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Business Insurance

We have produced this page to provide information and advice for our business customers to answer some frequently asked questions. We also have a business resource hub where you can find additional external resources and advice too.

We also advise you to seek out the Government’s package of support for businesses as well as:

Government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The Government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial payments.  For further information and to check your eligibility.

Other useful information

For public advice regarding protective measures you can take to reduce spread of the Coronavirus and for the latest information on the outbreak, visit the World Health Organisation website.

If you’re worried about your situation, and can’t find your answer here, then remember your local Agency or Mutual Direct are here to help.

In line with UK market practice, our standard Business Interruption cover usually requires damage to property, such as storms or fires, in order to be triggered, which means the majority of customers will not be covered for Coronavirus. The lack of cover for pandemics like COVID-19 is not a UK phenomenon nor is it restricted to NFU Mutual.

No insurance market can afford to underwrite the scale of losses a pandemic can bring, and policies reflect that reality. Global pandemics such as Coronavirus which affect everybody require larger financial packages from authorities and central Governments.

This is something the UK government is aware of. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, acknowledged many businesses wouldn’t be insured when he announced his £330bn government support package for businesses.

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There is no automatic extension of coverage from the Human Diseases BI policy extension available on commercial policies to include Coronavirus/COVID-19 as a result of the emerging news that the Government has named the virus as a notifiable disease. In line with the rest of the market, it is not currently specified as a covered disease in our policy wordings at this time. You can read the official statement from the Association of British Insurers, which summaries the insurance industry’s position on COVID-19

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Plague in the context of this wording means the Plague, an infectious bacterial disease also mostly known as The Black Death, the Pestilence, Great Bubonic Plague, or the Great Plague. This cannot be construed to include Coronavirus or COVID-19, which is a viral illness.

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Yes, it’s possible to add this extension. However, there is no cover for COVID-19 under this extension, and there is no intention to add cover for COVID-19 to this extension.

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For the Business Interruption cover to operate there must be a valid material damage claim. In the example given, there would have been no physical damage to the business – such as damage caused by storms or fires, and there is no insured peril in operation.

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Yes, if these activities are directly linked to your normal business activities, or business description, then your home delivery and take away enterprises will be covered under your business policy. This is because your new endeavours are in relation to your normal business activity. There is no need to amend the business description.

This scenario may affect lots of businesses, with many adapting to the current situation by offering to deliver their produce to customers. This helps businesses to continue trading and provides welcome support in local communities.

Please remember to check necessary controls are in place and risk assessments have been undertaken, such as precautions to ensure perishable goods are kept appropriately e.g. heated/chilled.

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Yes, if the correct class of business use has been selected, including for those drivers involved, then in many cases your existing policy will cover this.

If new drivers need to be added or the business use on the policy needs to be amended, policies can be updated as necessary, however we will apply our existing acceptance criteria for additional young driver risks. If employees are asked to use their own vehicles to carry out home deliveries, they must be told to ensure they have cover for this under their own personal motor insurance policy, as this is not covered under our motor policy.

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Yes, during this period, when your business is temporarily providing home deliveries, if alternatives to cash payments aren’t possible, we will disregard Exclusion 2c and treat cash payments for home deliveries in the same way as we would trips to and from your bank.

Where possible, an alternative to cash should be used, such as electronic payment methods. Cover for any money (in your or your employees’ possession) whilst away from the premises is normally only intended for journeys to and from the bank.

However, you need to be aware that the cover for cash away from your premises is limited and you should refer to the Carryings Warranty in the Money Section of your policy. For example, any cash carried in excess of £5,000 needs to be accompanied by two adults. You may also need to consider Goods in Transit insurance, if it is not already included in your policy, to cover the produce you are now delivering to your customers.

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Where any premises are temporarily unoccupied because of the Coronavirus outbreak, we won’t restrict cover from the time the unoccupancy starts, until such time as the restrictions on premises being used or occupied are lifted. This is subject to you applying reasonable endeavours to manage your premises, including appropriate security measures. Weekly inspections should only be undertaken where it is safe and practical to do so, and Government guidance is being followed.

Most of our products have unoccupancy conditions that set out the actions you need to undertake while your business premises are unoccupied.

You don’t need to notify us of the unoccupancy, where it occurs as a result of the Coronavirus.

If your premises remain unoccupied after this point as your business is not permitted to open still, or has to close, under Government lockdown restrictions, there is no need to notify us. There will be no restriction in cover, and we will not charge an additional premium, but the unoccupancy conditions in your policy will apply.

If your business is permitted to open under Government guidelines but the premises is to remain unoccupied, please notify us. The unoccupancy conditions and the cover restrictions in your policy will apply but we will not charge an additional premium for the unoccupied period.  

Where Government travel restrictions exist, which do not allow the necessary travel to complete an inspection, the need for an inspection is deferred until travel restrictions are lifted.

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The Employers' Liability Insurance Act requires that all businesses with employees have Employers' Liability insurance in force. An individual who is furloughed retains their employment rights and normal employment law will apply for all employees. The employment contractual relationship remains in place and therefore Employers' Liability must be maintained.

Guidance in respect of the Governments job retention scheme can be found here.

DAS (NFU Mutual’s Legal Expenses cover providers) have also updated their website with FAQs here.

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No. Your policy has an exclusion under the Accidental damage cover that excludes all pollution or contamination of property.

