Covid-19 Update for farmers and rural businesses

Dear Client,

As your trusted insurance broker, we are doing what we can to help our farmers and rural businesses through this difficult time. In this email, we will let you know:

• What County are doing as a company
• Insurance Industry stance on the current pandemic
• If cover is available for Covid-19 and, if so, where
• Other support available

The nature of current events means that information and circumstances are changing all the time. The information is correct as of Tuesday 24th March 2020.

What County are doing as a company

County are a family-run business, running for over 35 years. We are working hard to trade as normal under these challenging times.

• Our offices are not open to visitors and we have employees working remotely
• Our phone lines will be operational during normal office hours (9.00-5.00 Monday –Friday)
• We are conducting in-depth client reviews remotely (telephone and Webex)
• We’re working closely with insurers striving to offer a business as usual approach

We remain committed to keep farm insurance the way it should be during these difficult times.

Insurance Industry Stance on the current pandemic

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), the trade body representing the insurers in the UK, have commented as follows on Covid-19

“…Standard commercial insurance policies – the type the vast majority of businesses purchase – provide cover against a wide range of day to day risks including damage caused by fire, flood, theft and accidents involving employees. Insurers pay out £22m each day to firms through these policies, supporting millions of businesses across the UK each year.”

Is cover available for Covid-19 and, if so, where?

As a broker we provide a wide variety of policy types to clients and policyholders across a mixture of industries, so we’ve tried to explain it on a policy-by-policy basis:

Business Interruption Insurance/Loss of Rent Cover
Business Interruption (BI) covers loss of income, including increased costs of working, to businesses following a property damage claim with a physical loss (such as fire, theft & flood). This section also cover loss of rental incomes for landlords following a property damage claim.

It is possible to have a ‘Disease’ extension under a policy to cover ‘Notifiable Diseases’. Covid-19 was declared a Notifiable Disease on Tuesday 17th March. The vast majority of disease extensions are on a specified disease basis ; as such, they do not cover new or emerging diseases such as Covid-19.

There are a few policies still in circulation where diseases are not stipulated. Cover will only apply here if the premises have been closed down due to the disease.

Uncollected Milk
Insurers are taking claims for uncollected milk on a case by case basis. There might be cover for farmers who have this section already on their policy – for those that don’t, there is now little likelihood of adding the cover as insurers are mindful of current events. If you have this section in force and your dairy or buyer has declined to come and collect your milk based on Covid-19 then please call our claims handler who will explain your insurers position on this cover.

Employers & Public Liability
Under these sections, cover provides protection for the policyholder against their legal liabilities to their employees or the public.

This includes property damage and bodily Injury. Critically, bodily injury includes Illness (including resulting death); In the event of a business being liable/negligent due to a Covid-19 claim, the policy may respond as normal.

Group Personal Accident & Sickness
Where a client has a Group Personal Accident Policy that includes Sickness cover, then the policy will respond as normal with capital benefits (lump sums) or weekly benefits that are subject to the standard deferment period (often 14 days).

Management Liability
Free legal advice is included within Management Liability/Directors & Officers policies. 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.

To find out more from our partner legal advisors Rradar, click here.

Other support available

Government Measures: The government are offering a package of measures, including assistance to certain companies with Statutory Sick Pay ( SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19, business rate relief, and a temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and support for companies in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities.

To find out more and how to access these services, click here

Business Continuity Planning (BCP): One of our key partner insurers, Aviva, have produced an informative guide to the current pandemic.

To find out more about this, click here

County help to protect thousands of policyholders – we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time. We will do our best to keep you updated with any major changes.

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