Pen Underwriting updates
We have been involved in in-depth discussions with a number of insurers over the arrangements of our clients’ policy in relation to the restrictions imposed by the UK Government in order to contain the COVID 19 pandemic. Pen have responded to a number of our questions and their answers are detailed below.
Pen’s policy wording in general follows the rest of the UK market in that the UK wide lockdown of premises, such as your own, isn’t a sufficient trigger for policy coverage. COVID 19 has to manifest itself at, or occurred specifically on your premises leading to its closure. 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 Pen policies. However, we do urge you to check with your usual Bridge contact to clarify the position under your policy.
Further information on the coverage that applies across a wide range of types of insurance contracts across the UK is available from the website of the Association of British Insurers:
Pen have advised that any business premises closed temporarily due to COVID 19 will not be treated as unoccupied for a period of 90 days. Cover will not be reduced and additional conditions will not apply. However they are asking you adopt to the following precautions below as best practice.
- That the Premises is secured, by putting all protective, locking devices and any alarm protection, in effective operation
- Where practical, isolate/turn off the gas, water and electricity supplies at the mains (except electricity needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems, or water and heating systems for sprinklered Premises).
- All other devices for the protection of the property shall be kept in good order and put into full and effective operation;
- Where possible, the Insured or their representative should visit once every 7 days to physically check the premises and carry our immediately any work necessary to maintain the security of the premises in all respects including removal of accumulations of combustible material such as junk mail.
- Remove all trade refuse and waste materials from the interior of the Premises, allowing no accumulation of refuse or waste in the adjoining yards or spaces owned by the Insured.
- All money to be removed from site including money in safes and deposited in the bank or bank night safe.
- Where possible any high value goods (including alcohol) are to be removed from display and securely hidden away.
- All keys relative to the security of the Premises or to any safe or strong room shall be removed from the Premises
Please note that If your premises were already unoccupied before the Covid-19 outbreak, and you are now unable to meet the terms of the unoccupied conditions in your policy due to the current restrictions, please get in touch with your usual Bridge contact so we can discuss the matter with Pen and ensure that your current level of cover is maintained and any subsequent claim is not repudiated due to breach of these conditions.
Pen have promised to continue to review this position as the situation develops.
Change in Risk
We asked Pen 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). Pen have agreed that business descriptions can be changed temporarily and there is no need to advise them.
They do still want to be advised of material changes and we ask you to please review your business activities and operational arrangements and if there is anything you don’t believe is covered by the above please make sure you speak to your usual Bridge contact so we can ensure you are correctly covered.
There is an automatic provision in your policy to cover increases in sums insured for business and IT equipment to cover the potential capital purchases you may have made to restructure your business operations. This will be limited to a certain % of your existing sums insured, so we ask you to review the provision in your policy and speak to your usual Bridge if the provision is insufficient.
Policy Conditions and Warranties
Other than what we have already discussed above, Pen have issued no guidance on this so we must advise you to contact us if you are now unable to comply with any of the policy conditions or warranties as a result of the restrictions in place.
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 Pen offer an automatic extension to your policy for a limited period of time. Unfortunately, Pen have not been able to agree to this. If your policy is due for renewal we will be in contact with you to conduct the renewal review and we can discuss any requirement for an extension.
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. Both firms will consider each request on a case by case. In the first instance any such request must be made direct to them using the following contacts:
Premium Credit Limited:
Tel: 0344 736 9836 or 0330 123 9717
Close Brothers Limited:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0333 321 8566 (Personal Lines)
0333 321 8567 (Commercial)
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 may miss a payment deadline then it is important that you contact us as soon as possible so we can assist you.
In these challenging and uncertain times we would like to reiterate that Bridge Insurance is deeply to committed to all our clients and we will continue to act in your best interests in these challenging times. 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.
Our accountants have produced a very helpful analysis and summary of the financial assistance available from the UK Government and this available to you by clicking this link (https://www.baldwinsaccountants.co.uk/news-and-insights/covid-19)
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.
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