Covid-19 changes to cover:
Insurers are beginning to automatically amend cover under their policies to temporarily facilitate the changes that businesses are making to their working operations.
For details please see below, however, if you have any specific queries please let is know.
Covid-19 Insurance Company Enhancements to Standard Cover
If you have closed your premises and it will be left unused due to Covid-19 you should take prudent action to protect the premises, contents and stock.
We anticipate major insurers will automatically extend the notification period for informing them that a premises has become unoccupied/unused and for cover restrictions to be deferred. (see below for confirmed insurers)
Working from Home
We anticipate most major insurers will take an accommodating approach where normal business activities are moved to home and the activities are suitable for the home premises.
If you or your team have taken business equipment home – this would normally be insured under the ‘all risks’ section of your policy (if selected). In the current environment we anticipate most major insurers will automatically adjust cover to cater for this with no additional premium. (see below for confirmed insurers)
If you have purchased additional equipment to enable home working please check your sums insured are adequate. Please contact your usual Qualitas contact to review these.
Employers Liability – COVID-19
Employers Liability policies will provide defence if a claim is brought and, if you are found negligent, pay legal costs and compensation (subject to the policy wording, conditions and the actual situation that occurred).
Appropriate risk assessments/health and safety issues should be considered.
Currently we are aware of:
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – No restriction of cover from the time the unoccupancy starts, until the restrictions on premises are lifted. Subject to applying appropriate best endeavours to manage the premises, including appropriate security measures while they are closed, and adhering to governmental advice and action. This applies for the next 60 days (from 24 March 2020).
WORKING FROM HOME – Ageas automatically:
- accept working from home without the need to be notified, where the activity is suitable to be undertaken in a home environment.
- provide additional cover for up to £50,000 (per policy) of computer equipment and business equipment in transit, to and at employees’ homes.
No additional charge, on a first loss basis, for the next 60 days (from the 24 March 2020). This temporary automatic cover will cease at the end of this period (unless a further extension is provided).
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – Period before unoccupancy period applies increased to 60 days.
WORKING FROM HOME – The Policy is automatically extended to provide cover for Property (including electronic office equipment) temporarily removed from the Business Premises to the homes of Directors / Partners / Principals / Employees as a result of the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This cover is provided up to a limit of:
£1,500 any one item
A maximum of £3,000 at any one Employees home.
This extension is automatically provided for Property otherwise covered under the Policy and subject to the Policy Wording and Excess in the Policy. The total Sums Insured will be limited to those specified in the Policy Schedule.
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – Period before unoccupancy period applies increased to 90 days.
WORKING FROM HOME – Automatic extension of existing policy cover to provide the same protection so they can carry out their normal business activities at their home and the homes of their employees. Applies to Business Equipment, Employers Liability and Public Liability where insured under their existing policies.
Cover for business equipment whilst in transit to and from homes included.
Take reasonable precautions to protect assets and employees.
Existing policy terms, conditions and exclusions remain unaltered and apply to their respective homes.
This extension will apply until further notice, Aviva will give 30 days prior to this extension of cover being withdrawn. No additional charge.
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – Period before unoccupancy period applies increased to 60 days.**
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – Period before unoccupancy period applies increased to 90 days. The following additional measures apply:
- premises secured by putting all protective, locking devices and any alarm protection, in effective operation.
- where practical turn off the gas, water and electricity supplies at the mains (except where needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems, or systems for sprinklers).
- where possible visit once every 7 days to physically check the premises and carry out immediately work necessary to maintain the security of the premises.
- remove all trade refuse and waste materials from the interior of the premises, allowing no accumulation in adjoining yards/spaces owned by the Insured.
All Conditions requiring Policyholders to take action or respond to intruder alarm activations, faults or other maintenance-related matters continue to apply unless agreed to be impractical due to COVID19 Government-directed actions limiting or restricting the movement of people.
WORKING FROM HOME – Temporary Removal extension applies for business contents risks to the stated limits where employees use business equipment whilst working from home.
For all Stock moved to employees’ homes due to closure as a result of COVID-19 Third Party Storage Sites extension will be deemed to operate on policies (where a Material Damage section is included) for the duration of the crisis.
