Zurich update 12 January 2021
Zurich posted the following the update confirming they will continue to apply the concessions in respect of temporarily closed premises:
Temporarily closing premises – Coronavirus
Zurich recognise the challenges faced by our customers as buildings are forced to close or operate on a limited basis going forward. This bulletin is intended to update you on the Zurich position with regards to temporary closure of buildings as a result of COVID-19. It applies across all Zurich property business, including Commercial Insurance, Zurich Municipal and Zurich Retail businesses.
We are committed to treating our customers fairly and so we accept that where our customers are making appropriate provisions to mitigate their unoccupied risk as a result of Coronavirus, the temporary closure of your building should not prejudice any claim made.
It is our intention that where buildings are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our Unoccupied Conditions will not apply and we will not be taking any further measures to restrict coverage.
Zurich recognise the challenges faced by our customers as buildings are forced to close or operate on a limited basis going forward. Where possible, customers should continue to follow the risk management advice below and maintain in place the existing provisions of physical security and monitoring. The following documents are intended to be used as guidance only and do not impact the coverage provided under our policies.
We would encourage continued/daily onsite presence and if provisions exist for building closures already, ie. procedures taken during holiday periods, then these procedures should be taken forward during this unprecedented time. Where a site usually has a 24/7 presence and there are not adequate measures on site in the event of unoccupied closure (such as the absence of an intruder alarm) then please refer this to the relevant Zurich underwriting department.
If we have made specific requirement 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 Zurich contact / Underwriter and we will be happy to work with you to address the issue.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will inform you of any further updates regarding our stance on temporarily closed buildings in due course.
Zurich update prior to 12 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. Zurich have provided us with the following guidance in response to our enquiries.
Zurich’s policy 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 has to manifest itself at, 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 Zurich 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:
It is Zurich’s intention that where buildings are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, their Unoccupied Conditions will not apply and they will not be taking any further measures to restrict coverage. Zurich recognise the challenges faced by their customers as buildings are forced to close or operate on a limited basis going forward. They have advised that all customers should follow the risk management advice below and where possible the existing provisions of physical security and monitoring should remain in place.
Please click on the links below that are relevant to your circumstances:
- New Construction Sites Closure
- Temporary Closure of Buildings
- Temporary Closure of Buildings undergoing Refurbishment
- Partial Closure of Buildings
Zurich encourage continued/daily onsite presence and if provisions exist for building closures already, ie. procedures taken during holiday periods, then these procedures should be taken forward during this unprecedented time. Where a site usually has a 24/7 presence and there are not adequate measures on site in the event of unoccupied closure (such as the absence of an intruder alarm) then please refer this to your usual contact at Bridge.
If Zurich 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.
Zurich 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.
Change in Risk
We asked Zurich 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). Zurich responded by saying that “Many restaurants, cafes and bars have decided to move to take-away/delivery only for the present time. As long as the food is being cooked at the insured premise, there is no problem with this. Public liability already covers delivery, so there is no need to endorse the Zurich policy in any way.”
We ask you to please review your business activities and operational arrangements and make sure you speak to your usual Bridge contact about any changes in these so we can ensure you are correctly covered.
Zurich are fully aware that a substantial number of our clients will have purchased significant amounts of additional IT and business equipment and most policies have an automatic provision for these Capital Additions. The % uplift will vary and we ask you to review this (usually 10% of the total contents figure). It does not apply to specific locations already insured under the policy, so if you need to amend or alter any of your sums insured above the automatic provision please let us know us immediately and we can arrange this for you.
Policy Conditions and Warranties
Other than what is specified in the section for Unoccupied Premises above, Zurich 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 Zurich 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 Zurich offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. This has been declined, but Zurich do recognise the current difficulties and are proposing to automatically renew your policy with an extended ‘Cooling Off’ period in the case of any incapacity issues at the time of finalising the renewal.
If your policy is due for renewal we will be in contact with you to conduct the renewal review.
Zurich have not yet issued us with any guidance for customers who might be facing difficulties in paying monthly instalments. We hope this will follow shortly.
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
Zurich recognise that you may need to lay up vehicles and they will accommodate any such request subject to caveats below, and charge for by applying a 60% reduction to the Rate Per Vehicle on the policy for the period that the vehicles are laid up.
- Cover is for Fire & Theft only.
- They will need sight of the SORN certificate (available online for customers to arrange)
- Appropriate security & accumulation measures are taken – such as not parking too many vehicles in the same area.
They also recognise that you may have to adapt their business to continue trading for example including a collection/delivery service. Zurich will look to accommodate where possible, but they will need to look at each case on its own merits. Please contact your usual Bridge if any changes are required.
Following the recent news that MOT’s due for renewal on or after 30th March 2020 have been extended by 6 months Zurich have confirmed they will still cover vehicles in the event that MOT requirements cannot be met due to conditions imposed from government restrictions. They have emphasised however that driver safety is paramount so they strongly encourage drivers to ensure they take all precautions they can such as ensuring tyre pressure, oil, windscreen fluid and water are at correct levels and vehicle is fully maintained in an efficient and roadworthy condition. Where a service is due this should be done as soon as practically possible.
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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