Insurer Covid 19 updates – Hiscox

Hiscox updates

Hiscox update 25 January 2021

We have provided you with some important updates on your Hiscox during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Please read them carefully 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.

You can access the full Hiscox Covid-19 Support Hub by clicking here.

Property

Am I covered for my contents that my employees take home in order to work there?

Generally, we give cover of up to £25,000 for contents other than laptops, tablets or mobile phones that are at employees’ homes. Laptops, tablets or mobile phones can be covered under our Property Away and in Transit cover if you have chosen to take that additional cover. If you need to add cover for lap tops, tablets or mobile phones please speak to your usual contact at Bridge.

What happens if my premises are left unoccupied?

Where we insure your buildings and/or contents, it is a requirement that you notify us if your premises will be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days. This requirement was relaxed in light of the Coronavirus pandemic but we are now in a position where many businesses can reopen.

Given the ever changing situation, you can find some further clarification on how we define ‘unoccupied’ below:

Business SituationNotify us of unoccupancy?Additional Requirements
Not yet re-opened but site visits are practicable, safe and permitted within Government guidelinesNoVisits to be conducted at least every seven days to ensure that everything is in order. The visits must include an internal and external inspection and you must document the outcome of each of the visits.
It is not possible to reopen or visit the site as it is prohibited or goes against Government guidelines.NoKeep abreast of what is permitted and, at least weekly, document why it is not permitted to reopen or visit your premises.
It is possible to reopen or visit safely etc. but you are electing not to or you have unfortunately gone out of business but still own the assets at this timeYesN/A
Situations not covered by the aboveYesN/A

Please don’t forget to check any other requirements in your policy and, in all scenarios whether it’s a requirement of your policy or not, we would recommend the following where feasible:

  • Shut off the water supply to the premises (unless it is linked to fire protection, such as a sprinkler system).
  • Ensure that measures are taken to prevent breaking and entering and / or theft, like checking the premises is physically secure and that intruder alarms are operational and set.
  • Ensure that fire alarms are operational, especially those linked to the likes of central station monitoring.

What should I consider when conducting inspections of my unoccupied property?

Our partner Risk Control Services Ltd have supplied the following template [ https://www.hiscox.co.uk/sites/uk/files/documents/2020-06/Temporary_Site_Closure_Weekly_Inspection.pdf ] which will be a good start point for conducting inspections but you must be sure that it is relevant for your business. This document is for guidance only and does not form part of your contract of insurance with Hiscox. Your contract of insurance is contained within your specific insurance policy documentation.

Employers Liability

My employees are working from home due to recent Government guidance, will they be covered by my insurance policy?

If you currently purchase employer’s liability cover for your business, then you don’t need to worry – this will extend to cover them while they are working from home during this period.

An employee has alleged that I have acted negligently and, as a result, they have contracted Coronavirus at work. Does my employers’ liability insurance cover this?

We will assist you and accept your claim if such a claim is made, subject to the terms of your policy. The safety of your employees should be paramount with all Government guidance and restrictions followed.

Do I still require employers’ liability (EL) insurance for my furloughed employees?

We are not able to give formal guidance on this topic, but our understanding is that any business which remains operational will still have a legal requirement for EL. This is due to a number of reasons, but principally because the requirement to have and maintain EL is driven by the status of the employer, not the employee. You may wish to contact your broker for more formal guidance on this.

Hiscox update 15 April 2020

We are aware of reports in the national press concerning challenges to the position of Hiscox in relation to the repudiation of business interruption claims as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to understand that Hiscox maintains the position that their policy does not provide any coverage for the COVID-19 pandemic, however we are closely monitoring their response to these challenges and if the position changes we will update our clients accordingly. In the meantime, if you wish to discuss the matter further then please speak to your usual Bridge contact.

Hiscox update prior to 15 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. Hiscox 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 Hiscox’s guidance in full.

Policy Coverage

Hiscox’s policy wording in general follows the rest of the UK market. Their position is that the UK wide lockdown of premises, such as your own, isn’t a sufficient trigger for policy coverage. Some policies refer to action by Public Authorities or Non-Damage Denial of Access which Hiscox have advised us will only apply where you are ordered not to use or to access your insured premises only following a small number of localised incidents.  You are not covered for general shut-downs ordered by the government. Whilst we appreciate their response is disappointing their position is largely the same as the overwhelming majority of commercial insurers in the UK. 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:

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/business-insurance/

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:

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/business-insurance/

Unoccupied Premises

Hiscox normally require you to tell them if your property is going to be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.  Hiscox are extending this period to 90 days if your business premises has been closed as a result of the current restrictions of the UK Government.  They recommend that you shut off the water supply to the premises, and ensure that any measures to prevent thefts are taken, such as locking away equipment and setting intruder alarms.

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 Hiscox 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 Hiscox to relax their requirement for notification of any changes in risk whereby for example you have adopted a change in your business description (for example to accommodate a takeaway/delivery service). Hiscox have not issued any guidance I this respect so we ask you to please review your current business activities and operational arrangements and to speak to your usual Bridge contact if there are any changes that need to be agreed with Hiscox.

Capital Additions

Generally, Hiscox give cover of up to £25,000 for contents other than laptops, tablets or mobile phones that are at employees’ homes.  Laptops, tablets or mobile phones can be covered under their Property Away and in Transit cover if you have chosen to take that additional cover. We ask you to please review your sums insured and speak to your usual Bridge contact to advise us of any changes to ensure you are fully covered by the above extensions.

Policy Conditions and Warranties

Other than what is specified in the section for Unoccupied Premises above, Hisocx have issued no guidance on compliance with other policy terms and conditions. We must therefore 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. 

Renewals

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 Hiscox offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. Hiscox have not responded to this request so when we contact you to conduct the renewal review we can discuss any requirement for an extension with you for consideration by Hiscox.

Payment Holidays:

Hiscox 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 accounts@bridgeinsurance.co.uk  

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:

Email:    help.centre@pcl.co.uk or colls@pcl.co.uk

Tel:        0344 736 9836 or 0330 123 9717

Close Brothers Limited:

Email:    customerservices@closebrothers.com

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.

Useful information

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.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.

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