Covid-19 resilience insurance checklist – Easter 2020
Drawing on discussions with you, our clients, we are sharing a checklist of the key insurance considerations we believe to be relevant to the current circumstances. Please talk to us about any of the points raised, we are keen to help you. You can reach us via our switchboard number which diverts to our homes, 01923 222211, or via our direct lines or mobiles.
Since our last briefing, two of our colleagues have succumbed to the virus. Thankfully they are both now on the mend. We are sure many of you are also facing similar situations and we wish you all well in these challenging times.
In addition, we would like to give a special shout out to those of our clients who are on the front line, particularly within special schools, metal health, elderly and domiciliary care sectors and those actively adapting their businesses to fight the virus and its consequences, some of whom are here Yourgene; Koru Kids; Bright Horizons; Locums Nest; Lifelight. You have our admiration and thanks.
Working from home – personal safety and well being
This is the tricky subject which everyone is struggling with.
For staff permanently at home there is lot of advice and guidance about safe and suitable workstations and practices.
The difficulty is how to manage this while we do not know how long staff will be at home, and how to mange the expense, and the management and cash resource which may be required.
Additionally, most employers have not chosen to have staff at home – it has been imposed.
Every case will be different, however common sense suggests:
As a board you should recognise that this is an issue, and develop a policy to address it
At minimum this policy should include some contact with staff asking them to pragmatically self-assess safety in these unusual times and take appropriate action
Your policy should address stress and mental health as well as the “hard” issues
Your policy should be after studying the HSE guidance
Working from home – criminals are actively using this potential weakness to get into your system
Criminals are not respecting community spirit, and have no sense of being in this together. Most of the criminals attacking your staff’s computers at home are robots – who only contact a human when they are “in”.
One of our insurer partners dealt last week with three hospitals targeted by criminals totally aware of how critical their operations were, who froze all their systems and extorted large and immediate ransom demands.
As a minimum you should advise employees to simply pick up the phone if something appears suspicious. We tend to communicate almost exclusively via email and text in today’s business environment but picking up the phone has averted many disasters. The other party will appreciate you taking the extra step to confirm a request
Additional recommendations are:
Notify employees of increased phishing attacks and offer training/guidance (please let us know if you need help with this like a webinar as we have many contacts who can deliver this)
Update VPNs, network infrastructure and devices used for remote work – as all devices are variables
Ensure IT Security teams are proactively monitoring logs/devices and are prepared for incident response/recovery
Implement Multifactor Authentication (MFA) on all VPN connections and wherever possible
Routinely test VPN network for limitations of mass usage
Do not use Public Wi-Fi, even with a VPN
Cash management – Premium funding
You will already be focused on cash management. We can normally assist by funding premiums over 10 months at a rate of about 4% (APR about double that), thus keeping this borrowing off your overdraft.
- Let us know before renewal if this is required
Cash management – Directors and Officers liability and trustee indemnity
Your D&O policy covers you for wrongful act or breach of fiduciary duty in running the business. Therefore, you must show that decisions made have been reasonable and considered, particularly in times like this. To protect themselves Insurers are asking for your plan for dealing with Covid-19 and about your cash resilience, before accepting a renewal.
Keep notes and formally advise the board of any key decisions.
Have financial projections to hand
Document your covid-19 response plan so you can share this with insurers
Budget for your D&O policy to cost 15-20% more at renewal, as this is what we are seeing from insurers
Vehicles not in use
Many commercial vehicles cannot be used at present and there may be both tax and insurance savings.
- SORN for your vehicles
We have achieved 25% deposit renewal premiums for SORN vehicles on the understanding an additional charge will be made when back on the road.
Contact us if your vehicles are SORN or substantially not in use and we will do what we can to improve your cost (where there have been no claims)
Increases and decreases in insured values and estimates
Insurers are being very realistic in reducing premium in respect of furloughed staff, and anticipated downturn in turnover. We are becoming adept at these negotiations. You may also have an increase in stock values in your warehouse – and again where possible insurers are responding positively.
Realistically estimate wage roll and turnover at renewal of your policy – and be prepared to agree a lower “deposit” adjusted upwards later if things improve.
Review your stock sums insured to check these remain adequate
Increased costs and loss of revenue as a result of lockdown
This was addressed this in detail in our last briefing and is on our website here. In summary, very few policies provide any cover which will operate on this and many of our clients have already discussed this with us in the last few weeks.
If you have cover and some costs to claim, let us know so we can lodge a claim. We are all happy to chat this through with you looking at your individual policy if required.
Furlough, Redundancy and Dismissals
These activities create an increase in the risk of doing it wrong that may later result in a claim for unfair dismissal or similar being brought against you.
Many of our clients have considered Employment Practices liability insurance as “nice to have”, rather than an essential. This is a time to review that decision.
Take professional HR advice on all decisions
Contact us for an EPL Covid questionnaire if you would like us to obtain a quotation
Empty Buildings while you work at home or close down
Empty buildings are susceptible to water damage, fire malicious damage and theft (all insurable) and to damp and vermin and squatters (normally not insurable).
Insurers normally restrict cover for buildings unoccupied for 30 + days, removing water damage and theft cover – or placing requirements on you to visit. Most leading insurers are relaxing these dates and requirements, however the approach is inconsistent across insurers.
Advise us of unoccupied buildings, and what you are doing to keep them sage secure and watertight. We will then agree cover with insurers on your behalf.
Business Continuity plans
Has your BCP been tested recently or created on the hoof?
This is a good time to take recent experience to update them or create them. It’s a lot easier to write a plan when you can foresee the requirement.
Update or re-create your plan based on recent knowledge
Think about what a partial release from lockdown will mean for you
Think about what an extended lockdown will mean for you
Ensure that IT resilience is within your plan
Incident reporting and evidence
Regrettably incidents resulting in claims will still occur – and evidence will still be required.
If you are in an industry where incidents are still occurring please encourage
your colleagues, after making safe and taking any emergency actions:
Take photograph/video on their phones
Video/audio interview all witnesses as close to the time of the incident as possible
New and renewal contracts
For the first time in most of our careers we are looking at “force majeure” clauses in contracts with more of an understanding of what it actually means, as well as an understanding of proximate cause – is the pandemic the cause or the government’s actions.
In renewing current or new contracts:
Examine the force majeure clauses
Watch out for additional liabilities being placed on you
Take legal advice where required
We have a number of lawyers working on this whom we can introduce you to if required.
New activities locations and people
A large number of our clients are finding new and alternative sources of income during this period. It is important to advise insurers what you are doing and agree cover with them.
It is your responsibility under The Insurance Act 2015 to make a fair presentation of your risk to insurers.
Also, many insurance policies insure you for “the business as described, and no other”.
Please call us to discuss any new departures in your activities, and we can help you identify the information insurers will require
We hope the briefing note is helpful and please note that this is generic advice for our client base, and all policies vary in their wordings.
To better understand your particular policy wording and its application please call us on +44 (0)1923 222211
Innovation Broking is a specialist insurance broker arranging insurance for a range of upper mid-market clients based in the United Kingdom, many with global operations.