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NFU Mutual will pay for an illness which, within 104 weeks of its diagnosis by a doctor, is the sole and direct cause of temporary total disability. NFU Mutual will not pay for the deferment period as stated on your schedule.

NHS Direct have advised anyone with symptoms of Coronavirus to self-isolate for fourteen days. If your symptoms persist and / or worsen, you should contact NHS. If you continue to be temporarily totally disabled, we can look to consider a claim.

If you are not referred to a medical centre for treatment, NHS Direct can issue a sick note for validation. This should be requested following your deferment period as stated on your schedule.

Before you make a claim under your Personal Accident / Group Personal Accident policy, please consider the following restrictions:

  • We will not cover you for an illness which appears within 21 days of the start of your Personal Accident cover, unless you can prove that you had previous continuous insurance for it
  • We will not cover an illness of an insured person under 16 or over 65 years of age unless individually named on your schedule
  • We will not cover an accident or illness consequent upon or contributed to by any pre-existing physical or mental defect or infirmity
  • We will not cover an accident or illness which appears before the start of this section or any subsequent renewal
  • We will not cover you if you have failed to follow proper medical advice, the condition is self-inflicted, related to drug or alcohol abuse, or is a result of a specified dangerous sport (full list available upon request).
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NFU Mutual will pay for an illness which, within 104 weeks of diagnosis by a doctor, is the sole and direct cause of temporary total disability. As you are not showing any symptoms of an illness, we will be unable to consider a claim in this scenario

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NFU Mutual will pay for an illness which, within 104 weeks of diagnosis by a doctor, is the sole and direct cause of temporary total disability. As you are not showing any symptoms of an illness, we will be unable to consider a claim in this scenario.

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Yes, inspections of equipment are still required by law and these must still be carried out during national or local Lockdowns. If the HSE find employers are being negligent of carrying out inspection or maintenance activity, there may be penalties for the customer.

Vulcan Inspection Services continue to support NFU Mutual customers with this obligation.

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Yes, we understand that for some (potentially vulnerable) customers it could be difficult to allow inspections during this challenging period.

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We would advise where possible, to continue with scheduled equipment inspections. Inspections reduce the risk of injury and loss of life. It’s also worth bearing in mind that inspections reduce the risk of machinery malfunctioning – and business interruption. In this difficult time, it is important to keep those businesses that can work operating.

You should ensure that you continue with inspections as scheduled if at all possible, as otherwise a backlog of inspections could occur after the COVID-19 outbreak, causing more disruption.

However, if you do need to delay an inspection, contact the Vulcan Inspection Services Team on 0345 072 4387. You will receive a ‘Plant Not Available’ notice (PNA).

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The obligation for inspections is a statutory requirement and is not diminished by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Examinations must still be carried out by a competent person in accordance with the scheme of inspection (generally every six or 12 months). If an inspection is overdue, any equipment which is subject to thorough examination must be withdrawn from service until it has been examined by a competent person. Operation of such equipment would be an offence under the regulations and there is a legal duty to report this.

If the Government makes changes to these requirements, we will provide updated advice.

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Following Government advice, Vulcan Inspection Services have implemented a series of hygiene standards. This includes the use of disinfectant to sanitise machinery before and after inspection, careful social distancing practices and the use of electronic communications and programs – rather than paper.

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We are automatically offering additional cover for businesses to allow them to extend their commercial activities during Coronavirus. For example, they will be covered for volunteers and volunteering during the Coronavirus pandemic, enjoy more flexible cover for those with unoccupied premises, and added protection for those with higher stock levels.

We will continue to provide an automatic 15% increase in property sums insured to ensure customers are protected if an Agent or valuations firm cannot access property during the outbreak.

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RISCAuthority, a funded research scheme supported by a significant group of UK insurers that conducts research in support of the development and dissemination of best practice on the protection of property and business have produced a business continuity template for small businesses, which can be downloaded for free. 

Further information on Business Continuity Planning is also available from business continuity and risk management experts such as Inoni. Inoni have published a Business Continuity for Business blog. The blog is intended to support businesses with their pandemic planning. It includes a suggested approach and an opportunity to download their own Pandemic Plan as an example

 

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Your insurance policy wording may contain warranties on the cover we give you. The warranties on your policy are in place to help protect you from an incident occurring. It’s important that you continue operating in line with the warranty, especially during these uncertain times. 

You’re required to comply with your warranties as part of the terms of your insurance contract with us. However, we understand that some of the Government restrictions may mean that you could have trouble meeting your obligations for certain warranties in your insurance contract. We want to assure all of our customers that where we feel it is reasonable, we will offer flexibility on these warranties.

An example of how we are doing this is:

  • Poultry Warranties – normally we require inspections of electrical systems at least every 16 months. We’re now allowing up to 20 months between inspections if you’re unable to get an electrician to do the work in time. 

However, we would expect you to use reasonable endeavours to comply with your warranties whilst ensuring it is safe and practical to do so, especially where there is a legal / health and safety requirement. If in doubt, you should check for Government guidance on the relevant legislation so that you and your employees can remain safe.

The flexibility we are putting in place will be subject to change and reviewed as the Government restrictions change.

If you would like to discuss the warranties on your policy further, please contact your Local Agent or Mutual Direct.

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We welcome the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) action and support the intent to deliver clarity for customers. NFU Mutual has been contacted by the FCA about Business Interruption cover and we have been working with them and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to promote a quick resolution. 

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