Coronavirus FAQs

Q
How can I prepare my business for the impact of Coronavirus?
A
For help and support on preparing your business and responding to the impact of Coronavirus, please keep yourself up-to-date by regularly visiting our Resource Centre which is dedicated to COVID-19 news and updated daily. In particular, you may find this factsheet useful.
Q
The government announced on 17 March that the potential obstacle of premises closure was being addressed with the Insurance Industry Leaders.  Can I now claim for my income loss? 
A
Unfortunately, a standard business interruption policy does not cover you for the losses relating to the impact from COVID-19. The standard cover is designed to respond to losses due to damage to property following say a fire or flooding.
Q
In the absence of clarity from insurers following this announcement, does my business interruption policy cover me for the losses anyway? 
A

Unfortunately, a standard business interruption policy does not cover you for the losses relating to the impact from COVID-19. The standard cover is designed to respond to losses due to damage to property following say a fire or flooding. You may however have cover provisions under certain policy extensions if you have them:

  • Notifiable Diseases
  • Denial of Access (non-damage)
  • Action of Competent Authority

Operation of cover will however be dependent on the wording of these extensions which vary from insurer to insurer, and the individual circumstances that apply.

Q
I have cover for 'Notifiable Diseases' in my policy ‒ can I therefore submit a claim?
A

Many policies will specify the 'Notifiable Diseases' that are covered. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 is a new disease it is unlikely it will be specified in any policy.

Some policies will allow for 'Notifiable Diseases' which have been newly declared under the Health Protection Regulations. In which case the cover may apply, but once again this will be subject to the individual wording and circumstances.

Q
I have cover for 'Prevention of Access (non-damage)' in my policy ‒ can I therefore submit a claim?
A

Many 'Prevention of Access' wordings will specifically exclude actions to suppress and/or control the spread of a disease.

The standard cover is designed to respond to losses due to damage to property following say a fire or flooding.

Q
My policy refers to being covered for 'Prevention of Access' relating to damage. How is damage defined? Is Coronavirus classed as damage?
A

Many 'Prevention of Access' wordings will specifically exclude actions to suppress and/or control the spread of a disease.

The standard cover is designed to respond to losses due to damage to property following say a fire or flooding.

Q
I have cover for 'Action of a Competent Authority' in my policy ‒ can I therefore submit a claim?
A

Following the Government announcement, we are yet to hear from Insurers outlining how they intend to respond to business interruption claims relating to COVID-19.

Many extensions of this nature will specifically exclude actions to suppress and/or control the spread of a disease.

Q
What should I be doing now to protect my business?
A

You should do all you would do to keep the business operating; act in the same way you would to protect the business if you did not have insurance to rely on.

Keep detailed records of the reduction in income and increased business expenditure.

You should then speak to your usual representative for guidance on the presentation of your claim.

For further guidance, please refer to our Business Resilience Factsheet.

Q
Can I buy additional cover to protect my business from loss of earnings caused by the pandemic?
A
Unfortunately, you will not be able to purchase an additional policy for this event. 
Q
If my suppliers are affected by Covid-19, will business interruption cover apply?
A
Most policies will not respond to this as a trigger for business interruption cover, unless specific extensions relating to pandemic have been added.
Q
Is 'Loss of Rent' covered on property owners policies?
A

Reference does need to be made to your policy for full terms, conditions and exclusions as this will differ depending on insurer, but the overall position is that your policy may respond in two different areas if the policy has 'Denial of Access (non damage)' and 'Notifiable Disease' extensions:

  1. An outbreak of a notifiable disease at the premises.
  2. Denial/Prevention of access on the advice of government, police or local authority.

Note that COVID-19 disease became notifiable on 05/03/2020 under the relevant English statutory instrument.

It is only the contractual loss of rent that would be covered by the policy. If tenants simply suspend rent payments themselves this would not be covered nor would the Insured’s (landlord) decision to reduce rent on the part of tenants or a decision to provide a discount.

In normal circumstances, a standard lease will allow for rent suspension in the event that the property is destroyed or damaged by any insured risk [or uninsured risk] so that the premises are unfit for occupation or use or inaccessible.

The situation is changing rapidly and we can only advise based on individual policy wordings.

Q
I will be closing my business temporarily ‒ do I need to do anything?
A

Many policy wordings will contain unoccupied premises clauses.  It is important that you notify your usual representative of any closures and provide details of the measures that you are taking so that we can engage your Insurer.

