County Insurance Business Update – Covid-19

Following our initial update, the information relating to Covid-19 has been changing rapidly. We are writing to you to keep you up to date and informed.

In this update, we will:

  • Highlight what County are continuing to do as a company
  • Update policyholders on the insurance implications of Covid-19
  • Suggest a top tips list that your business can use to guide you through this time

The nature of current events means that information and circumstances are changing all the time. The information is correct as of Thursday 7th May 2020.

What County are doing as a company

County are a family-run business, have been advising clients for over 35 years and we are working hard to trade as normal as possible.

  • Our offices continue to be closed with all staff working remotely from home
  • Our phone lines are still operational during normal office hours (9.00-5.00 Monday–Friday)
  • The company have taken a flexible approach to staff working hours to help accommodate their personal circumstances.
  • We are conducting in-depth client reviews remotely (using telephone and Webex conferencing facilities.)
  • Insurers, understandably taken aback by the pandemic, are starting to become more efficient in processing policies and we are in regular discussion with them about their service levels

We remain committed to making insurance work for you in these challenging times.

Insurance Implications of COVID-19

With many stories circulating in the media about insurers response to COVID-19, often with conflicting messages, we wanted to write to you and highlight key risk and insurance issues and areas to consider. The below is guidance we have collated from insurers, loss adjusters, industry experts and our team here in the office. Together we’ll make insurance work for you.

Amended business activities
In line with your general duty as a policyholder please do make us aware of any changes to business activities as a result of COVID-19. With a fair presentation of risk insurers will try and accommodate your new activities where they can and as your insurance brokers we will look to find a solution for you.

Vehicles or Fleets that are SORN’d
If you have a number of vehicles that are laid up at present and have been declared Stautory Off Road Notification by the DVLA you can amend your cover to Fire & Theft laid up cover and have a reduced premium until the vehicle is back on the road. Some insurers may also be able offer Accidental Damage, Fire & Theft cover. Do note that this will not cover any road use and any vehicle intended for road use must be taxed, MOT’d and insured for a minimum of Road Traffic Act use.

Business All Risks
Where you have property insured, now is a good time to check sums insured (replacement costs), the locations they are insured in and the perils they are covered for. Remember that if a premises is unoccupied, safeguards should be in place to prevent damage to contents left within it.

Employers’ Liability, Public & Products Liability Insurance
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 states that, as employers, you must provide and maintain proper premises and equipment, as well as a safe system of working.

Where you have workers now conducting business from home, you should have a written guidance or risk assessment for this. If they have an accident at home then you could still be held liable if its demonstrated you haven’t considered the implications or additional risks associated with it.

For employees still working on site, your risk assessments should be updated to include consideration for social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and lone working policies.

Staff that are furloughed are still considered employees from an insurance and liability perspective.

With a staged return to normal working practice, consideration still needs to be given to the virus. You need to document these considerations as evidence to show the risks have been thought through. More guidance will follow as the picture becomes clearer.

For visitors attending your site, due consideration should be given and include written guidance on social distancing and safe ways to transact business.

Unoccupied Properties
At County we’ve taken steps to carefully compare the varying insurer stances on unoccupied properties. Whether it’s a tenanted property you let or your own business premises, your insurance policy will have an unoccupied property condition within it. Most Insurers have been flexible with these and extended their usual un-occupancy period. The periods do, however, range from 30 to 90 days of providing full cover before it is automatically reduced. Importantly inspections of vacant property are often required and need to be documented. The frequency for inspection requirements range from 7 to 14 days and can be negotiated with the insurers in some circumstances. To find out more, contact your Commercial Executive today.

Management Liability & Employment Practices Liability
Free legal advice is included within Management Liability/Directors & Officers policies. Where you have such policies in place, we suggest that you engage with this service.

The legal advisors will be able to provide guidance on the situation as it unfolds, including opinion on workplace management, managing working from home, and on any Wrongful Act alleged against a director. This can include legal advice or cover for landlord/tenant matters. Some clients have chosen to extend their cover to also include Employment Practices Liability. If you’re faced with a claim from an employee arising from Covid-19 through the course of their work then the policy may respond.

Data Liability and Cyber Crime
Sadly criminals are still prevalent and are now empowered by the recent pandemic to target vulnerable businesses. If you have any cyber or crime incidents to report then please contact your claims handler without delay. To protect clients from paying spurious invoices, having cash stolen using deceit or fraudulent means and the accidental loss of data we continue to recommend cyber insurance products. General phishing and hacking scams have increased since lockdown. To find out more about these risks, please contact your Commercial Executive today

Top Tips during the Lockdown

In consultation with insurance industry stakeholders, we can put forward these top tips for our clients to help them during this time:

  • Let us know about any fundamental changes to your business.
  • Use this time to get your risk assessments up to date and include new information on Covid-19 in them.
  • Check your sums insured, locations and items covered.
  • Ensure that any new working practices, either at home or in the normal workplace, have been risk assessed, communicated and documented.
  • Engage with your management liability and cyber crime policy providers to get free advice.
  • Consider these covers if they’re not in your current insurance portfolio.
  • If you have an unoccupied property and you are in doubt about its insurance cover then please contact your Commercial Executive.
  • If you’re in doubt about anything, please get in touch with your Commercial Executive or another member of the team. We will try and help you as best we can.

County help to protect thousands of policyholders – we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time and thank you for your continued custom.

Best wishes from all of us at County Insurance Services Ltd.