Clients experiencing financial difficulties
On the 18th May 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority introduced new measures for insurance and premium finance firms to help clients in financial difficulty. Should you be experiencing financial hardship, or if things change at work or home, we may be able to help by:
- Re-assessing your demands & needs
- Reviewing levels of cover
- Adding or removing optional covers such as legal expenses
- Adding or removing people on your policy
Where amendments to your insurance cover does not alleviate your payment difficulties, you should contact your finance provider directly as further support may be available, which could potentially include:
- The possibility of deferring payments (refer to FAQ’s)
- Reduced repayments, or rescheduled term
- Waiving missed or late payment fees
- Amending your repayment date without any cost
- Reducing interest payments
It is important that customers do not leave themselves uninsured, so we encourage you to contact us to discuss the options available if you are struggling to afford your payments during this uncertain time.
Please see our FAQ’s on Payment Deferrals
Q – What is a payment deferral?
A – A payment deferral is an arrangement under which a firm permits a customer that pays their insurance premium in instalments to make no payments for a specified period
Q – How do I apply for a payment deferral?
A – You should contact your insurer or finance provider direct
Q – If I am granted payment deferral, will I be classed as being in arrears on my payments?
A – No, nor would the provider or any third party such as broker or debt collector be allowed to cancel the policy or collect payment during the deferral period
Q – How long can I defer payments?
A – One to three months however, the provider can grant a longer extension should they wish
Q – Will I have to pay a fee?
A – The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would not expect a customer to be liable to pay any charge or fee in connection with the granting of a payment deferral
Post and paper-based documents
We continue to handle all post (incoming and outgoing), and paper-based documents such as cheques, as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure they are processed in a timely manner to safeguard policy cover. Should you have any concerns about instructions or cheques you have sent which may not have been processed, or documents you believe you are due from us, please contact us urgently.
In light of
the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are issuing this Newsletter to update our
clients on how Insurance Services Surrey are operating and share advice from
the insurance market regarding cover.
How we are operating
Our technology allows our staff to operate from home with access to both
computer systems and telephones. We appreciate that this is a worrying time for
all business owners. Please be assured that all our staff are set-up to help
you in the usual way. Please continue to telephone our main switchboard (01483
532921), or email your usual contact or email@example.com.
Insurers are in the process of adapting to new ways of working, which is leading
to longer response times. Please do notify us of any changes required to your
insurances, or renewal information requested, as early as possible, to enable
us to best help you.
The majority of insurances arranged for organisations in the UK do not include
any provision to cover losses sustained as a result of COVID-19. Business
Interruption insurance is principally designed to cover the extra costs of
working or loss of profit (depending on the cover selected) following physical
damage to property or stock. Insurers generally take the view that an epidemic
or pandemic is a systemic, governmental risk (like war), rather than an
insurable fortuity for a particular business. Some Gross Profit or Gross Income
Business Interruption policies do extend to provide a limited cover benefit in
relation to the authorities closing-down premises due to a specified list of
notifiable diseases, however these do not extend to include new, previously
unknown diseases such as COVID-19. There are a handful of exceptions under
insurance packages for a small number of specialist businesses or charities and
we will be happy to advise further on this.
If you hold Business Travel Insurance with us, please let us know if you have
needed to cancel any business trips as a result of Foreign & Commonwealth
Office (FCO) advice not to travel. Travel insurers will expect policyholders to
exhaust all options to obtain refunds from airlines, hotels and other providers
before settling claims. We will work with insurers to ensure claims settlements
are made as quickly as possible.
Any trips that you or your staff continue to make to anywhere where the FCO
advises against any travel, or all but essential travel, will not automatically
be covered by travel insurance.
Regrettably, travel insurers generally are either pulling-out of providing any
new quotations for cover or are doing so, but excluding cancellation resulting
from COVID-19. We will be happy to advise on any concerns you have about this.
Please do remember to let us know if:
- your premises are going to be
unoccupied. Most policies include a requirement to notify insurers and to
carry out certain precautions if no-one is regularly going to be present
during your normal business hours for an extended period, usually 30 days
- you need cover for business
equipment away from the premises.
Organisations will also need to ensure that appropriate health and safety risk assessments are undertaken regarding home-working and also if children are to be brought into the workplace as a result of school closures. Staff working from home may also need to inform their own home insurers that this is the case. This is especially important if they are likely to receive business visitors.
We do understand that these are challenging times and we are available to answer your queries regarding insurance cover.
The Insurance Services Surrey Team
PO Box 1533
Insurance Services Surrey is a trading name of Insurance Services (Surrey) Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Our Festive Season Opening Hours are:
Monday 23 December – 9am-5pm
Tuesday 24 December – 9am-1pm
Wednesday 25 December – Closed
Thursday 26 December – Closed
Friday 27 December – 9am-1pm
Monday 30 December – 9am-1pm
Tuesday 31 December – 9am-1pm
Wednesday 1 January – Closed
Thursday 2 January – 9am-5pm
Friday 3 January 9am-5pm
Our festive opening hours are:
- Monday 23 December – 9am to 5pm
- Tuesday 24 December – 9am to 1pm
- Wednesday 25 December – Closed
- Thursday 26 December – Closed
- Friday 27 December – 9am to 1pm
- Monday 30 December – 9am to 1pm
- Tuesday 31 December – 9am to 1pm
- Wednesday 1 January – Closed
- Thursday 2 January – 9am to 5pm
- Friday 3 January – 9am to 5pm
You really are very busy. Running a business involves plenty of demands on your time: growth, strategy, staff issues, recruitment, keeping up with changes in legislation. Nevertheless, I want you to indulge me briefly. Imagine the worst disaster that could hit your business. Imagine how you would deal with this? I want you to sense what it is like to live through this catastrophe. It is possible that you have heard apocryphal tales of insurers avoiding valid claims–how would that impact your life, your business and your customers?
