Business Help and Advice & for Self Employed
The information we have pulled together is under continual review by the Government and Local Authorities and was correct as at 26th March 2020.
Here, at F R Ball, we would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some important advice and information regarding your policy cover and temporary closure of your business premises due to Covid-19. For most of us, F R Ball included, this is an uninsured event, meaning there is no cover for Coronavirus (Covid-19) but it is worth checking your policy as some wordings may provide for some element or limited cover.
It would be prudent to advise your brokers/insurers as soon as possible once you have closed the business premises. Whilst most insurers are providing full cover for 30 days in respect of unoccupied premises a number of insurers have relaxed this and extended the period to either 60 or 90 days make sure you check and obtain an email confirmation as to your position, where insurers are amending their wordings to give some support.
If Vacant Premises full cover is for 30 days and you are nearing the end of that period, we advise you to contact your broker/ insurer to see if an extension is available, making sure you keep records.
On the advice from the Government to adhere to the lock down conditions we also recommend you ensure that your business equipment and assets are correctly insured where possible.
To enable you and your staff to work from home any of the business assets, electronic & office equipment removed from the business address, temporarily will need to be identified to insurers – requesting an “All Risks” extension for the value of the equipment and where it is being used should be sufficient but clearly explain to your broker/ Insurer what you are doing.
It would also be required for those “Homeworkers” to notify their Household Insurers that this is happening, to ensure that any policy conditions, exceptions or warranties are overcome by way of an endorsement from their Insurer. Again ensure this confirmation is received by email and retained.
In the unfortunate event that Unoccupancy Condition is reverted to whilst not exhaustive, please find below some general advice on how to comply with some general unoccupancy policy conditions (You will need to read your own Policies in conjunction with your Schedules to see how these terms apply):
- Turn off electricity, gas and water supplies at the mains and drain down all water systems except those connected to fire suppression systems or in use to maintain a sufficient level of heating to prevent freezing
- Ensure any intruder alarms, automatic fire alarms, automatic sprinkler installations or other fire suppression systems are in good working order and are switched on & in full operation
- Ensure that all points of access to the premises are secured against entry by intruders
- Remove all waste, unfixed combustible materials and gas bottles from the interior of the premises, including any communal parts, and store safely in external areas
- Make sure that an internal and external inspection of the building is carried out, preferably every 7 days, but at least in accordance with the minimum requirements of the applicable policy wording. Keep a record of any inspections you make to refer back to if you need to.
Motor Vehicle / Fleet Insurance/ Plant
If feasible, are you able to reduce cover on vehicles to laid up Accidental Fire & Theft cover as a way of helping cash flow and providing a potential return of premium to policy. Please bear in mind that if the vehicles are being kept in a building, they are spaced apart and, where possible, drain petrol/diesel and also remove batteries. This reduces the fire and theft risk.
Businesses within the Construction Sector Please check the conditions that are in place under Plant sections of cover. If any plant items are left on site as a result of sites shutting down, please ensure reasonable precautionary measures are in place to protect your assets. Or remove them from site and take back to their main risk address or compound in the interim period.
Finance re-structure options, ask to see if you can spread the costs by paying on direct debit, up to 12 months if possible?
Business Grants & Loans Literature
The attached document, Covid-19 Information, has been taken and edited from the Government Covid-19 Web pages:
Grants for businesses – whilst we (F R Ball) may not qualify we are exploring all avenues to help ourselves
The process for claiming grants has finally become clearer and today the majority of the local authorities covering our client base have application forms. Links to these can be found below. We would suggest completing these applications forms as soon as possible. If your local authority is not covered, please see https://businesswales.gov.wales/covid-19-grants and follow the link to your local authority.
From paying your bills to guidance on how the UK is affected by the Coronavirus, Citizens Advice offers guidance for employers and employees.
Your COVID-19 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Guide – Click here to find out more.
We cannot stress enough the importance of reading your own Insurance Policies in conjunction with your Policy Schedules to make sure that you understand what you are and will not be insured for or Legally Liable for in the event of Loss or Damage.
We are here to help, whether your arrangements are with us or not, so if you are concerned about the advice that you have received or unable to contact your Broker or Insurer feel free to drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01873 857533 and select the option that suits best.