drivers other than those normally covered on the policy, you will need to speak to your usual Bridge contact for referral to Arch.
Arch recognise that a number of our clients may now be providing takeaways and food delivery services to support their communities. Arch can confirm that this use will be automatically covered for the vehicles already insured on the policy and there is no need to advise them. Please note, if you decide to employ additional drivers using their own vehicles, then those drivers must have their own appropriate insurance cover. They won’t be covered under your policy.
Arch note that the UK government has said your car, van and motorcycle’s MOT expiry date will be extended by six months if it is due on or after 30th March – however the vehicle must still be roadworthy. If your vehicle is roadworthy, it will be covered by the policy. Please note that lorries have a different exemption and we suggest you clarify the guidance for your vehicle by visiting the UK government website at https://www.gov.uk/transport/mots.
If your vehicles are laid up, SORN and kept off the public highway, please let us know and will approach Arch to see if they can offer Laid UP cover and provide a discount off your premium.
In these challenging and uncertain times we would like to reiterate that Bridge Insurance is deeply to committed to all our clients and we will continue to act in your best interests in these challenging times. We hope that the continued updates from the UK Government regarding financial assistance for business interruption due to the COVID19 pandemic, will prove of use to you. You can find out more details about this by clicking this link.
Our accountants have produced a very helpful analysis and summary of the financial assistance available from the UK Government and this available to you by CLICKING THIS LINK
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.
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