The onset on the Covid-19 pandemic has meant all businesses have had to take action to meet lockdown requirements.

This has meant that business operations have in most instances changed materially.

Whilst many insurance companies have moved to provide automatic extensions to recognise the more obvious actions having to be undertaken by businesses, there is not a common approach.

It is important to remember that policyholders have an ongoing duty to fairly represent their risk to their insurers so it is essential that you speak to your broker or insurer to update them on the current risk exposure.

What are some of main areas where insurers have or will consider assistance?

Unoccupied Properties

Most insurers have recognised that many businesses have had to leave premises unoccupied for longer periods than would be normal. To assist, many have extended the period that full cover remains in place for a longer period than the policy normally provides. Some have extended to sixty days some others even longer.

However, a few insurers have been less accommodating and there is no common approach across the market so keep your broker updated of your position so they can protect your interests.

Working from home

Some insurers have automatically provided a extension to recognise that employees are working from home and that some business equipment has been taken home.

However, again, there is no common market approach so speak to your broker and advise them of the exact position so full cover on all assets can be maintained. It is unlikely that existing policy cover would be suitable without amendment.

Please do not forget that you have an ongoing duty to provide a safe system of work and that you can be liable for not providing a risk assessment. The fact that they are working from home means you have a duty to ensure they are working safely.

Motor Fleet Insurance

Many fleet operators are not using business vehicles to their full capacity and may look to take their vehicles off the road.

Where the vehicles can be stored securely and SORN’d insurers will consider providing Fire and Theft cover, taking into account the vehicles security and any accumulation risk.

Some insurers are prepared to change annual, six monthly or quarterly declarations and deal with vehicle deletions or off the road cover as they occur to assist with cash flow. Again, it is down to individual insurers so so not assume anything.

Employers Liability Cover

Some insurers, where the policy is based on wageroll declarations, will allow furloughed staff to be counted as non manual workers for the purpose of declaration.

Please speak to one of our team if you need specific advice.

Cyber Risk

The risk of a cyber breach is greater given the number of people working from home and often using their own devises. You need to consider security measures as you would working from the office.

If you have cyber insurance, your insurer may well have a useful resource of information for you use, alternatively there are resources available online that may assist in your risk assessment.

RIDDOR  and Covid-19

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

There is specific guidance for businesses working in the current circumstances. It is important to understand your obligations. Details are available from the Health and Safety Executive here https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/riddor-reporting-coronavirus.htm

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