Q
The Chancellor recently announced that, for businesses with a policy that covers pandemics, Government action will allow them to make a claim. Does this mean I am covered?
A
Most policies will not respond to this as a trigger for business interruption cover, unless specific extensions relating to pandemic have been added.
Q
In the event of school closures, will my 'Public Liability' cover cater for staff bringing their children into the workplace (with no access to the main shop floor or work environment)?
A

As a general rule, you will be covered under your 'Public Liability' insurance, subject to the undertaking and documenting of a risk assessment that clearly shows suitability of your workplace. This should consider things like: 

  1. Has a specific risk assessment of your business been carried out i.e. is it suitable for their children to access? 
  2. Have the relevant checks been made for any staff members (if applicable) i.e. the suitability of those undertaking the supervision of their children?
  3. Have you followed current Government guidance i.e. around any staff / visitor exposure to the virus, self-isolation and third-party visitors to their premises?
  4. Has a risk assessment been undertaken on the suitability of the area where their children will be?
Q
Can I cancel my policy or let my cover lapse if I’m not trading and don’t need it?
A

We fundamentally believe that if a business intends to trade on the other side of this situation and carries any of the liabilities mentioned below, then they should retain cover. Please consider the following risks should you consider lapsing your insurance cover.

Do you have premises?
If you own or rent premises then you could still be liable for damage or injury caused by the property. For example, if a roof tile should come down and injure someone, you would be liable.

Do you own your premises?
You will still need to cover the rebuild and accidental damage risks that the premises is liable for.

Do you lease your premises?
Have you checked your lease agreement to understand what liabilities you hold to your landlord? You may contractually and therefore be legally responsible for insuring all or part of the premises. 

Do you intend to offer a different service to customers?
For example, we’re starting to see many traditional pubs now offering a delivery service to their communities. This means that they will have employees, they will be visiting customers and they will be holding stock. You will need to check with your broker whether your public liability, employers liability, stock and property covers are all adequate.

Will you still be holding your current stock?
This stock is still at risk of theft and damage. In the event of a flood, theft, or escape of water ‒ could you cover the cost of re-stocking your entire business?

Are there any residual liabilities connected to work previously carried out?
Some covers require continuous coverage to remain suitable where claims can occur some time after work was carried out. It is important to keep cover active.

Q
What do I do if my plant is out of its inspection period?
A
If out of inspection, the plant cannot operate or be used.
Q
Is Marsh Commercial open as usual?
A
Yes. We have taken appropriate steps to protect our teams whilst also remaining available for our clients. 
Q
What do I do about any changes I need to make to my policy?
A
Please contact your usual representative, or get in touch online, to update us on changes you need to tell us about.
Q
My renewal is due soon, what do I need to do?
A
Please be assured that we will issue your renewal as normal and will send out all relevant documentation. If you would like to discuss your renewal once you receive your documentation, then please contact your usual representative.
Q
If I do not follow Government advice will this invalidate my insurance?
A
There will be individual circumstances in the event of a claim. However, the latest government advice can be found here...
Q
If the Government forces me to close my business, does this allow me to make a claim?
A
Most policies will not respond to this as a trigger for business interruption cover, unless specific extensions relating to pandemic have been added.
Q
I have cover that I would like to make a claim against ‒ how do I do this?
A

Please refer to your policy information which details how best to make a claim and contact your usual representative or get in touch online.

Q
What do I need to do to prepare a claim?
A

We would recommend you do the following:

  • Please ensure that you comply with all relevant Government advice.  If you are continuing to trade, you should act to mitigate any potential losses and operate as if you are not insured.
  • Keep detailed records of any reduction in income and increased business expenditure.
  • Gather as much documentation as possible to support a potential claim including documentation from suppliers who may be unable to deliver, and evidence of mandated government closures.
  • Gather information in relation to any outbreak on the premises if applicable but be mindful of any data protection requirements in this situation.
Q
My business is struggling with cash flow in these uncertain times, is there anything you can do to help with my insurance premium?
A
We can offer you an instalment plan through our provider Close Brothers. This will allow you to spread the cost of your payments over 12 months and can be set up electronically with your consent. 
Q
I have a premium finance plan with Close Brothers but I am going to struggle to make payments, what should I do?
A

For any customers who pay their premium via Close Brothers please contact Close Brothers using the details below and they will talk through your specific case with you.

  • Personal lines - please contact Close Brothers on 0333 321 8566
  • Commercial lines - please contact Close Brothers on 0333 321 8567

Alternatively, you can contact Close Brothers via email on: customerservicespf@closebrothers.com

Q
How are you managing incoming and outgoing post during the pandemic? 
A
If you have sent us a cheque or document in the post please inform your broker contact to watch out for this. Please also allow 7 working days before following up.