IMPORTANT - Notice to Customers
S.Johnson & Co Ltd is taking the spread of Coronavirus extremely seriously. Our business is open as usual but, as you’d expect, our number one priority remains the wellbeing and safety of our customers and colleagues.
We are following Government advice and will be operating a skeleton staff mainly based from home at present.
If you need to speak to us, we ask if you can please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance. We WILL telephone you back - it may be a call from our main office or a member of staff working remotely.
Please bear with us - there has been a high call volume. We do recommend that you check out the latest Covid 19 information below and please read right to the bottom.
We will continue to monitor the situation and respond to the official daily advice. Please remember to check your junk email folders just in case any emails from us or insurers have been redirected inadvertently.
Thank you for your co-operation – and please stay safe.
Steve, Graham and the Team
Background: Insurance companies design their policies to respond to frequently occurring events an example of which is fire. Insurance policies are developed to respond to demand from the public and from businesses as well as providing statutory cover. There are some exceptions to this general rule whereby insurers will sometimes not provide cover for events, which - whilst frequently occurring - are by their nature so overwhelming as to be uninsurable; an example of such risks is war risk which are often not insurable. Conversely there are occasions when it is possible to buy insurance cover for significant events and an example of this is Terrorism cover although the take up rate is very low.
The Covid19 situation is happily not a frequently occurring event and as such insurers are currently working with Governmental Agencies to determine the best response.
As regards a corporate plan for dealing with this situation as Employers you have a duty of care – you should familiarise yourselves and comply with the guidelines from Public Health England: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england and also Governmental guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19
We must state that brokers are not allowed to confirm that a claim is valid under the conditions of insurer / broker agency agreements and and additionally because of the legal and other action pending, all claims are considered on their own merits individually by specialist claims departments.
COVID 19 – PHASE 2
Insurers are still evaluating how best to deal with any possible Covid 19 Business Interruption claims from the lockdowns of both March 2020 also the current November lockdown; they are also of course taking direction from the Courts.
In the first instance we recommend that you lodge a claim directly with your insurer, for the reasons stated in the next paragraph. We suggest if you have lodged your first claim you may prefer to hold off for now and await developments before registering a second claim, but this is of course your choice.
Whilst waiting to get through on a claims line can be frustrating (we do not have access to a ‘special’ brokers claims line) the position is that there are no standard questions asked by insurers, they are likely to ask for details specific to your business that only you will know the answer to; your calling them directly is likely to expedite the process.
Information / links for registering first or second claims are provided below; as always speak to us if you have any concerns or need guidance.
Latest Government advice is -
Q & A
As coronavirus was unknown until recently, there will be very few policies that cover it. However, there are currently challenges to various insurers' policy wordings.
Q. Am I covered for Business Interruption due to Coronavirus?
A. There is very little cover amongst insurers for this since most insurers stick to commonly occurring events such as fire, theft etc. However, please note the point above and If you believe that you have a possible claim under your policy, please refer to the section below, which provides contact details for various insurers.
Q. Am I covered if I have to self-isolate?
A. Business Interruption polices do not typically cover self-isolation.
Q. What if my employees become sick and cannot work?
A. It is unlikely under Commercial Insurance policies that there will be any cover for this
unless you as the employer have acted negligently and in this regard the links above provide good guidance.
Q. What if my suppliers are not supplying me?
A. Again, it is unlikely that there will be any cover under Commercial Insurances in this
regard. We are aware of some clients who are looking closely at their contractual agreements vis a vis force majeure.
Q: Am I covered for cancelled exhibitions and events?
A: Not unless you have taken out specialist cover for this - which is often only available from exhibition and event arrangers themselves. Any cover that is in place will normally only cover cancellation costs and not lost profits.
Q: Am I covered for the cost of travel arrangements to cancelled events?
A: You may be if you have business travel insurance in place – it is worth checking.
Q: What happens if my business premises are unoccupied for more than 30 days?
A: Many insurers have automatically extended this to 90 days. Please follow the link to your insurer below, which will provide further detail on this and other 'good to know' information. We recommend that you visit your business premises where possible to check them out and make a record of any such visits. Please contact us if you are unsure about any point.
