At this time, our thoughts are very much with the healthcare professionals we work with and their colleagues. We are, and will be forever grateful to those that are helping to combat this pandemic.
As your broker we are committed to continue to provide updates regarding your Practice insurance. Even though the following isn’t really new information, we feel it is important to be honest and transparent, especially at a time where there is so much potential misinformation.
Further to our update in March, the situation regarding policy cover has not particularly changed, based on our ongoing reviews.
Your Practice insurance policy is extremely unlikely to cover lost income, if a business needs to close as a result of Covid-19 (or suffers a general downturn in business), regardless of whether the closure is specific to the practice, on a wider scale due to government advice, or otherwise.
This is echoed by communications from the vast majority of insurance providers and not exclusive to our policies.
- The main intention of the Business Interruption section of commercial insurance is to cover the losses in income (or profit), following physical damage to your premises.
- In addition, many policies (including the products we arrange) cover some very specific outbreaks (such as legionnaires emanating from the water supply within a building). The intention of such extensions is generally to cover diseases which develop within the premises, or nearby.
- Insurance companies have not priced their policies to include pandemic cover, and as such do not have the reserves to cover what is likely to be hundreds of billions of pounds in losses, across the economy. The overall concept of insurance is to pool the money from the many, to cover the losses of the few, rather than to cover the losses of the whole economy. This is one of the reasons why the government has stepped in to help businesses, to the extent they see possible to date.
Having said this, our main objective is to support our clients. Although most of our teams are now working from home, we are fully operational and we are here to help.
We appreciate that you may still want to register your intent to make a claim. We will always do everything we possibly can to enable a fair outcome to claims. The insurers will assess such claims and give a formal response, although to manage expectation, this may take some time due to the volume of enquiries.
To notify a claim please contact us directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org providing:
- Your policy number.
- Information regarding the reason why you have closed your practice, and the date of closure. Alternatively, if you have not closed your practice, but have experienced a significant reduction in income, please provide details.
- Confirmation of your contact information.
Alongside supporting you and doing whatever we can to assist, we will continue to keep a watching brief on how insurers tackle their approach to pandemic outbreaks in the future. The industry is in the early stages of reviewing the feasibility of a solution and we will update you if anything develops.
Clearly, at this time, there are very low levels of patient contact, so this section of the Practice Insurance policy is of less relevance.
Nevertheless, in relation to Public Liability and Employers Liability insurance, there is no exclusion relating to Covid-19. The policy would help to defend the practice if there were allegations of causing a patient, or employee, to contract Coronavirus. As usual, this is subject to the terms and conditions of policies, including an exclusion relating to liability during the provision of treatment.
However, in order to pay damages, the practice would have to be proven negligent in some way, before any such claim could be considered under the policy.
Also please note that in situations where healthcare professionals are redeployed to work elsewhere in the NHS, then liability cover may pass to the NHS, under the Coronavirus Act 2020.
For those clients who have cover under the Practice Insurance scheme we have with Zurich Insurance plc, we can confirm that the normal unoccupied buildings conditions will not apply during this period.
We recommend the following risk management measures:
- Remove unnecessary waste
- Ensure alarms (if you have them) and locks are fully operational
- Fire doors are kept closed
- Switch off any non-essential electrical devices
- Turn off the water supply to the practice if possible
- Conduct remote risk assessments for those working from home and ensure any business equipment is secure
- Inspect the premises weekly (where possible) – ensuring you comply with social distancing rules
Understandably, we continue to experience high volumes of calls relating to this topic, so we hope this further helps to explain the situation during this unprecedented time.
We will provide further updates if anything significant changes.
With very best wishes,
The Lloyd & Whyte Team