Insurer Covid 19 updates – MasterGuard

MasterGuard updates

RSA Update 25 January 2021

As we have previously advised to you, the concessions allowed by RSA have now ceased and you need to advise your usual Bridge contact if any aspect of your risk or business has changed in anyway in response to the lockdown(s) imposed in response to the Covid-19 virus by the UK Government.

Further information on the type of information we need to be made aware was detailed in our letter of 11 November 2020 – a copy of which can be found by clicking here.

RSA Update 24 June 2020

Queries relating to unoccupied premises

NEW: What is RSA’s approach to buildings or business premises that have been closed due to coronavirus where the business

a)      Decides to protect their business by working from home or

b)      Has been instructed to close by the local authority or by the Government?

RSA would consider such business premises to be temporarily unoccupied. However, certain standard restrictions in RSA policies for unoccupied properties will not be applied, provided that the period of closure does not exceed 120 days. What this means for such premises is that, for the period that they may be closed for the above reasons or for up to 120 days maximum (whichever is the shorter period):

1)      Where the policy wording excludes Malicious Damage, Escape of Water or Theft with respect to buildings that are empty or not in use, such exclusions will not apply

2)      Security and Inspection conditions applicable to Unoccupied Properties will not apply

What Notification does RSA require from customers confirming that a business premises has been closed?

We would encourage customers to notify us if their business premises have been closed as a result of the UK Government’s COVID-19 guidance or restrictions. However, we understand that these are difficult times and will not refuse to consider a claim simply because a customer has not specifically advised that a building is now closed as a direct consequence of UK Government COVID-19 guidance or restrictions.

What approach will RSA take on buildings that were already Unoccupied before the COVID-19 restrictions were imposed?

For buildings or business premises that were already vacant prior to the imposition of the applicable UK Government restrictions, there will be no change to the cover restrictions, policy conditions or specific requirements that would have already been applied to maintain policy cover.

If any of the imposed conditions or requirements, including those involving the regular inspection of premises, now present an issue as a consequence of the UK Government restrictions, please refer to your usual RSA underwriter.

What is your approach to additional premiums for unoccupied premises at the current time?

RSA will not make any change to the premium charged as a result of unoccupancy for buildings that are temporary closed, the contents and stock items within them as a consequence of the UK Government restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus only. This will apply for up to 120 days from the date of closure. Should the relevant UK restrictions remain in place beyond 120 days RSA will provide an updated view of the position. Risk Management guidance provided by RSA on securing the premises must be followed.

RSA Update 15 May 2020

Policy Coverage

RSA have advised that:

‘neither standard Business Interruption policies nor those with a Notifiable Disease extension would cover losses incurred by non-essential businesses after the wider Government restrictions, as those losses are not incurred as a result of an insured risk under the policy.  

Customers who have a Business Interruption policy with a Notifiable Disease extension may however be able to claim for certain losses suffered after Covid-19 was declared a notifiable disease (5th March in England), but prior to the wider Government action to close non-essential businesses on 23rd March.’

Please CLICK HERE to access their responses on queries relating to Business Interruption.

Capital Additions

If you have purchased an RSA Computer Insurance cover it already provides cover anywhere in the world. In addition, RSA Computer Insurance cover will now allow up to a 20% increase in sum insured (up to a maximum of £250,000) to cater for any additional computer equipment that has to be purchased to allow for home working.

The following additional terms will be applicable:

  • Theft from unattended vehicles will be covered but will be limited to £5,000 in respect of any one loss
  • When such items are left in unattended vehicles, they must be locked in a separate boot area or otherwise be obscured from view

RSA Property Damage Insurance covers do not automatically provide cover for business equipment removed from the business premises. However, for the period that the relevant COVID-19 restrictions by the UK Government remain in force, RSA will automatically provide additional cover for items temporarily removed to the home of an employee to enable working from home for a Sum Insured of £5,000 per home and a single article limit of £2,500.  Other relevant policy terms and conditions will continue to apply.

Payment Support

RSA understand that in these unprecedented times you may experience financial difficulties which would impact your ability to make payment to RSA for any monies due. Under such circumstances, we may be able to offer a 1 month payment holiday to help support you if you have a direct debit with RSA. Please email [email protected] to discuss your situation (copy in your usual contact at Bridge).

MasterGuard updates prior to 15.05.2020

Your Masterguard policy wording

We have confirmed your policy wording with Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) and they have advised that whilst there was an element of business interruption cover for infectious disease under your policy, the trigger for this cover was that the disease had to manifest itself or occur on your premises, and that your premises was subsequently closed by a relevant authority as a result.

