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During these unprecedented times, we would like to provide some important advice and insight in order to help you through the tough times ahead.

14th May 2020


COVID19 - Insurance Advice and Insight

It is an understatement to say that we are currently in extremely unusual and difficult times, I hope everyone reading this (and your nearest and dearest) are safe and well. Moving away from our own family and friends and to the world of insurance, we find it is an interesting time for our industry and Insurance companies are under significant pressure from clients and also from the government to assist in the economic losses felt by businesses.

The industry is struggling to respond to this pandemic positively because policies were never designed or intended to deal with a pandemic. Where there is potentially cover, it is usually down to default or a policy wording that is vague or silent, therefore the technicalities of cover are being looked into with a fine-tooth comb by insurers, clients, FCA and solicitors.

We are finding that the vast majority insurers are declining claims at this stage however we are seeing the insurance industry being put under a lot of pressure from the government, clients and action groups. The insurance industry has hit back saying that if their policies were deemed to cover this then it could make them insolvent, also if they were forced to retrospectively cover this pandemic it would make many insurers insolvent and cause massive premium increases for those insurance companies left.

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Useful Information

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also confirmed in a statement:-

"Based on our conversations with the industry to date, our estimate is that most policies have basic cover, do not cover pandemics and therefore would have no obligation to pay out in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst this may be disappointing for the policyholder we see no reasonable grounds to intervene in such circumstances."

With the class action groups growing against insurers like Hiscox, Allianz, MS Amlin & Royal Sun Alliance the FCA have now taken the steps to try and put an end to the wrangling over policy wording between clients and insurers. They are asking the courts to make a legal precedent over many of the terms and conditions stipulated within the policy wordings once we have this the industry will be able to move forward whichever way the courts decide. They have also reiterated to Insurers their request to treat customers fairly and also have asked insurers to clarify their position on Covid-19 claims by 15th May.

See the following article and FCA statement on the following links:
 

https://www.insuranceage.co.uk/insurer/7510801/covid-19-fca-bares-teeth-as-bi-dispute-hots-up?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=IA.Daily_RL.EU.A.U&utm_source=IA.DCM.Editors_Updates
 
https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-seeks-legal-clarity-business-interruption-insurance

 

I would refer you to the following published articles and statements for some background information to the insurance situation:-

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/business-insurance/

https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/insurance-and-coronavirus

http://communicatoremail.com/AzNr9MhcvRWmNcNd4VDrkzEixIMZNo9QvYbjMi~Nnrg/WebView.aspx

https://www.eadt.co.uk/business/business-across-suffolk-react-to-governments-coronavirus-help-1-6610815


As we come to review your insurance cover, we will always ensure a thorough review and will always ensure your renewal premiums are calculated fairly e.g. conservatively assessing future annual financial estimates.

We trust that you find this report useful in some way and as always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Organisations such as the Association for British Insurers (ABI) have published an "Information Hub" which you may find useful:

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-hub/

UK Insurance companies continue to settle on average £22 million claims each day (over £8 billion per annum) and provide the security for businesses to function and trade across the globe.

We will provide any further significant industry updates in due course.