UPDATES from QUALITAS

In a short period of time we have all seen massive change to our personal and professional lives. At Qualitas we are determined to help support businesses and their employees through this difficult period as best as we are able. Our aim is to keep you updated with matters which might impact on your insurance cover and also other information that may help you both now and in the coming months.

INSURANCE / GOVERNMENT SUPPORT / QUALITAS BUSINESS SUPPORT

12/05/20 – Back to Work Guide: Guide with useful pointers of things to consider when reopening your business premises. Guide

22/05/20 – Online Help Platform – Accessing Financial Support during COVID-19: The UK government’s Coronavirus Business Support Finder Tool will guide businesses through the range of loans, tax reliefs and cash grants to combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.

22/05/20 – First Aid Certificates: The HSE has made an announcement that a three-month extension on existing certificates. More…

20/05/20 – Temporarily Unoccupied Premises*: Recognising that some businesses will take time to reopen a number of insurers have increased the period that a property is temporarily unoccupied (due to Covid-19) before they need to be informed. Ageas – 90 days (from 24/03/20), Allianz – 90 days, Aviva – 90 days, AXA – notify if the property remains unoccupied on/after June 15th 2020, Hiscox – 90 days. After which your insurer must be informed if the premises remains empty. The previously advised recommended actions to protect the premises continue to apply.

*Enhanced periods do not apply to premises that were unoccupied before the Covid-19 stay at home guidance, that are unoccupied for reasons other than Covid-19 or have become permanently vacant.

12/05/20 – Job Retention Scheme Extended: The scheme is to remain open until the end of October. New flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work. Furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. More specific details will be made available by government by the end of May.

28/04/20 – Small Business Bounce Back Loans: 100% government backed loan scheme for small business. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. Online application through a short and simple form. See www.gov.uk website .

25/04/20 – HMRC Employer Bulletin: HMRC issue an Employer bulletin every two months – up to date information on payroll topics – including Covid-19 related issues. April Employer Bulletin.

24/04/20 – Premium Payments: A number of insurers are now offering premium payment support for policyholders paying by direct debit. The availability and nature of this support varies by insurer and is also considered on a ‘case by case’ basis. Please contact us if this is something that might help your business.

17/04/20BUSINESS SUPPORT INFOGRAPHIC: Helpful infographic detailing the business support available can be found here

17/04/20 –  STATUTORY INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS: The HSE has relaxed its position slightly, adopting a proportionate approach towards enforcement action for non-compliance with statutory requirements attributable to Covid-19. More information can be found here.

23/04/20 – FURLOUGH FOR COMPANY DIRECTORS: Helpful information around furlough eligibility of directors

20/04/20 – JOB RETENTION SCHEME UPDATE: HMRC portal to submit grant claims opens – including calculator tool

15/04/20JOB RETENTION SCHEME UPDATE: Details of what information will be required.

09/04/20 – ‘LAID-UP / SORN’ VEHICLES: If you have taken the decision to take some of your vehicles ‘off the road’ for a period of time, due to Covid-19, you may be able to benefit from a reduced insurance premium to reflect the removal of the ‘on the road’ risk. Aviva’s stance on this is detailed here. We expect other insurers to take a similar stance. 09/04/20

JOB RETENTION SCHEME UPDATE: Updated guidance from HMRC update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Clarification over what can be claimed – wages, fees and compulsory commission payments. The reference salary should not include non-monetary benefits in kind. There is some further explanation about Directors being furloughed. HMRC is encouraging of furloughed employees undertaking training.

30/03/20 – NEW INSOLVENCY MEASURES: The intention is to give firms extra time and space to weather the storm and be ready when the crisis ends, whilst ensuring creditors get the best return possible in the circumstances. Find out more here

30/03/20 YOUR CHANGING HOME CIRCUMSTANCES: Members of the Association of British Insurers have committed to support Home and Motor policy holders in a number of ways including those who have relocated home for clerical work, use their vehicles for voluntary work to support their communities. Find out more here. 30/03/20

YOUR CHANGING BUSINESS CIRCUMSTANCES: A change to business circumstances (activity, location, empty premises etc) is often an event that should be notified to your insurer. We have been lobbying insurers to issue broad responses to the dramatic changes in working environments and the cover issues that arise as a result. The response of insurers is evolving – we have summarised these responses (to date) here. If you would like to discuss the specific changes to your business please contact one of our team.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT: Please follow this link for details of the various assistance packages that the Government has announced. Government Support

CONTACTING QUALITAS: the team are now all working from their homes with remote access to our systems including email and phone systems so please continue to contact us in the usual way.

COVID-19 and INSURANCE COVER: The position in respect of business interruption insurance has now become more clear, following some initial seemingly contradictory statements by Government and Insurance Companies. The Association of British Insurers have advised that business insurance policies are very unlikely to provide business interruption cover for global pandemics like Covid-19.  Unfortunately the reality for the vast majority of us is that the insurance policies we have do not provide cover for this global circumstance. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your insurance cover.

MEETINGS: To keep both you, our team, our families and the wider community safe we will not be holding face to face meetings for the immediate future. We are still only a call or email away and for those who still want to ‘see us’ we are happy to arrange remote meetings.