AXA Update 25 January 2021
As we have previously advised to you, the concessions allowed by AXA have now ceased and you need to advise your usual Bridge contact if any aspect of your risk or business has changed in anyway in response to the lockdown(s) imposed in response to the Covid-19 virus by the UK Government.
Further information on the type of information we need to be made aware was detailed in our letter of 11 November 2020 – a copy of which can be found by clicking here.
AXA Update 24 August 2020
AXA Update on Unoccupied Conditions
AXA have issued the following update:
Reminder on cover for businesses or premises that are unoccupied due to lockdown, staff furloughing or working from home after 31 August 2020.
After this date, the unoccupancy conditions contained within your policy document will apply as normal to any Business or Premises that continues to be unoccupied. You need to inform our underwriters over the next week if you’re expecting the closure of any of your premises to continue beyond that date.
AXA Update 19 June 2020
AXA Update on Unoccupied Premises
For AXA policyholders (prior to the 16 March 2020) whose businesses remain compulsorily closed due to the lockdown (those who must remain closed under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations as appropriate for England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland), AXA will further extend the unoccupancy definition up to and including the 15 July so no compulsory terms apply.
This benefit will also apply to those new business customers where AXA have previously confirmed they would extend their normal Unoccupancy terms (this will have been made clear when cover was incepted, however if you are unsure as to whether this applies to your policy your usual Bridge contact will be able to confirm).
For businesses where closure is not mandated, but the business chooses to remain temporarily closed, the unoccupancy conditions/Empty Buildings Condition of the policy will apply from the 16 June. This requires you to declare to AXA where a building or premises is unoccupied.
AXA Update 12 June 2020
Important AXA Update
AXA have issued the following update in respect of the application of the Unoccupancy Warranty in your policy. Please read and speak to your usual Bridge advisor if you are unable to comply with any the requirements detailed below:
The continued temporary closure of many businesses due to the Covid-19 lockdown has significantly increased the number of unoccupied businesses and buildings. These buildings have a higher risk of damage/loss from various causes, such as water damage, arson and theft, than when occupied.
The standard AXA policies define a building as unoccupied if empty, or not being fully utilised for business purposes, for a period in excess of 30 days (please check your policy wording for full details).
In response to the current situation, we initially supported all existing customers and selected new business customers, who had to close their businesses due to the Covid-19 lockdown, by extending the unoccupancy definition from 30 to 60 days with effect from 16 March when many businesses began to close. As the pandemic continued, we then further extended this definition to cover closure up to and including the 26 June.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease and economic and social activity increase, we are further updating our approach to the unoccupancy conditions.
Firstly, we would like to assure all existing customers (AXA policyholders prior to the 16 March 2020) whose businesses remain compulsorily closed due to the lockdown (those who must remain closed under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations as appropriate for England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland), that we will further extend the unoccupancy definition up to and including the 15 July so no compulsory terms apply to these clients.
This benefit will also apply to those new business customers where we have previously confirmed we would extend our normal Unoccupancy terms (this will have been made clear when cover was incepted, however if you are unsure as to whether this applies to your policy your AXA branch will be able to confirm).
For businesses where closure is not mandated, but the business chooses to remain temporarily closed, the unoccupancy conditions/Empty Buildings Condition of the policy will apply from the 16 June. This requires you to declare to us where a building or premises is unoccupied – our underwriters will then assess the risk as presented. For buildings which remain short-term unoccupied, due to working from home or staff furloughing as a result of Covid-19, we will not:
• increase the rate or premium charged, or restrict the perils covered, unless the previous loss experience illustrates an underlying cause for concern.
• require the removal of contents or stock from the premises.
• require you to seal letterboxes.
• require the water supply to be isolated at the mains and all systems drained down, unless the business plans to be closed beyond the 15 August – if this is the expectation please discuss with our underwriters.
