Can I have a premium break/holiday?

Premium finance houses & insurers are being inundated with requests for payment holidays and are only considering these on a case by case basis and with significant additional information regarding your proposed plan post COVID-19 for repayment. If you would like to discuss this further please get in touch with your usual contact.

Construction Insurance

Cessation of Work Exclusion or Limitation: Many policies have a “cessation of work” exclusion or limitation which will void coverage if work is stopped for a reason other than what is outlined in your policy. Other policies may allow a cessation of work for a certain time period after which, coverage is void or is reduced.

This situation is arguably beyond your control so focus should be on advocacy against temporary suspension of construction activities during this period as a trigger for this exclusion. Either way, however, it is highly recommended that you maintain and protect the project during the period when construction activities are suspended due to Coronavirus. Please speak to us for information on mitigation of risk. 

Abandonment: Similar to the cessation of work clause, some policies may contain an abandonment clause. Ensure that the situation related to your project does not constitute abandonment per the terms of the policy.

We anticipate most insurers will not consider the temporary suspension of construction activity due to the Coronavirus as abandonment, however if the change in economic conditions results in the project being cancelled this condition could come into play.

Increased Hazard: The conditions section of the policy may contain an “increased hazard” clause which could void coverage if such increased hazard is not reported to your insurer.

Insurers may consider the suspension of construction activities as a materially increased risk, therefore any foreseen shifts in schedule, scope, occupancy or values should be reported as soon as possible. Please speak to us with any reports.

Herewith some additional guidance from Aviva:

Engineering Inspection (Statutory Inspection)

Insurers are retaining their inspection service focused on essential services only. Following a definition by HSE and talks with members of SAFed, these essential services are defined to be facilities that are crucial for the treatment/research of the Coronavirus and the general infrastructure of the country. This includes:

  • Health care settings (hospitals, GP practices and essential NHS hubs) and pharmacies
  • Schools used for essential workers child care
  • Services and utilities (power, gas, water, sewage, waste)
  • Retail, manufacturing, port services and transport serving essential provisions (food, medical supplies, fuel etc.)
  • Maintenance and repair serving essential provision, as above
  • Social / economically vital sites and services (construction, large employers)
  • Essential commerce including Government / local council hubs of activity, banking.

If you are operating in one of these sectors, and have any inspection services due in the next 2 months, please speak to your usual contact at T L Dallas.

This list does not include non-essential retail, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes and recreation centres – many of which are now closed. It also places a restriction on housing association and local authority housing stock, non-medical care homes and sheltered accommodation. In view of the government’s wish that people stay at home, insurers believe that they should not be entering these dwellings when restrictions on movement are in place.

Insurers will continue to review their position daily and converse with SAFed and their regulators regularly – and will update any changes. At the moment, insurers envisage this strategy to last until such time as the government relax the stay at home policy.

With regards to equipment which is, or will soon be out of date for examination, the HSE is not currently issuing exemptions or relaxing the requirements of the relevant regulations. HSE have said that they realise this is a fluid situation and the position is consistently under review. Insurers will update insureds if they are informed of any change.

It is your responsibility to ensure regulations are met until such time as the position changes.

Herewith some additional advice from our Health & Safety partners, Lighthouse:

Travel insurance

I am unable to travel due to the most recent update from the government, what should I do?
You should first ask your airline or travel provider to postpone your trip or arrange a refund, this applies for both trips abroad and in the UK. Once you have done this you should look to register a claim for any unrecovered costs. The advice is currently in place for any trips due to depart on or before 17th April 2020.

I have had to postpone a trip or change my destination will my insurance still apply?
If your transport provider or tour operator moves your trip destination or dates due to the Coronavirus outbreak, then insurers will class your original booking date as your booking date, therefore the exclusion for new trips booked will not apply. You will need to amend your insurance to reflect your new dates and there may be an additional premium due for doing this. If your trip is cancelled and you book a new/alternative trip, then your policy will not cover cancellation relating to Coronavirus. Also remember that the general rules regarding FCO advice and travel restrictions will continue to apply.

I have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks due to my medical conditions and now I can’t travel. What should I do?
You should first ask your airline or travel provider to postpone your trip or arrange a refund. Once you have done this please register a claim for any unrecovered costs.

Am I covered if I contract the Coronavirus on holiday?
If you become ill while on holiday, your travel insurance covers your medical expenses abroad – unless you travelled to a location the FCO advised against.

Fleet and Car Insurance

Can vehicles be laid up as they are not being used?
Some insurers are allowing vehicles to be laid up, and will allow return premiums when the vehicles are confirmed to be on SORN basis – please speak with us about this.

My doctor self-isolated me, am I covered to drive?

Yes, unless there is medical advice that you or any driver covered by the policy have medical or physical condition which may affect ability to drive.

The Secretary of State has said Vehicle MOT’s are suspended and an allowance of 6 months has been given. My MOT runs out in this time, is my insurance still valid?

