HCi recognises that the months ahead are going to be a trying time for our mutual clients, the insurance industry and the broader economy. Unfortunately, many small to medium size businesses will experience severe financial headwinds during this time.
In light of this, we have put together a number of initiatives to assist you and your clients, with current HCi policies, where we can. These include:
These initiatives take immediate effect and will will apply to all existing policyholders up until 30 September 2020. We will continue to review developments in the coming months and may announce an extension to these offers or further changes as needed.
Extension of Credit Terms
HCi has decided to extend our credit terms with our brokers from the current 90 days, out to 120, to assist with clients experiencing financial hardship. We are providing this option to you to use on a case by case basis to assist those clients during this period.
Where a client has a claim during this 120-day period and the premium has not been paid, HCi's current procedures will remain in place and either the premium can be paid, or we can deduct the amount from the claim’s payment.
Short Term Renewal Option
To assist in retaining 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 and policy sections, we have made the following concessions, when applying the terms and conditions of our unoccupancy exclusions:
- Where an insured 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 some or all 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 makes the decision that the closure will be permanent.
- 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 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 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 Claims 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 Insurers 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 can waive any face to face meeting requirements to avoid person to person contact.
We encourage you to contacts us if you have a policyholder experiencing vulnerability or financial hardship and we will work out what options are available to support them.