Insurer responses regarding unoccupied property
Russell Jackson, from ASK Insurance Services, provides the answer to unoccupied premises during the Covid-19 crisis.
INSURER RESPONSES: UNOCCUPIED PROPERTY
27th March 2020
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) guidance to clients is as follows:
If a business must temporarily close because of Covid-19, where policyholders are taking the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of damage to the property whilst unoccupied, insurers will be flexible around the period of un-occupancy specified on the policy document.
Policies will often include conditions that are intended to ensure good practice in protecting buildings of damage caused by the risk of fire, theft and escape of water, which are often increased when a building is empty. It is important that business owners continue to follow risk management advice and ensure they understand what steps they need to take.
Some insurers have also waived requirements for their business customers to immediately notify them of their unoccupied status, (depending on the individual business circumstances). This should help those customers concentrate on managing their businesses and allow insurers’ call centres to focus on managing the significant number of insurance claims being processed.
If there are any specific requirements as part of your insurance contract that you are unable or unlikely to be able to comply with, such as on-site security, speak to your insurer or insurance advisor/broker.
· It is important to distinguish between temporarily closed premises due to COVID-19 and previously longer terms unoccupied premises, the responses vary from Insurer to Insurer and are aimed at the temporarily closed premises, for those policyholders whom have longer terms unoccupied exposures we urge they review their policy document and notify the Insurer or Broker immediately If they are struggling to adhere to any pertinent policy conditions.
· Each policy will have its own specific unoccupied conditions which will need to be adhered to and the ABI have provided the following guidance for policyholders.