On Monday evening the Prime Minister confirmed that England will be entering a further national lockdown effective from 00:01 hours on the 5th January, full details can be found at www.gov.uk.
The devolved administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have also applied similar restrictions.
To provide clarity to you and your clients we want to give you an update on our stance regarding unoccupied premises during this latest lockdown.
When the first lockdown was announced we extended our unoccupancy terms to allow all policies a full 90 days provision, followed by a further extension of 45 days. Equally, at the start of the second lockdown we were clear there was no need for contact where clients could, and were, adhering to unoccupancy conditions. As we head into lockdown 3.0 many clients have adapted or altered their trading methods, with some that have unfortunately closed their doors and others that have not been able to make provisions to reopen despite being permitted to do so.
Our aim remains to support our mutual clients through these extremely tough periods, and it is really important that we understand any changes in trading from adaptations to closure, alongside any risk management measures that are in place. It is, therefore, no longer appropriate to provide further blanket extensions to unoccupancy terms as each circumstance is now different. Our standard unoccupancy periods vary from immediate notification in the case of most Combined products, to 90 days which is standard in many Property Owners products.
Please refer to the individual policy terms and conditions and contact us before the end of the permitted unoccupied period so we may understand:
- The reasons for unoccupancy. Is this solely due to lockdown?
- How long have the premises been unoccupied for and how long is it likely to remain unoccupied?
- Have there been any incidents whilst unoccupied? For example, either damage to the property or unauthorised occupation?
- Will the premises be secured by putting all protective locking devices and any alarm protection into effective operation?
- Will gas, water and electricity supplies be switched off at the mains (except electricity needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems, or water and heating systems for fire sprinkler systems)?
- Will the Insured or their representative be visiting the premises every seven days and immediately carrying out any work necessary to maintain the security of the premises?
- Will the Insured or their representative remove all post, 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?
Our Risk Surveyors are still on the road
Surveying continues as Public & Fire safety requirements remain under the Government guidelines and the insurance surveying service is a critical part of this. We have provided our surveyors with COVID-19 Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work for when they are visiting clients, and potential clients, in accordance with Government guidelines. Where appropriate we are also undertaking desktop surveys, avoiding the need to attend client premises at this time.
We appreciate these are daunting times for many clients who are having to cease, restrict or change their trading. Most of our products are tailor-made with additions such as Goods in Transit, Money, as well as SORN options or mileage considerations for Motor cover. Should sections of cover no longer be required, or the level of cover requires altering to reflect a change in trading behaviour, we ask you to get in touch with us. This should then be reviewed regularly.
For Package products, brokers can process many Mid Term Amendments electronically and should continue to do so. We remain committed to helping you and your clients through these uncertain times where we can, be it reducing sums insured, reducing mileage or declaring vehicles as SORN.
Open for Business
Finally, we would like to remind our brokers and partners that we are very much open for business and keen to work with you during these difficult times. We can be contacted by e-mail, telephone, or in some instances by live chat.
Please continue to talk to us and stay safe.