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. QBE have provided us with the following guidance in response to our enquiries.
QBE’s wordings on business interruption cover and extensions for denial of access and infectious diseases vary considerably. In general, they follow 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 as the disease has not 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 QBE 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:
Please CLICK HERE to read the attached leaflet for a full explanation of their approach to ensure that buildings remain insured if they become unoccupied during the current crisis.
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 QBE 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 QBE 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). QBE 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.
Policy Conditions and Warranties
Other than what is specified in the section for Unoccupied Premises above, QBE 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 QBE may refuse to pay for any other losses that may arise during this period of lockdown.
QBE 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.
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 QBE offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. This has been declined and QBE 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.
If you pay on monthly instalments direct to QBE they will consider payment holidays on a case by case basis, dependent on your circumstances.
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
If you have to lay vehicles up QBE are prepared to provide cover on a Laid up Accidental Damage, Fire & Theft basis at a reduced rate. The vehicles must be SORN and we will need to refer each case to them for consideration.
If you have to adapt your business to continue trading for example by including a collection/delivery service QBE can consider this cover on a case by case basis. Please let us know if this required.
Following the recent news that MOT’s due for renewal on or after 30th March 2020 have been extended by 6 months, QBE have confirmed that this does not affect policy coverage, but vehicles still need to be maintained as normal.
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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