Updates to your Temporary Cover Enhancements January (now extended)

09 February 2021

Further to our announcement in January, and in light of the extended lockdown period, please note we are extending our temporary cover enhancements to expire 31/3/21.

Due to the current uncertainty caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 we understand that there will inevitably be an impact on your insurance needs. Please see below the automatic enhancements we are applying to all policies during this period to provide additional peace of mind.
 
  • There will be no additional premiums for these enhancements;
  • These enhancements apply until any expiry date applicable to them;
  • We will review and extend these enhancements for a further period if we deem it appropriate;
  • These enhancements will be applied via this Letter of Intent and will apply as if endorsed onto each policy.

Employees working from home – applicable until 31/03/21

As standard most of our policies extend contents cover to include cover whilst away from the premises and/or specifically at the homes of employees.
 
Where your policy does not already include this cover, the following cover is added:
 
Contents at employees’ homes
Where your policy does not already provide such cover, your policy is extended to provide cover for contents temporarily removed to the homes of employees due to the COVID-19 outbreak up to a limit of:
 
  • £2,500 any one item;
  • A maximum of £5,000 any one employee’s home. 
For Education insurance policies this extension will additionally extend cover to pupils’ and students’ homes.

Liability – health and safety

Resources for employers are signposted by the Health and Safety Executive on their latest information and advice page. As organisations look to different working models for continuity, they also have useful guidance on homeworking and working alone.  
 
Subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, both Employers’ and Public Liability policies provide an indemnity to the policyholder if they are held legally liable for accidental bodily injury or illness arising in connection with their business.

Premises that are temporarily closed / unoccupied – applicable until 15/02/21 (now extended until 31/03/2021)

At the time of writing, the latest Government guidance (which can be found here) clarifies that whilst a business may be closed to customers, closed premises can still be occupied for certain purposes including:
 
  • Maintenance, where this is reasonably necessary; and
  • Other work to ensure business readiness to open.
In addition, where it is unreasonable for a person to work from home they are permitted to travel to work, provided this can be undertaken safely and in line with the latest Government guidelines.
 
Our standard policies define “unoccupied” premises, and apply standard restrictions in cover and conditions precedent to cover that need to be complied with where premises qualify as unoccupied. Our normal policy definition of “unoccupied” is:
 
vacant untenanted unfurnished empty or no longer in active use for a period exceeding 30 consecutive days
 
Whilst the business may be closed to customers, if it is still used or visited by employees etc. (in accordance with Government guidelines), it may not qualify as unoccupied according to the policy definition. I.e. if the premises are periodically visited / occupied such that the period between visits / occupancy does not exceed the period in any unoccupied definition. 
 
Where a premises does not qualify as unoccupied we confirm there will be no impact on your policy terms, conditions or premium. 
 
However, we do still strongly recommend you implement risk management measures to reduce the risk of damage – please refer to our risk management guidance here for further information. With weather forecasts predicting prolonged periods of cold / freezing weather across the UK, this risk management is especially important to avoid or minimise losses and disruption to customers’ business activities.
 
Any visits to or work undertaken at the premises should be in line with the latest Government guidelines.
 
If premises do qualify as unoccupied solely due to the national lockdown
 
If solely as a result of the latest national lockdown the premises qualify as unoccupied (per the applicable policy definition):
 
  • Any automatic cover restrictions and conditions contained in the policy will apply;
  • You do not need to notify us of this during the period of the national lockdown, but will need to do so once the national lockdown ceases if the premises are not re-occupied and reopened when allowed to; and
  • We will not charge an additional premium for the increased unoccupancy risk for the period commencing during the national lockdown up to the expiry date applicable to this policy enhancement.
However, any dispensations shall not apply to any unoccupied premises that:
 
  • Qualified as unoccupied prior to the latest national lockdown;
  • Have permanently closed, i.e. will not reopen / be reoccupied when the national lockdown ends;
  • Would have closed for reasons other than solely as a result of the national lockdown.
 
Important notes
 
  • Customers should refer to their policy wording for full details of any definitions, terms and conditions that apply;
  • This enhancement is generic – it is superseded by any more specific amendments made to your policy by us.
If you have any questions or issues regarding policy cover, you should speak to your broker or insurance adviser (direct customers should use their usual contact points).

Premises that are temporarily closed solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak

Buildings that are temporarily closed/no longer in regular use are exposed to different and usually greater risk than occupied premises and premises that are open for regular trading.
 
Our standard policies define “unoccupied” premises and apply standard restrictions in cover and conditions precedent to cover that need to be complied with. Normally a higher premium is charged on unoccupied premises.
 
To ensure customers were not unduly penalised for temporary closures solely due to the COVID-19 full lockdown restrictions the normal terms and conditions applicable to unoccupied premises were not applied to premises that were temporarily closed. 
 
Temporarily Closed meant premises temporarily closed solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak (and such premises were not regarded as unoccupied as defined in the Policy) during the period when the dispensations applied. 
 
With effect from 2/12/20 temporarily closed premises must comply with all policy terms and conditions, including (but not restricted to) unoccupied premises conditions, where they fall within the normal policy definition of Unoccupied.
 
Please note:
1) The start of any period of unoccupancy begins from the date the premises first became unoccupied (not from 2/12/20). 
2) If a premises qualifies as unoccupied on 2/12/20 the insured must comply with all policy terms and conditions for unoccupied premises immediately from 2/12/20 to maintain cover in line with the policy (unless otherwise agreed or varied by us in writing).
3) Premises that are not yet open to customers/other service users, or not yet fully used in the normal way for that premises, but does have daily occupation in line with normal working hours for that premises (such as admin/office functions are now operating, or there is a daily presence in preparing for normal operations to re-commence), will not be deemed unoccupied. 
 
See the policy definition of Unoccupied for more details. 
 
If in doubt please contact us via your normal channel of communication.

Outstanding risk improvements, periodic conditions and maintenance conditions – re-apply from 2/12/20 and all dispensations cease

We temporarily suspended compliance with risk improvements by the deadline specified by us, and other policy terms requiring regular maintenance or inspection, where these could not be completed during the COVID-19 lockdown because of the restrictions on movement and/or the lack of availability of contractors.
 
With effect from 2/12/20 the suspension of compliance will cease. Any policy term that requires regular maintenance or inspection re-applies from 2/12/20.
 
If the re-set deadline is not sufficient for any reason please contact us immediately.