As the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a Pandemic – resulting in the UK wide lockdown of premises such as your own – this isn’t a sufficient trigger for policy coverage as the disease has not manifested itself, or occurred specifically on your premises leading to its closure. This was confirmed in a statement by The Association of British Insurers that you can view by clicking here.

We appreciate that the above clarification will come as a disappointment, however this is largely the same position for the overwhelming majority of commercial insurance policies in the UK – not just for Royal Sun Alliance policies.

Unoccupied Premises

RSA have however, provided further updates in respect of buildings and business premises that become vacant due to COVID-19. They have advised that they will not refuse a claim because a Policyholder has not specifically advised them that a building is now closed as a consequence of UK Government COVID-19 instructions. They will not apply the condition precedent under the policy, relating to occupancy of the premises but they have stipulated the following:

  • It is acknowledged that premises will have been abandoned with combustible contents and stocks still present inside. Stocks of clothing, electronics and other items will remain on display counters and rails. It is therefore important that all security measures are put into play when the premises are closed for business and all doors and windows to the premises are securely and properly locked.  Fire doors should also be closed.
  • All normal out-of working hours security should apply and be in operation; buildings that retain security guards on site 24/7 would not be regarded as unoccupied.
  • If the policy is subject to an Intruder Alarm Exclusion, the alarm should be maintained and RSA be advised if the required alarm protection is not working
  • Public Utilities should be shut off except where:

                1) Electricity required to retain power to fire or intruder alarms or CCTV.

                2) Water supplies where needed to maintain sprinkler systems.

                3) Gas except where required to maintain heating to the end of April.

  • There should be no known issues with Police response to an alarm.
  • Central monitoring stations should be in operation and be informed that Building is not occupied so any alarm condition is responded to immediately.
  • All external combustibles and waste should be removed or stored in locked lidded fireproof receptacles before a premises is fully vacated.

Please advise us if you are unable to comply with the above as we do not want to compromise your ability to make claim should you suffer an insured event during the period the building is not occupied. We will happily discuss your particular circumstances with RSA on your behalf.

Change in Risk

We asked RSA to relax their requirement for notification of any changes in risk whereby for example you have the majority of personnel working from home, housekeeping and maintenance procedures have changed or you have adopted a change in your business description (for example to accommodate a takeaway/delivery service when ordinarily they trade as a restaurant). RSA have declined this and have requested that they are advised of any material changes to the risk in the same way as before. Please review your arrangements and make sure you speak to your usual Bridge contact about any changes in your operations.

RSA have issued guidance on operational changes during the current restrictions and these can be accessed using the following links:

Capital Additions

RSA are fully aware that a substantial number of our clients will have purchased significant amounts of additional IT and business equipment. Unfortunately they are not able to provide you with an automatic uplift in the policy to cover these capital additions, so if you need to amend or alter any of your sums insured or policy limits please let us know us immediately.

Policy Conditions and Warranties

Other than what is specified in the section for Unoccupied Premises above, RSA believe you should still be able to comply with other policy conditions and warranties. We ask you to review your policy conditions and warranties and contact your usual Bridge advisor to let us know if you are unable to continue compliance with these. It is important to do this to avoid the possibility that RSA may refuse to pay for any other losses that may arise during this period of lockdown.


We made a request that for those of you whose policy is due for renewal during the period whilst restrictions from the UK Government remain in place that RSA offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. This has been declined but will consider each on its merits. If your policy is due for renewal we will be in contact with you to conduct the renewal review and discuss extension options if required.

Payment Holidays

We have not received specific guidance from RSA in relation to customers who might be facing difficulties in making payments under their monthly instalment plan.  If you are going to face difficulties then we encourage you to contact us and we can refer your case to RSA.

If you pay your instalments through either Close Brothers or Premium Credit then both firms have advised us that they can show flexibility in your schedule of payments by offering limited payment holidays and extending the number of instalments. Again this will be on a case by case.

If you pay for your premium up front then you may want to consider paying it by instalment via one of our Premium Finance partners to help manage your cash flow.

If you think you miss a payment deadline then it is important that you contact us as soon as possible so we can assist you.

Motor Fleet

In addition RSA have also advised that if you have fleet policy and you have to lay vehicles up, they are prepared to provided cover on a ‘Laid up,  Accidental Damage, Fire & Theft’ basis providing they are registered SORN at a reduced premium. Again, please contact us if you wish to discuss this particular area further.

Useful information

In these challenging and uncertain times we would like to reiterate that Bridge Insurance is deeply to committed to the Memorial Masons industry, and our MasterGuard clients that we have proudly served for many years. 

We hope that the continued updates from the UK Government regarding financial assistance for business interruption due to the COVID19 pandemic, will prove of use to you.  You can find out more details about this by clicking this link.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.

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