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Practical Advice For Your Business During COVID-19

Practical advice for your business during COVID-19

Following on from our previous communication, Kingsbridge have put together some practical advice on changes to your business, Risk Management and any potential payment issues.

Unoccupied Properties

The majority of commercial insurance policies providing cover for buildings/property within buildings, will have Unoccupied Property Conditions attached to them. These generally require certain actions to be taken by the Policyholder, following a period of unoccupancy, for example in excess of 30 days. Certain perils are generally excluded from cover, after this period.

It should be noted that several insurers have now relaxed their policy requirements as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, extending their definition of ‘Unoccupied’ from 30 days upwards. The position is very much dependent on the insurer concerned, and you should contact Kingsbridge for further details in this regard.

Regardless of the length of unoccupancy or your insurer’s stance, it is prudent for the following steps to be taken as a matter of course:

  • Weekly visits/inspections of your premises – these do not need to be exhaustive in nature, however do remember to record the date/time. Look out for any ingress of water or signs of forced entry.
  • Switching off gas/water/electricity – you may be unable to switch of water/electricity due to their requirement to supply intruder alarm/fire systems.
  • Removal of combustible materials – there may be a build up of postal mail which should be removed; you may consider forwarding of incoming post during the outbreak.
  • Locking all doors/windows – a point of common sense however be sure to set any alarm systems in operation

If you are unable to comply with these conditions then you should notify Kingsbridge immediately.

Travel

The FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) continue to advise against all non-essential travel worldwide.

If you have any trips which are to be cancelled as a result of this advice, please contact Kingsbridge in the usual manner. Kingsbridge continue to engage with travel insurers who are providing cancellation or curtailment cover.

In the event of an airline/travel provider becoming insolvent, Travel policies generally exclude cover.  This is usually picked up by ABTA or ATOL if booked via a provider who is registered with those bodies.

Payment Issues

You may be experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic, in addition to making monthly payments via Direct Debit – either directly to your insurer, or via a Premium Finance Provider.

Please note that any Premiums/instalments due will need to be paid in full – non-payment can lead to cancellation/avoidance of policies. If you foresee any issues in making payments in the usual way, please do contact Kingsbridge for guidance.

Direct to Insurer

Some insurers are considering ‘payment holidays’, in the event that a Policyholder foresees a problem in meeting current or future instalments.

You should contact Kingsbridge in the usual way if this applies to you, and we will make representations to your insurers.

Close Brothers Premium Finance

Close Brothers have set up a dedicated web page in order to address any concerns in meeting monthly payments. Payment support can be applied for using the link below:

https://www.closebrotherspf.com/coronavirus/customers#story-2171

The website has a live chat facility and aims to turn applications round within one working day.

To apply, you will require your Loan Reference number, which will be included on loan documentation provided by Close Brothers. If this Reference is not available, please contact Kingsbridge.

Restructuring your Insurance Programme

If you have experienced a significant change to any of the following, please contact Kingsbridge in the usual way:

  • Turnover – whether projections have substantially increased or decreased. NB Professional Indemnity insurance is exempt from this.
  • Wage Roll – as above, should you have taken on a number of additional staff or have a significantly reduced wage roll bill. Any staff furloughed will still be included.
  • Business Activities – if you have altered the nature of your business in a material way, please contact Kingsbridge. For example, you could now be engaged in the provision of PPE, or have diverted resources to activities which were not previously declared. Ensure the Business Description on your Policy Schedule remains accurate.

Insurers may be able to offer support now, or at renewal time when financial forecasts are requested.

Motor Fleet

Any Motor Fleet insurance policy may provide cover for vehicles which are now off the road.

Please contact Kingsbridge as soon as you have made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), and we will engage with your insurers to obtain a return in premium.

Please ensure that this action is taken without delay as insurers are generally unable to backdate mid-term adjustments.

Assets/Contents/Stock

If you have sold or returned under lease any contents, plant, or other tangible assets – please contact Kingsbridge via the usual methods. Kingsbridge will engage with your insurers in order to obtain a return premium.

You may also have significantly higher or lower levels of Stock situated at your premises. Again, please contact Kingsbridge providing detail.

Please ensure that this action is taken without delay as insurers are generally unable to backdate mid-term adjustments.

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