We will however be looking for the building to be appropriately secured and protected as follows:
• the building must be inspected internally and externally at least once per week
• all refuse and waste materials must be removed from the premises.
• the building must be secured, and all protective locks/alarms activated.
• any building/premises with a Material Damage sum insured larger than £5m will require an intruder alarm, to a standard acceptable to AXA, to be fitted and in use.
• gas and electricity must be turned-off at the mains (other than any electricity supply supporting any intruder or fire alarm).
As our policy advises, if you do not comply with these conditions you will not be covered, and we will not pay your claim.
For the avoidance of doubt, businesses and premises that are partially occupied (at least 50%) or partially open (for example a restaurant providing a takeaway service) are not regarded as empty/unoccupied.
These concessions will remain in force until 15 August (or any later date that we may notify to you and/or publicise).
Please note: For buildings that were empty or unoccupied prior to the 16 March, for customers who have businesses or premises that are permanently closed and will not be reopening in their original form and for non-qualifying new business customers, the unoccupancy / empty buildings conditions continue to apply in full.
AXA Update 15 May 2020
AXA would like to clarify, as with other insurers, that whilst they have extended the period of unoccupancy from 30 to 60 days before you need to notify them, this only applies if it is temporarily unoccupied as a result of the restrictions imposed by the UK Government. If it has since become permanently unoccupied then this needs to be notified to them and we ask that your speak to your usual Bridge contact to ensure that AXA are notified of such and that cover can continue.
Restarting Your Business
AXA recognise that many of you will be looking to re-open after temporarily shutting down or reducing operations due to covid-19. This can introduce certain risks and hazards and AXA have produced a number of specific guides to help you identify and mitigate those risks. Please click on the relevant link below to read the guide:
- Supply Chain
- Garden Centres
- Builders Merchants
- Sprinkler Installations
- Motor Fleet Risks
AXA updates 15 April 2020
AXA have advised that where you have laid up and SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification) your motor vehicles they will consider any request to reduce the cover to ‘Laid Up’ for those vehicles. This is a good way to manage your costs, but does mean you will need a secure off-road location to store the vehicles. Where vehicles are not being used, it is important to ensure that they are secure and protected from theft or damage:
- Do not park them too closely if possible
- Do not park high value vehicles together
- Ensure all security options are working and monitored
If you would like to arrange for your motor fleet cover to be reduced to Laid Up the please speak to your usual contact at Bridge.
AXA have issued guidance through their Business Support facility for their Commercial and Management Liability policyholders. It covers a range issues arising during the current pandemic restrictions such as VAT deferral, furloughing, cyber crime and short time working. To access this guidance please CLICK HERE.
In their underwriting section AXA have issued guidance on building maintenance and repairs and home workers. They also explain how to extend first aid certification during Covid-19 restrictions. To access this guidance please CLICK HERE.
AXA updates 09 April 2020
AXA have issued further guidance on the extent of cover available under their policies in respect of pandemics. Please CLICK HERE to read it and please speak to your usual Bridge contact if you need to discuss it further in respect of your specific circumstances.
AXA have confirmed that their inspection company HSB have temporarily stopped their inspection team from visiting customer’s premises. They have however advised that it does however remain your responsibility to have plant inspected within the current guidelines and there has not yet been relaxation of time periods by the HSE. Furthermore, AXA state that where they become aware that you are not complying with the statutory inspection requirements, they would recommend you do not use that particular item of plant until such time an inspection is possible.
They are discussing the issue with the HSE and have promised to provide an update in due course
AXA are now offering all policyholders an extension allowing for £2,500 of business contents at any one UK location, or in transit, subject to normal policy terms and condition for the duration of this situation to deal with employees needing equipment to work from home.
Policy Conditions & Warranties
AXA’s position is unchanged on this and they have asked us to highlight the Cessation of Works clauses on Contractors policies. They understand that it is likely that contract sites will cease activity for several months whilst the outbreak continues and they will consider individual requests on their merits. It is important that you speak to your usual Bridge contact because if a Cessation of Works clause is not adhered to and insurers are not notified when a site becomes dormant, cover can be invalidated.