Yes, we noted there is a 6-month extension to MOTs from 30th March. Your cover is not
affected by this, and insurers will not penalise customers for something that is entirely out of their control, provided that the vehicle is kept in a roadworthy condition.

Can we use our vehicles to support NHS and communities?
Many of our clients will want to support people in their communities who are impacted by the Coronavirus, including the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme. If the insured, or one of their employees, use their company vehicle for voluntary purposes (non-payment) to transport medicine or groceries to support others or for the activities of an NHS Volunteer Responder, subject to the customer’s permission and any existing conditions (such as driving restrictions), their cover will not be affected – please speak with us about this.

Herewith some additional advice from Aviva:

Vehicle Security (and Accumulation) LPS

Managing Driving at Work During the Coronavirus LPS

Working from home

Myself and many members of the team are now working from home – do we need to let insurance companies know and what cover do I have?

Insurers are committed to enabling you to continue working, and for some it does mean the need to work from home, be that you as the ‘business owner’ or your employees at their homes. Most Insurers have automatically extended your existing policy cover, at no cost, to provide the same level of protection you currently enjoy whilst you and your employees carry out your normal business activities at home. This extension applies to the following covers, where insured under your existing policy:

  • Business Equipment
  • Employers Liability
  • Public Liability

In addition, most insurers will provide cover for your business equipment whilst you travel to and from home, and at home. We ask that you and your employees take reasonable precautions to protect your assets and employees during this time. Your existing policy terms, conditions and exclusions remain unaltered and apply to cover at both your home and your employee’s home. If you have any more specific questions please speak to a member of the team.

Herewith some additional advice from our Health & Safety partners, Lighthouse:

Unoccupied properties

My premises are now unoccupied as we have followed Government advise to close the business or my tenants have moved out – what should I do

Every insurers has a different definition of ‘unoccupied’ but in general you need to let us know if the buildings  are likely to be unoccupied for a period of 30 days or more.

Please speak to us about how your insurer is applying unoccupancy clauses, as each insurer has a different stance.

If your building is no longer occupied this represents a greater risk of damage, which could delay your organisation getting back up and running, once the current COVID-19 outbreak has passed.

With this in mind we would advise, where you are able to do so safely and within the current government guidelines, you try to ensure that:

  1. The buildings are inspected internally and externally by an authorised person once a week to check the security and general condition of the premises.
  2. All waste, refuse and other disused combustible materials is cleared from the buildings and any grounds adjacent to it.
  3. All external doors are securely locked and all opening windows closed and locked (where fitted with locking devices).
  4. All tanks and pipes are drained down where and when you are able to do this, and all taps, stopcocks and mains supply valves turned off. If this is not possible, because you need to maintain a central heating system, a minimum temperature of 7°C should be maintained.
  5. Gas supplies should be switched off unless to maintain a central heating system.
  6. b) Electricity supplies should be switched off unless to maintain a central heating system or existing intruder alarm systems, fire protection systems, CCTV, security lighting or sprinkler systems.
  7. All existing physical devices for securing, or preventing access to the buildings must be kept in full and effective operation at all times. All keys must be removed from the locks and kept in a secure place away from the premises.

We recognise that you may not be able to complete all of the items listed above, either partially or in their entirety, but we would encourage you to consider anything you can do, to reduce the risk of damage, loss or theft.

Herewith some additional advice from our Health & Safety partners, Lighthouse:

Business Interruption Insurance

If the government orders my business to close because of the coronavirus, can I make a claim on my business interruption cover?
The current spread of coronavirus – and the precautions being taken by the government to stop it – is completely unprecedented. Business interruption cover is designed to protect you against dangers like fires and floods. Due to the situation (and the virus) being so new, there are very few insurance policies that cover it. Some policies include compulsory closure caused by any notifiable infectious diseases, but the vast majority list the specific diseases they cover, and do not include COVID-19  – please speak with us about this.

If I need to stay at home due to coronavirus and can’t run my business, is my business covered for financial losses?
We know that lots of our customers are currently following government advice to stay at home, to protect themselves and others. It’s crucial that we all follow the latest government advice just now – but we understand this can make running your business very difficult. Because this situation (and the virus) is so new, there are very few insurance policies that cover coronavirus and the unprecedented consequences of the outbreak. This means that self-isolation due to coronavirus won’t be included in your business interruption cover.

A lot of customers are cancelling because of coronavirus and my business is suffering. Can we get compensation for the reduced activity?
We understand that lots of businesses are stopping, reducing and changing their services in response to coronavirus. The experience with this situation (and the virus) is so new, there are very few insurance policies that cover it.

We have decided to voluntarily shut our business to protect the welfare of our employees. Are we covered?
There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property.

My policy refers to action by Public Authorities or Non-Damage Denial of Access, does that mean I’m covered?
Insurer’s policies provide cover where you are ordered not to use or to access your insured premises only following a small number of localised incidents.  As a result, you are not covered for general shut-downs ordered by the government.

A supplier or customer has closed their business as a result of Coronavirus related issues and it has caused our business to suffer losses. Are we covered?
There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property.