As we said last week, these are truly unprecedented times and there is no immediate end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re now seeing shops closing their doors along with the pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas.
Those planning to head to the countryside to self-isolate or enjoy the sunshine we’re currently experiencing are being urged not to – and to help with this, many campsites, caravan parks, self-catering cottages are closing their doors and cancelling bookings. Bed and Breakfast operations and hotels are also following suit in a bid to support the Government’s request that we stay at home.
We’re all having to make significant changes to our lifestyles and daily habits – both in our home and work lives, to protect ourselves, our loved ones and allow the NHS to provide the care to those that need it.
All of us at FOCUS are committed to providing support to our clients during this time as the daily announcements made by the Government bring new questions regarding insurance cover.
At present, the office is operating pretty much as normal. We are now all set up to work from home should the need arise and carrying out the final tests as we speak. If we need to close the office, our direct line numbers and email addresses will put you in touch with the team. And of course, we’ll keep you updated if anything changes.
With regards to coronavirus and insurance related questions, there are no simple “across the board” answers. The two key areas we’re being asked about are business interruption and travel cover. We are available to talk to you as individuals about your own specific policies and the cover you have.
As the Government set out at the bottom of their Support for Businesses guidance, businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
We’re here to answer questions about the policies we’ve arranged for you.
And it’s not just about the insurance you already have in place. With regards to future travel plans, it is vital that travel insurance is taken out at the time your booking (and usually payment is made).
There is a lot of mis-information on the internet and social media and so we continue to urge everyone to seek guidance from reputable sources – and the Gov.UK site should be your starting point.
This week also sees the start of our children being at home instead of school, which can add additional pressures to family life.
But there are positives shining through all of this. Many communities are putting support networks in place to help those in need. Local shops are offering grocery deliveries and neighbours are assisting with dog-walking, prescription collections and a host of other helping hands. This means that more and more of us are getting to know those in our community and creating a positive local environment.
On a much wider scale, scientists are reporting considerable drops in air pollution – and in Venice, the canals are now full of aquatic life.
There are all sorts of free activities being provided online – from free audio books, PE classes and many activities that the family can get involved in.
During this period, we will continue to provide you with helpful and relevant information with articles to cover topics such as help for those with mortgages and those that are renting, as well as the insurance and cyber risk implications that need to be considered when working from home.
We will continue to keep you updated with any changes at FOCUS and also to bring you useful information, help and support.