Business Premises Unoccupancy update – 19th June 2020

Many of you would have temporarily ceased trading from your business premises, following the Government’s lockdown announcement, in March of this year. Our previous website article headed “Business Protection Policyholders – Temporarily unoccupied premises” https://www.balens.co.uk/covid/covid-unoccupied.aspx, provided details of the cover agreed for our existing Policyholders, post lockdown.

To summarise, full cover was maintained, for up to 90 days of continuous unoccupancy, so long as all reasonable endeavours were made, to follow the Risk Management Guidelines, post 45 days. Click here for full details of the Risk Management guidelines

We are fully aware however, that the 90 day “enhanced cover period” is coming to a close. With some of our customers still mandated to remain closed and others transitioning back to business operations following the easing of some ‘lockdown’ measures, we needed to make a new arrangement with Covéa Insurance Company plc (Covea). The aim was to ensure, our Policyholders were not dis-advantaged, at this difficult time and that the basis of cover, moving forward, was clear to our Policyholders. Please note the following:

Cover will now apply for a period of 120 consecutive days from the date the premises was closed where:

  • your business continues to be one of those required by Government guidelines to remain temporarily closed; or
  • you are conducting your usual business operations from your home address **

Points to note:

  • Policy conditions concerned with security at the premises, will continue to apply, at all times.
  • You must continue to take all reasonable endeavours to follow the Risk Management Guidance (click here for full details)
  • After 120 consecutive days of temporary unoccupancy, you will need to inform Balens of the occupancy status of the premises, the exposure, risk management measures in place and a review will need to take place. Insurers may consider amending the premium or terms and conditions of cover, provided by your policy. (It should be noted that we are expecting the vast majority of businesses to re-open in some capacity, post 04.07.20. Further negotiations with Covea may occur which, may amend the notification agreement mentioned. If this is the case, a further update will be provided to you)
  • Where unoccupancy is not due to temporary closure resulting from Government action or the operation of your business from home, the existing policy terms and conditions will apply. In effect, you will need to contact Balens and provide full details as to the trading position of the Company, the details of why re-opening has not taken place, details of exposure and risk management measures in place. Once again, Insurers may need to undertake a review and they may consider amending the premium or terms and conditions of cover, provided by your policy.
  • If you are conducting your usual business operations from your business premises for a minimum of 2 days per week, Covea will regard the premises as occupied and the existing level of cover applying under your policy will continue. You will not be required to comply with the Risk Management Guidance

**Previously in this article, we mentioned conducting your business activities from home. We are aware that many Policyholders, have switched their business to working from home, in order to continue to operate or to protect one’s assets. As a result of this, we have agreed some new cover enhancements with Covea. Please read the following carefully:

Working from home

During this period, if your existing policy from Balens covers any computer equipment, contents and stock* belonging to the business, it will extend to insure such property whilst necessarily and temporarily removed from your business premises and located at your residential home or that of an authorised employee, for business purposes.

This cover will also extend to any necessary and direct transit between these aforementioned locations.

This automatic cover extension will be subject to:

  1. The sums insured under your policy being adequate to cover all such property.
  2. The maintenance of a fully up-to-date and documented inventory detailing the equipment which has been temporarily removed, its location, and whose possession it is in.
  3. A maximum period of 120 days from the date the business premises was closed, or up to the point where you are able to resume trading from your business premises, whichever is the sooner.
  4. You needing to work from home to comply with Government guidance on social distancing and self-isolation during the lockdown period.
  5. The aforementioned locations being situated within Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.
  6. All terms and conditions of your existing policy.

Our liability under this extension shall not exceed £50,000 any one occurrence and in the aggregate. If you have a higher sum insured than the above, please contact Balens. A review will need to be undertaken.

If your existing policy from Balens covers Employers’ Liability and/or Public Liability*, coverage will automatically allow for your employees to work from home as long as the scope of the work carried out is within the current business description and subject to all policy terms, conditions and limitations.

It is your duty as an employer to consider what may cause harm to your homeworkers, or other people, as a result of the work being carried out within the home.

Homeworkers can help by identifying the hazards for you/their manager, and we would expect a documented risk assessment to have been completed with consideration also given to the risks this work might present to other people in the home, for example keeping trailing wires and cables tidy, to prevent a tripping hazard.

Employers need to ensure that the aforementioned risk assessment incorporates Display Screen Equipment and ergonomic exposures with particular reference to employees who have not previously worked from home.

Useful guidance to assist you can be provided through the Health and Safety Executive website https://www.hse.gov.uk/

* Please check your policy schedule, which will tell you if you have such cover.

Terms and Premium

  • The aforementioned cover will be included at no additional premium for a maximum period of 120 days from the date your business premises was temporarily closed, or up to the point where you are able to resume trading from your business premises, whichever is the sooner.
  • Please ensure that you and your Employees take all reasonable precautions to protect and safeguard your business property during this period.
  • All existing policy terms, conditions and exclusions will remain unaltered and will apply to respective home working premises for each Employee.

Please be aware, that Balens are continuously working behind the scenes to ensure we support our Policyholders, in these unprecedented times. As matters evolve, we will need to review our stance and make new arrangements with our core Insurance partners, to ensure we obtain the best cover enhancements possible.

If you are not a Covea policyholder but have a property policy with Balens via another Insurance provider, please contact Our Commercial Team at ComBus@balens.co.uk for guidance.