COVID-19 Temporary Cover Enhancements to your policy (November update)

05 November 2020

In light of 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 try to provide additional peace of mind.

  • There will be no additional premiums for these enhancements.
  • These enhancements will automatically apply during the lockdown period ending on 2/12/20 in England, other than where shown. 
  • These will equally apply to any similar lockdowns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as per the dates announced locally by the governments in these countries.
  • We will review and extend these enhancements for a further period if we deem it appropriate should any lockdowns be extended further.
  • These enhancements will be applied via this Letter of Intent and will apply as if endorsed onto each policy. 

Employees working from home – this enhancement will apply until 31/12/20

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 
 
  • £2500 any one item 
  • A maximum of £5000 at 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 solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak

(This does not apply to premises that
 
  • were unoccupied before the outbreak or 
  • that close down permanently 
which will be deemed Unoccupied as defined in the policy and be subject to the normal unoccupied premises terms and conditions as set out in your policy).
 
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 are not unduly penalised for temporary closures solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the following applies to affected premises:
  • Unoccupied premises cover restrictions will not apply to Temporarily Closed premises
  • Temporarily Closed premises will benefit from 
    • no reduction in the level of policy cover
    • no increase in excesses
    • no increases in premium 
Provided the Insured complies with the following which details appropriate risk management practices (and is less stringent than the unoccupied premises condition).
 
Temporarily Closed Premises Condition 
 
Temporarily Closed means premises temporarily closed solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak (and such premises will not be regarded as Unoccupied as defined in the Policy). 
 
In respect of Temporarily Closed premises the following risk management measures should be implemented as far as is possible:
 
(1) where there will be no need to re-enter the premises during the period of temporary closure you must turn off electricity gas and water supplies at the mains (and where reasonable to do so drain down water systems) other than those services required to maintain 
 
  • critical business infrastructure required to allow the continuance of the organisation’s operations and support temporary home working arrangements
  • intruder alarms
  • fire alarms 
  • sprinkler installations
  • other fire suppression security or other risk protection systems or devices
 
(2) you must maintain in full and efficient working order and keep operational all
 
  • alarms 
  • sprinkler installations 
  • fire suppression systems 
  • locks and all other protective and security devices including gates and other perimeter security protection at the premises
(3) where water systems have not been drained down and / or where there is a sprinkler installation you must maintain the central heating system to prevent freezing and
 
i. the sprinkler system should be inspected to ensure it is operating correctly whenever such buildings are inspected
ii. the temperature throughout the building must be maintained at no less than 7 degrees Centigrade (45 degrees Fahrenheit)
iii. where annual servicing and maintenance is due the sprinkler system must be serviced and maintained as soon as circumstances permit by an appropriately qualified engineer
 
(4) you must 
 
i. remove all internal waste and 
ii. position all external bins as at least 5 metres from the buildings (or otherwise as far as possible where this is not possible) and secure the bins in position where this is possible
 
(5) Provided any travel required to carry out an inspection is in line with the latest government advice you must undertake an internal and external inspection of such buildings at least every 7 days and 
 
i. rectify as soon as is reasonably possible any defects in the fabric of the building or any protective or security devices or installations 
ii. maintain a record of inspections including the remedy of any defects
iii. remove accumulations of post from the letterbox during each inspection and take any other action to ensure the premises cannot be easily identified as unused or closed down 
 
Where government travel advice does not allow the necessary travel to complete an inspection the need for an inspection is deferred until travel restrictions are lifted to a level that allows inspections to re-commence 
 
(6) you must put in place contingency plans in case the primary person(s) carrying out weekly inspections or responding to alarm activations need to self isolate or are ill so that weekly inspections and alarm activation responses can be maintained by another appointed person
 
(7) you must tell us as soon as you become aware of any illegal entry to the premises whether or not any damage has occurred
 
(8) you must review and update your risk assessment (including the fire risk assessment) of such buildings to reflect the temporary change in risk
 
Unless otherwise agreed or varied by us in writing.

Outstanding risk improvements, periodic conditions and maintenance conditions

Any policy term that requires regular maintenance, inspection or where we have specified completion of a risk improvement by a specified deadline that cannot be fully complied with or fully completed solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak causing travel restrictions or the lack of availability of contractors 
will be held in automatic abeyance until
 
  • the expiry of the current outbreak or 
  • the availability of contractors or 
  • the date the temporary cover enhancement expire
whichever is the sooner provided all reasonable steps have been attempted to comply with the policy terms or complete risk improvements in part or in whole given the circumstances at the time.
All other policy terms, conditions and exception are unchanged. 
 
We hope that this provides the reassurance you need. 
 
If this action is insufficient to meet your insurance needs or if you are unsure about any other insurance issues, please speak to your broker or insurance adviser (Direct customers should use their usual contact points)