With immediate effect, some of our support initiatives that were introduced last year will be reinstated for policies that are currently in place as well as new policies or renewals that take effect between now and 31 October 2021:
We would also like to remind you that we also have certain options in place to assist customers experiencing Vulnerability and Financial Hardship.
Short Term Renewal Option
To assist your clients who are experiencing financial hardship, we are offering the ability to reduce the renewal periods to a minimum of 6 months. This option will be available to you in our quote and bind systems.
Assistance for Unoccupancy
For existing clients, we have made the following concessions, when applying the terms and conditions of our unoccupancy exclusions:
- Where an insured or their tenant(s) has placed their business into “hibernation” (as that term is defined below), we will consider the premises to be occupied. They will therefore not be subject to the terms, conditions and restrictions of our unoccupancy clauses contained within the General Exclusions of our Business Insurance policies. This also applies to property owners, who have had the businesses within their insured building placed into “hibernation”.
- Where a property is unoccupied, but is outside the scope of what we consider to be in “hibernation”, the standard unoccupancy exclusion in the policy wording is extended to 120 days. We understand that decisions about the future of a business are difficult to make and the insured may initially decide to hibernate the business, but may subsequently decide not to reopen the business. In those cases, we want to assure you that the 120 days unoccupancy period will only start from the day the insured risk no longer meets the definition of hibernation.
- Any unoccupied property that does not fall into these categories, is subject to our normal unoccupancy exclusions.
For the purpose of this concession:
“Hibernation” means that:
the premises are not occupied due to the business having temporarily ceased as a result of government directives or a reasonable business decision taken by the Insured in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that:
- the business assets remain intact and located within the premises (whether stock is removed from the premises or not); and
- there is a clear intention of the business re-opening when the situation around COVID-19 eases.
We do not consider “Hibernation” to include:
- businesses that have been or are in the process of being wound up or are insolvent;
- businesses where all assets have been removed from the insured premises; or
- where there is no clear intention to reopen the business.
Vacant Property Checklist
In addition, we have created a Vacant Property Checklist, which may assist your clients whilst their business is in hibernation.
Removal of restrictions on temporary removal of stock and contents
Currently there is a restriction on the number of days that property can be removed from the main premises with regards to cover for Theft and Property Damage under our Business Insurance wordings. With the change in working arrangements with more equipment being used to either work remotely or from another location we agree to the following:
Any contents or stock temporarily removed from the premises is not subject to any restrictions on number of days.
This is applicable to all relevant policy sections.
Extension to liability section to allow trading on footpaths
With social distancing rules restricting the amount of people within the insured premises we are seeing more businesses either have queuing systems or operations on footpaths. As such, to ensure liability cover is available in these circumstances, we will automatically extend all Business Insurance policies where Liability is taken as follows:
Despite anything contained elsewhere in the policy, the Public and Products Liability cover section or the Business liability section (as applicable) is extended to include any footpath trading, outdoor queuing system or footpath/outdoor signage or serving customers on the footpath where you have received and are operating within council permission but only in respect of Personal Injury or Property Damage from the activities of Your Business as specified in the Policy Schedule or Insurance Certificate (as applicable).
Financial Hardship & Vulnerability at Claim Time
For those policyholders who are experiencing financial hardship at claim time, we have options in place to help. Our existing Financial Hardship and Vulnerability arrangements are in line with updated General Insurance Code of Practice criteria and we have outlined below some support options that are available to assist at claim time.
- fast track an advanced payment from the claim
- deduct any excess due from the claim payment
- deduct overdue premiums from any payment
- assess claimants for urgent financial need of benefits in all cases
We can also accept electronic signatures to speed up processes and may be able to waive any face to face meeting requirements to avoid person to person contact.
Visit our Support for Vulnerable Customers page.
Download our flyer Supporting Customers Experiencing Vulnerability
Download our Financial Hardship Flyer.
We encourage you to contact us if you have a policyholder experiencing vulnerability or financial hardship and we will work out what options are available to support them.