At NIG, we are working hard in these extraordinary times to ensure our brokers and customers receive the service they need.
We want to keep you up to date so you can respond to your clients’ queries about our cover. Please find below the answers to some of our most recent enquiries.
Is Business Interruption due to COVID-19 covered with NIG’s policies?
Various Government statements, as well as media coverage, have understandably created a great deal of confusion about the general insurance provision of Business Interruption Insurance, and how it applies during this pandemic.
To clarify, COVID-19 is NOT covered under our standard Business Interruption policies. The various extensions within Business Interruption provide cover as follows:
- Denial of Access – this provides cover where Damage (described as accidental loss, destruction or damage) has occurred to either our Insured’s premises or another within the vicinity, preventing access.
- Closure – this covers the interruption where a Public Authority forces closures of premises, however it is limited to reasons of defective drains or other sanitary arrangements, vermin or pests.
- Disease – this does provide interruption cover due to various diseases, but since the SARS outbreak in 2003, it has used a specified list of diseases.
- Public Emergency – this provides cover where actions or advice of a Public Authority prevents or hinders the use of the premises due to an emergency likely to endanger life or property. However, infectious or contagious diseases are specifically excluded from this.
- Pollution – this covers the cancellation of bookings due only to the accidental pollution of beaches, coastal or inland waterways within a certain radius of the premises.
The Government is providing additional support and guidance for businesses which you may find helpful. See here.
What do I do if my client’s business and/or premises is forced to close and becomes temporarily unoccupied?
The recent Government announcement means more businesses will close and many will be working from home. Therefore, many more properties will be unoccupied for the next few weeks, and potentially beyond.
Within NIG’s standard policies, cover will continue to be in force for any Commercial premises temporarily unoccupied for a period of up to 30 consecutive days, and 90 days for premises insured under our Property Owners contract. From 24th March 2020, we are extending this period to 90 consecutive days for Commercial premises and maintaining the same period of 90 days for Property Owners temporarily closing during to COVID-19, before we ask to be notified. For any clients whose premises is going to be out of use for longer than this, you need to notify us using your normal NIG contacts.
Any building left unoccupied naturally poses a greater insurance risk and we therefore need businesses to take the following additional measures for the above extension to apply:
- That the Premises is secured, by putting all protective, locking devices and any alarm protection, in effective operation.
- Where practical, turn off the gas, water and electricity supplies at the mains (except electricity needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems, or water and heating systems for sprinklered Premises).
- Where possible, the Insured or their representative should visit once every 7 days to physically check the premises and carry out immediately any work necessary to maintain the security of the premises in all respects.
- Remove all trade refuse and waste materials from the interior of the Premises, allowing no accumulation of refuse or waste in the adjoining yards or spaces owned by the Insured.
All other Conditions requiring Policyholders to take action or respond to intruder alarm activations, faults or other maintenance-related matters will continue to apply unless otherwise agreed to be impractical due to COVID19 Government-directed actions limiting or restricting the movement of people.
Is my client covered when taking their contents/stock home?
As we are all being encouraged to work from home, we would remind clients that the Temporary Removal extensions within our policies will apply for any Business Contents Risks to the limits stated where employees are working from home with Business Equipment.
Similarly, we understand clients may wish to move stock to employees’ homes due to a closure as a result of COVID-19. This would probably be safer than leaving the stock within an unoccupied property. In these cases, we shall deem policies to have the Third Party Storage Sites extension, and that for the duration of the crisis this is operative on all policies where a Material Damage section is included.
With school closures, is my client covered if allowing employees’ children into the workplace?
A Business HR Policy will need to dictate what their employees can and cannot do with their own children while on site. Public Liability insurance will continue to be in place without additional terms, subject to:
- a suitable and satisfactory risk assessment being completed.
- safety considerations being made by the business in support of children being on site.
- children to have access only to office areas.
- children being fully supervised at all times. Where not supervised directly by parents, only Personnel who have had or been DBS-Checked are to be used.
- an agreed maximum number of children at any one time.
- full details of arrangements and controls and supervision ratio and following Government advice regarding hand-washing and cleaning of the environment at all times, alongside provision of hand sanitisers for regular use.
Note the Policy excludes abuse cover.
We are ready to adapt during these uncertain times, and we are doing all we can to support you as you go about your business. We thank you for your patience and understanding during these trying times.
Let’s all work together to provide the service and support our clients need.