Back to Work - We have had questions from clients asking if their insurance remains valid; broadly as long as your insurance is in force and you comply with directives from the Government and from the Health and Safety Executive and follow guidelines in relation to employees and customers, your cover should operate normally. We cannot say whether a particular situation will be insured or covered since all claims are looked at individually by insurers on an ‘each case on its own merits basis.’
We understand that the Financial Conduct Authority is currently discussing the situation with insurers following on from the FCA Court Test Case from September 2020.
The Financial Conduct Authority are seeking to ‘resolve contractual uncertainty’ in relation to Business Interruption cover, this is likely to clarify the situation significantly and influence decisions made by the Financial Ombudsman:
Further useful information can be found on the website of the Association of British Insurers https://www.abi.org.uk/ , who represent UK insurers across the board.
A statement from the ABI (Association of British Insurers): https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2020/09/abi-response-to-the-business-interruption-insurance-test-case-judgement/
Some of the insurers with whom we deal have also prepared designated web pages:
Please appreciate that information changes rapidly and the above information may need updating, which we will endeavour to do at the earliest opportunity.
You will note from the above comments that the likelihood is that very few commercial insurance policies in the UK (or indeed Worldwide) provide any meaningful cover for the effects of this virus – it is simply too new a risk for insurers to assess. We do appreciate the stress of this situation since we are also running a small business. We recommend that you speak specifically to your insurer’s claims department for a definitive answer, in which case please note the contact numbers below. We would suggest when calling that you make a note of the name of the person to whom you speak and please be gentle with them under the circumstances. Please have your policy number to hand. Please do follow the process below in the Questions and Answers section relating to possible claims.
Allianz - 0344 412 9988 / https://www.allianz.co.uk/business/business-insurance.html
Allianz Musical - 0844 391 4051 / https://www.allianzmusicalinsurance.co.uk
AVIVA - 0345 300 5941/ https://www.aviva.co.uk/business
AXA - 0345 600 2716 / https://www.axa.co.uk/business-insurance
Hiscox - 01206 773899 / https://www.hiscox.co.uk/business-insurance
RSA (Royal Sun Alliance) - 0345 300 4006 / https://www.rsagroup.com/what-we-do/commercial-insurance/commercial-claims
Zurich - 0800 302 9055 / https://www.zurich.co.uk/en/about-us/contact-us/contact-us-form
For our Music Trade related clients more useful information can be found at https://www.mia.org.uk/covid-19/
COVID 19 – Possible Claims
We are receiving a number of calls and emails relating to cover following the current pandemic from clients who are looking carefully through the wording of their policies and there follow some common questions:
Q. I feel that I have a valid claim, what action do I need to take?
A. We recommend that you send an email to the relevant insurers claims department or telephone them at the earliest opportunity – please see info above. Please state your name, trading name and policy number. It may be better at this time to email. Please diary to ensure that you receive a response from your insurer.
Q. My insurer has told me I am not covered – what do I do?
A. If you disagree with your insurers response you should send a short email to include the word ‘complaint’ in the header again stating your name, trading name and policy number and briefly explain why you disagree with them. Your insurer will typically have four weeks (extended to 8 weeks in exceptional circumstances) in which to respond to you. The final outcome of the FCA Court Test Case could affect your insurers decision.
Q. What do I do if I have had a response and my insurer has rejected my complaint?
A. You can now take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service – this is a free to use facility and more details can be found here https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/ or https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/businesses where the process is detailed. You can register your claim online and you will receive a confirmatory email. Please note that you typically have 6 months from receipt of the final response of the insurer in which to take your complaint to the Ombudsman.
It is very important that if you feel you have a valid claim, you follow this process all the way through promptly at all times and the reason for this is that all insurers have the option to reject claims that are not made ‘promptly’ or within a reasonable timescale, in other words if you think you have a claim please act now to avoid leaving it too late and possibly having any valid claim barred due to late notification.
Please also note that if it turns out that there is cover as insureds you should do whatever you can to mitigate any losses and co-operate to assist insurers in any recovery.Keeping records is the starting point here.
We are dealing with normal claims on an ongoing basis. We have seen claims for theft, fire and flood in recent weeks. In the case of all types of claims, as noted above record keeping is key. Please ensure that your business records (purchases, sales, inventory etc) are up to date and duplicates kept away from the business premises.