Last updated 12/03/2021
The COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak is ongoing, however, we want to reassure you that we open for business as usual. We continue to be available to you for all your insurance needs. If you are finding yourself in temporary financial difficulty, please do speak to us before taking any action with your policy.
We have taken measures to ensure staff who can work remotely are continuing to do so and we have reconfigured our office premises to protect those who are working within.
This is, of course, an unprecedented time for everyone but we will continue to apply a flexible and dynamic approach to minimise the impact to the customer service that we pride ourselves on providing, whilst following government advice in respect of our staff.
If we have temporarily reduced staff numbers at any point then you may find that we are unable to answer our telephones as quickly as we usually would so we ask that you please bear with us in that situation, and we will answer your call as soon as we are able.
For non-urgent queries you can contact us using our Live Chat facility via our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as possible.
Government advice around the coronavirus outbreak is available on the following link;
Advice on Insurance Cover
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have set up a comprehensive question and answer section on their website for insurance customers. This covers a wide range of insurance types and we would recommend consulting this as a first port of call as it may well answer any queries you may have around what is covered in this situation;
In addition to this, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have set out their expectation of what assistance insurers and intermediaries should provide to customers who may be experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the effects of the pandemic.
The aim of this is to make sure that customers are treated fairly and receive the necessary assistance to ensure that they can remain correctly insured during this period. It is, of course, important to ensure customers are not left in a position of vulnerability due to being uninsured.
If you are having any financial difficulties then please do contact us. Further details are provided in the following link;
Additional Advice for Business Customers
Business Interruption Cover
The government made it clear that they didn’t expect many businesses to have Business Interruption cover in place to cover an event such as this, and that these measures are designed to help support all businesses through these challenging times. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) made further comments following the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday 17th March 2020. They stated;
“The Chancellor’s statement today is consistent with our statement this morning where we said in the event businesses have the right cover, this type of notification could help make a claim. But, as the Chancellor acknowledged, the vast majority won’t have purchased extended cover and this remains unchanged.”
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Proceedings July 2020
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought court proceedings in July 2020 to test how certain business interruption insurance policies respond to claims arising from Covid-19. The Court delivered its judgment on 15th September 2020.
All relevant insurers reviewed the lengthy and complex judgment, in order to determine if it changed their assessment of claims, or if they wished to appeal and eight insurers decided to appeal.
Supreme Court Judgment in FCA’s Business Interruption Insurance Test Case 13th January 2021
The appeal case went before the supreme court from 16th to 19th November 2020. On the 13th January 2021 the Supreme Court Judgment was given and the Supreme Court substantially allowed the FCA’s appeal on behalf of policyholders. This completes the legal process for impacted policies and means that some policyholders will now have their claims for coronavirus-related business interruption losses paid.
The FCA will be working with insurers to ensure that they now move quickly to pay claims that the judgment says should be paid, making interim payments wherever possible. Insurers should also communicate directly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain the next steps.
The FCA have advised that each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy. Policyholders with affected claims can expect to hear from their insurer directly.
On the 29th January 2021 the FCA launched a new webpage, the Business Interruption Policy Checker. Policyholders can use the policy checker and policyholder frequently asked questions (FAQs) to find out if their insurance policy may cover business interruption losses caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) as a result of the FCA’s test case and what they can do next. The link to this page is;
Further to this, on 3rd March 2021 the FCA provided some further final guidance around what evidence could be considered when making a claim. This guidance builds on the High Court’s judgment and declarations and the additional statements from the Supreme Court in the context of insurers’ obligations under the FCA’s rules to handle claims fairly. It is intended to:
- provide clarity for all parties
- help ensure that the process of proving the presence of Covid-19 is made as simple as possible for eligible policyholders and
- enable those policyholders to receive claim payments as early as possible
The link to this guidance is – https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/finalised-guidance/final-guidance-bi-insurance-test-case-proving-presence-covid-19.pdf
If you think you have a policy that may have been affected, or a potential claim, we would recommend checking on the FCA link above.
We will continue to liaise with your insurer to answer any additional questions you may have.
The Association of British Insurers has published some useful guidance for Business customers including a detailed Question and Answer section which you can find here;
Advice on Government Support for Businesses
The coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving and the government have confirmed they will be taking measures to assist businesses in this difficult time.
The government have given support to the following areas:
- Support for sick pay
- Support for businesses who pay business rates
- Support for businesses who pay little or no business rates
- Support with Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme
- Support for businesses paying tax
- Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme enabling those who meet the criteria to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months. This was initially from May 2020 but was extended with the second round of applications due in August 2020. This has been extended further to provide critical support to the self-employed in the form of 2 further grants, each available for 3 month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. A 5th grant was announced in the 3rd March 2021 Budget. Details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as “Furloughed workers.” HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This scheme has been extended again and will remain open until 30th September 2021. There have been some changed to the scheme which are detailed here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Where can you find out further information?
The government have published detailed information and guidance online and we would recommend that you keep yourselves up to date with this. You can access the information using this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
For self-employed workers the independent trade bodies, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) and National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses (FSB), have extensive information and advice on their websites and we would recommend following these links for updates from those bodies;
The IPSE website includes information on;
- Government Support for the Self-Employed
- Advice for Freelancers and Clients
- Business and Financial Support Advice
- Links to Banks’ Coronavirus Pages
- Advice on Health and Client Relations
The FSB website includes latest news and advice on the following subjects;
- Completing Application for Government Grants and Cashflow Issues
- Business Premises and Trading
- Business Rates
- Paying Tax
- Statutory Sick Pay and Employment Allowance
If you are a business customer affected by the current situation these websites are your best source of information and up to date advice.
We are aware that some of our clients may be experiencing financial difficulty during the current coronavirus pandemic. We are here to support you as much as possible and that is why we want to highlight the different types of help that are available to assist you in managing debt and also direct you to money guidance help.
You can contact these organisations for free, confidential and impartial money guidance
If you find things too difficult, a debt adviser can help you. Their free and impartial debt advice can be accessed directly and in confidence from not-for-profit debt advice bodies.
Please follow this link to the Money Advice Service’s debt advice locator tool.
*Please note, these links will take you away from our website. We are not responsible for the content on external sites.