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. Unfortunately your insurer has not provided us with any specific guidance and so we ask you to speak to your usual Bridge point of contact so we can understand your particular circumstances. There are a number of issues for you to consider and these are summarised below:
The current UK wide lockdown of premises, such as your own, isn’t a sufficient trigger for policy coverage under most Business Interruption wordings in the UK. Whilst we do appreciate that this will come as a disappointment, 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:
There is recognition across the insurance industry that may clients’ premises have been forced to closed down temporarily or operate on a reduced basis due to the current restrictions. We need to understand the current status of your business so we can discuss it with your insurer and ensure you do not unintentionally breach any unoccupancy conditions.
Please also note that If your premises were already unoccupied before the Covid-19 outbreak your existing unoccupied conditions will continue as before. If you are now unable to comply with se conditions then please get in touch with your usual Bridge contact as soon as possible so we can discuss the matter with your insurer 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 are aware that the majority of our clients will now have personnel working from home, changed operational, maintenance and housekeeping procedures or even adopted a change in their business description (for example to accommodate a takeaway/delivery service when ordinarily they trade as a restaurant or to manufacture equipment for the NHS). Can we please ask you to review your current business activities, maintenance, housekeeping and operational arrangements and speak to your usual Bridge contact about any changes that have happened so we can speak to your insurer and ensure you are correctly covered.
We are fully aware that a substantial number of our clients will have purchased significant amounts of additional IT and business equipment as you restructure your business operations. Please review your sums insured and speak to your usual Bridge contact to advise us of any changes that may be required.
Policy Conditions and Warranties
There is a general expectation for you to continue to comply with all policy terms, conditions and warranties. We therefore ask you to contact us immediately if you are now unable to comply with any of the policy conditions or warranties as a result of the restrictions in place. We want to avoid the risk that your insurer could repudiate a future claim due to a failure to comply with the policy terms and conditions.
Risk Improvement Requirements
If you have outstanding risk improvement requirements then please let us know if you are now unable to meet the deadline dates set by your insurer. We can discuss your situation with the insurer and where possible agree an extension to those dates.
HSE have not provided any exemptions to items of plant and equipment that require statutory inspections. Whilst it is acknowledged that there are difficulties in getting such equipment inspected during the current restrictions insurers are generally recommending that you do not use any item where the inspection date has passed. Please let us know immediately if this affects you and we can discuss your situation with your insurer. However, we do ask that you speak to your inspection company (and the HSE if necessary) first so we can be appraised of your full circumstances.
In general, if your policy is due for renewal during the period whilst restrictions from the UK Government remain in place, insurers are not offering an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time.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.
If you pay your premiums by direct debit to the insurance company then please contact us as soon as possible if you are struggling and think you are going to miss a payment. Please 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
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.
If your vehicles are laid up, SORN and kept off the public highway, please let us know and will approach your insurer to see if they can offer Laid UP cover and provide a discount off your premium.
Following the recent news that MOT’s due for renewal on or after 30th March 2020 have been extended by 6 months insurers have generally agreed that they will still cover vehicles in the event that MOT requirements cannot be met due to conditions imposed from government restrictions. However, vehicles must continue to be maintained in a roadworthy condition.
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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