Whilst AXA are still not providing an automatic extension to your policy during this period they have advised that if you do renew and subsequently cease trading, or sells all the assets insured under the policy, their underwriters are able to allow a pro-rata refund for cancellation, provided there have been no claims or losses in the current policy period.
AXA have now confirmed that normal cover will apply for vehicles that have not been MOT’d under the latest Government guidelines, but they would like us to remind you that you are still responsible for ensuring that vehicles are safe and roadworthy.
AXA updates prior to 09 April 2020
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. AXA have provided us with the following guidance in response to our enquiries.
AXA’s wording in general follows the rest of the UK market in that the UK wide lockdown of premises, such as your own, isn’t a sufficient trigger for policy coverage. COVID 19 is not on their specific list of diseases nor has it manifested itself, or occurred specifically on your premises leading to its closure. 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 AXA 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:
AXA have extended the period of unoccupancy for your business premises before you need to notify them from 30 days to 60 days. CLICK HERE for a full explanation of their approach to ensure that buildings remain insured if they become unoccupied during the current crisis. It is important that you read this and contact your usual Bridge contact if you have any questions or can’t comply with their recommendations/guidance.
If your business premises is still operative then please CLICK HERE
If AXA have previously made specific requirements of you with regards to security and as a result of the ongoing situation you are unable to comply with these measures please contact your usual contact at Bridge as soon as possible to ensure continued full coverage under the policy.
AXA have confirmed that they will continue to monitor the situation and will inform you of any further updates regarding our stance on temporarily closed buildings in due course.
Please note that If your premises were already unoccupied before the Covid-19 outbreak, and 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 AXA and ensure that your current level of cover is maintained and any subsequent claim is not repudiated due to breach of these conditions.
Change in Risk
We asked AXA 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). AXA have declined this and have requested that they are advised of any material changes to the risk in the same way as before. Please review your arrangements and make sure you speak to your usual Bridge contact about any changes in your operations.
AXA have also issued guidance on Business Resilience and this can be viewed if you CLICK HERE
AXA are fully aware that a substantial number of our clients will have purchased significant amounts of additional IT and business equipment. Unfortunately they are not able to provide you with an automatic uplift in the policy to cover these capital additions, so if you need to amend or alter any of your sums insured or policy limits please let us know us immediately.
Policy Conditions and Warranties
Other than what is specified in the section for Unoccupied Premises above, AXA believe you should still be able to comply with other policy conditions and warranties. We ask you to review your policy conditions and warranties and contact your usual Bridge advisor to let us know if you are unable to continue compliance with these. It is important to do this to avoid the possibility that AXA may refuse to pay for any other losses that may arise during this period of lockdown.
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 AXA offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. This has been declined and AXA will handle the renewals in the same way as previous years. If your policy is due for renewal we will be in contact with you to conduct the renewal review.
AXA have requested that if you are facing difficulties in making payments under your monthly instalment plan with them to contact them at instalments.INS@axa-insurance.co.uk with an explanation of your situation and with a proposal for an amended payment schedule. Please copy firstname.lastname@example.org in on any email to AXA.
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 miss a payment deadline then it is important that you contact us as soon as possible so we can assist you.
Motor Fleet Policies
AXA have not provided us with any guidance on motor fleet policies or in relation to the current suspension of MOT testing. We will provide you with this guidance once it is issued, but if you do have any questions in the meantime please contact us and we will refer the matter to AXA.
You will need to advise us if you intend to change the use the vehicles are normally used for, such as:
- Voluntary work on behalf of the NHS Volunteer Responders or the Local Authority Community Help Hub arrangements.
- Offering deliveries or takeaway services.
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 (https://www.baldwinsaccountants.co.uk/news-and-insights/covid-19)
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.
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