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – RSA consider such business premises to be temporarily unoccupied. However, certain standard restrictions in RSA policies for unoccupied properties will not be applied, provided that the period of closure does not exceed 90 days. This means that, for the period that they may be closed up to 90 days maximum (whichever is the shorter):
- where the policy wording excludes Malicious Damage, Escape of Water or Theft with respect to buildings that are empty or not in use, such exclusions will not apply
- security and inspection conditions applicable to Unoccupied Properties will not apply
RSA encourage customers to notify them if the business premises has been closed as a result of the UK Government’s COVID-19 guidance or restrictions. However they will not refuse to consider a claim simply because a customer has not advised that a building is now closed as a direct consequence of UK Government COVID-19 guidance or restrictions.
WORKING FROM HOME – For the period that the relevant COVID-19 restrictions by the UK Government remain in force, RSA will automatically provide additional cover for items temporarily removed to the home of an employee to enable working from home for a Sum Insured of £5,000 per home and a single article limit of £2,500. Other relevant policy terms and conditions will continue to apply.
UNATTENDED PROPERTY* – Unoccupied conditions will not apply and Zurich will not be taking any further measures to restrict coverage, including not applying unoccupied premises rating.
Where possible the existing provisions of physical security and monitoring should remain in place. Zurich encourage continued/daily onsite presence unless explicitly restricted by Government guidelines and advice 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) this needs to be referred to Zurich.
*temporarily unoccupied premises as a consequence of COVID-19
** AXA – If premises do become vacated we would recommend the following actions, and that you always speak to an AXA underwriter if there are specific circumstances that make the recommendations unachievable.
All activities must only be undertaken in line with the current guidance issued by HM Government. www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Further guidance can also be found at:
Site Security – check perimeter fences and gates are in good state of repair and operational
External lighting – check lighting and that any associated movement sensors are operational
Building Physical Security – check that window and door locks, and any security shutters, are operational. The use of external key safes should not be used
Access Control – check to ensure this is operational and maintained
CCTV – check to ensure this is operational and maintained, including recording and any remote monitoring
Intruder Alarm – check to ensure this is fully operational and maintained, including offsite remote monitoring. Any reduction in Police response or
keyholder availability needs to be advised to us.
Where no CCTV or Intruder Alarm exists, consider
temporary systems – we’ve arrangements in place with First Response Group to assist (email@example.com or 03300 415 008)
Automatic Sprinkler protection – this should remain fully operational and maintained. Weekly testing should continue, with guidance sought as to whether this can be supported whilst adhering to social distancing
Automatic Fire Alarm – check to ensure the system is fully operational and maintained, including offsite remote monitoring
Fire doors – ensure all internal fire doors and shutters are closed
Letterboxes should be sealed
Where large car parks are vulnerable to incursion and potential fly-tipping, additional denial of access security measures should be considered, including provision of 4.5 ton concrete blocks – we’ve
arrangements in place with First Response Group to assist (firstname.lastname@example.org or 03300 415 008)
Inspections – where the site is operational with limited staffing, an inspection should be carried out at the beginning and end of the working day. Where the site is temporarily closed, where possible arrangements should be made for a weekly internal and external site inspection, with guidance sought as to whether this can be supported whilst adhering to
Waste – internal and external waste to be removed from site with external storage located a minimum of 10m from the building
Utilities (electrical, water, heating) – shutdown and isolate / drain any non-essential utility services that are not required for operational reasons,
maintaining minimum temperatures to prevent freezing, or for protection
Unattended Processes – other than unattended processes already notified to AXA, other processes or machinery should not be run unsupervised. Where this needs to be considered, please supply details to us.
Hot Work – non-essential hot work activity should cease unless a continuous fire watch can be maintained during and for at least 1 hour after the work ceases.
Maintenance – the ongoing planned preventative maintenance regimes should continue especially for critical plant and machinery, utilities and protection equipment. Adjustment to maintenance or servicing may be
appropriate (i.e. increased time between kitchen extract duct cleaning due to less use)
Tenants should be advised to contact their own business insurers to understand any specific measures that they wish to be taken.
No money should be left on the premises unless kept in an approved safe
Inspection of empty buildings Completing empty building inspections personally (or by an employed person) should not be undertaken. Our advice is to get a vacant building security company to do it. Our preferred supplier is First Response Group
(email@example.com or 03300 415 008) – they can complete this competently and not put others at risk.
Update 09/04/20 with Allianz working from home. Update 30/03/20 with Zurich unoccupied buildings cover.