The CII has launched a Covid-19 hub as a resource for members and the wider profession to find the latest guidance and insight from across the insurance community during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
The website -- cii.co.uk/coronavirus-hub -- aims to keep members up to date with news, advice and knowledge to help them deal with a rapidly changing business environment, with content including topical articles, good practice guides, blogs and regulatory guidance. Subjects include: The website -- cii.co.uk/coronavirus-hub -- aims to keep members up to date with news, advice and knowledge to help them deal with a rapidly changing business environment, with content including topical articles, good practice guides, blogs and regulatory guidance. Subjects include:
- What sort of business interruption cover do people have? Does it include wordings on pandemics, forced closure or loss of access? And how lenient should insurers be if it does not?
- Claims shifting from motor, accident and theft to property damage and income protection;
- The increase of fraud and targeted cybercrime;
- Dealing with vulnerable customers; and
- The mental health implications of working in isolation.Here is just a taste of the type of content you can find on the CII's Covid-19 hub, which we hope will help you, your business and the public you serve during these unprecedented times.
Now that more people are working from home, reports of scam callers and phishing emails are increasing. Criminals posing as banks and health organisations have been telephoning people and sending fraudulent emails to trick them into sharing personal data.
These scams are taking advantage by catching people off guard as well as preying on vulnerable people by taking advantage of their fear and uncertainty because of the coronavirus. Therefore, it is important to treat these telephone calls and suspicious emails as cynically as you would any other.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has provided some advice on how to spot and action fraudulent activity:
- Reject offers that come out of the blue.
- Beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online.
- Use the FCA Register and Warning List to check who you are dealing with.
- Do not click links or open emails from senders you do not already know.
- Do not give out personal details.
- If you suspect a scam, call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040.
Richard Graham, head of claims and risk management at insurance broker Aston Lark:
Covid-19 is clearly breaking new ground and the current situation is unprecedented.
We are expecting significant pushback from insurance companies regarding business interruption and contingent business interruption claims, despite assurances from the government in its daily briefings.
Similar to insurance policies elsewhere in the world, physical 'damage' needs to occur before business interruption insurance cover is triggered.
A voluntary or mandatory closure as prescribed by the UK government is unlikely to be covered by most policies, due to the lack of 'damage'. We are investigating legal theories that may exist to find coverage under the current insurance, although the stance currently is that it is unlikely that a policy would respond.
However, Covid-19 is unprecedented and the financial and non-financial impact, to a large extent, remains unknown. Therefore, while the support measures very recently offered by the UK government (including the government-backed business interruption loans) are welcomed, it may well decide in the future to take this a step further and compel insurance companies to grant policy coverage in some shape or form.
Given the current uncertainty, we suggest the following practical steps:
- Keep accurate financial records during the time in case the UK government introduces an initiative to recompense or support.
- Contact your local MP to request that, given the uncertainty surrounding insurance coverage, UK government takes action to support UK businesses.
- Remain vigilant regarding situation updates and heed UK government and other guidance regarding the health and safety of your employees.
- Remember to continue to adhere to all policy terms and conditions, such as security conditions, for example.
- For those who need to work from home, please ensure that you have sufficient insurance cover in place for laptops and equipment.
REMOTE WORKING RISKS
Now that many firms and organisations have either closed or reduced their operations, more people are working remotely. The result being that there are far fewer people commuting or on business premises because of the lockdown. While business interruption claims are expected to increase, other types of claim may see a reduction, such as road traffic collisions, accidents in the workplace, vandalism and theft.
However, this does not mean insurance claims will decrease. With people spending more time at home, this could increase the chances of accidents indoors. There are also issues about how to define workplace incidents, as who is liable when the place of work has now changed?
As these boundaries blur, so will responsibilities. However, employers should work to ensure that staff are safe and well in all respects.
While employers are not expected to be counsellors, providing appropriate levels of support is encouraged. It is important to monitor situations carefully to see how people are coping and the additional pressures they face at home, to be able to flag any issues.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT PACKAGES FOR BUSINESSES
New Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
CBILS is a new scheme, announced by the Chancellor in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which can provide finance facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK that are experiencing cashflow disruption and loss of earnings.
Support for businesses through deferring VAT and income tax payments
The government will support businesses by deferring valued-added tax (VAT) payments for three months. If you are self-employed, income tax payments due up to July 2020 under the self-assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary, for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
To read more from the CII Covid-19 hub, visit: cii.co.uk/coronavirus-hub