I understand why some business owners and managers treat their insurance renewal as a chore to be ground-out each year or as some form of tax, but it is not a healthy approach. Insurers do pay valid claims, but insurances are contracts. Just like any other form of contract the terms need to be understood and, if necessary, negotiated to ensure that there are no misunderstandings. I strongly recommend that a business owner, manager or financial controller takes stock of the insurance arrangements and treat it, not as a chore, but as the maintenance of the safety net to protect the livelihoods, security and reputation of everyone involved. Surely it is worth checking a safety net for holes?
In my experience, claims are generally paid. Sometimes, however, there are problems and they generally result from the following:
Too often, cover is renewed ‘on the nod’. Sums insured are reviewed and an odd 5% added here or a couple of thousand taken from there. In the event of a claim, the insurer’s appointed Loss Adjuster is going to want to know how you calculated your figures. Take time to check the accounts and sales forecasts. Look at the peak stock levels. I would urge every firm to add a column on their asset register to note new replacement value of plant and general contents. Totalling that column can be a real surprise. Keep a copy of your calculations off-site and consider writing a Business Continuity Plan.
Gross Profit vs Insurable Gross Profit
A topic in itself – make sure you understand how Business Interruption cover works. The calculations can be complex or conflict with your understanding of the terminology. Businesses that do not survive a major incident often are in this position because their Business Interruption cover was inadequate or on the wrong basis, or simply did not indemnify for a long enough period to allow for recovery of the business to pre-incident levels. Consider planning permission implications, for example or loss of market share.
Most policies contain warranties which state things that must be done for cover to apply. It may be to do with locking doors, precautions when applying heat or where you position your bins. If you do not know what your warranties are, you may not be complying. If you do not feel you can comply with a warranty, negotiate a change.
Has your insurer surveyed your premises? Did they require you to improve anything? Have you done it?
Your insurer needs to know what you do to understand how much to charge and what to offer. Most policies detail the business description on the policy schedule. Is it up to date and complete?
Disclosure of Material Circumstances
There is a duty on you to ensure that the insurer is aware of all relevant circumstances, such as motoring convictions or an unoccupied building. If you are in any doubt about whether something is material–disclose it. It is always better to do so, even if you incur an additional cost.
Delay in Reporting Claims
Report claims straight away, even if you are unsure whether you will progress the claim. This is especially important for motor and liability claims where strict time limits apply
Are You Covering the Wrong Things?
Instead of thinking about what insurance is traditionally bought, consider the biggest threats to your business. This may be a breach of your intellectual property rights or confiscation of your assets overseas. It may the loss of a key technical person or the financial viability of your customer. Consider if the business could manage these exposures out of capital or current funds. If not, re-priorite your insurance needs to put these first.
A good insurance broker should be able to guide you on all of the points raised in this article and help you to identify the risks that really matter. Insurance should not be just a checklist – it is dynamic, changing requirement unique to each business and needs careful thought and good advice.
Author: John Goodson ACII, Director of Insurance Services (Surrey) Ltd. Contact: 01483 532921 firstname.lastname@example.org
Insurance Service (Surrey) Ltd has been providing advice to businesses on risk identification and insurance provision for over fifty years.
Insurance Services Surrey will again be exhibiting at Surrey’s biggest business Expo on the 14th of June at Surrey Sports Park from 9.30 to 4.30 come and visit us on stand 35 and enter our competition to win some exciting prizes!
In his Budget Speech today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced an increase in the rate of Insurance Premium Tax from 9.5% to 10%. The new rate will apply to all new policy premiums, renewals and any mid-term increases.
This uplift follows an increase from 6% which was applied from November 2015. It is unprecedented for this tax to be increased so dramatically over such a short period and this will affect domestic buyers of insurance and businesses alike. Please be assured that Insurance Services Surrey, with agency arrangements with over 40 insurers and through our partners in the Lloyds of London market, will continue to offer policies which offer good value and we are happy to discuss any concerns you may have.
The announcement by Talk Talk that customers’ data may have been compromised by a cyber-attack on 22nd October 2015 highlights the increasing number and audacity of such crimes. The Information Commissioner requires organisations to handle individuals’ data with an acceptable level of care and with safeguards against theft. Insurance against the legal liabilities to others and damage to own systems caused by such attacks have been around for a while, but are now entering the mainstream, with at least two major insurers now starting such cover for around £100.00, as an extension to a Commercial Combined, Directors’ and Officers’ Liability or Professional Indemnity policy. Where this is not appropriate, separate policies are also available from a number of providers.
Please call or email your usual Insurance Services Surrey representative who will be able to advise you on appropriate insurance solutions to protect your organisation and take time to review how your information is secured, both in the office and on laptops and ‘phones.
Well the day finally arrived and we are now Four Brave Shavers!
Despite protests from Simon, who constantly asked “can’t I just have a little trim” All the hair on our heads, apart from John’s beard has now been removed! Our thanks go to the staff at Maurices in Guildford, our new stylists; and of course to all our clients and friends for their generous support.
To date we have raised nearly £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support a fantastic cause, if you haven’t contributed yet our Just Giving page is https://www.justgiving.com/InsuranceServicesSurrey
Thank you once again from all at Insurance Services Surrey for your fabulous support!