No sector has been affected more than the hospitality & leisure sector by the impact of Coronavirus. While there is still no confirmed date for the easing of the lockdown for pubs, restaurants, hotels or tourist attractions there are shimmers of hope on the horizon from across Europe. We spoke with Jon Preston, an expert on hospitality insurance, about some of the important issues business owners should be considering.
It is an incredibly difficult time for the hospitality & leisure industry at the moment, but as we move into the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions should those working in the hospitality & leisure industry be reviewing their insurance cover?
“Yes, now more than ever. It is very important to review insurance covers to make sure that their policy reflects what is going on with their business at the moment. As an example, it could be that a number of businesses have diversified, offering different services such as delivery or take-away. It’s worth checking that their insurers are aware of those activities and that their insurance policy is providing cover for those activities. So yes, we recommend checking on issues like that.”
What about businesses that have reduced their trading activities? Can they get any reduction in premium or anything like that?
“Yes, absolutely. Certainly, most businesses will have had closed fully or partially for a substantial period. Going forward even when open again they will likely be operating on a reduced scale. So it’s important that you make your insurer aware of your reduced turnover and wage role because in most cases that is going to be reflected in the premium that is charged.
“So, whether it is mid-term in your insurance contract and certainly when you are arranging renewal, make sure your insurer is aware of your reduced turnover and wage figures to ensure that they take that into account when calculating their renewal premiums, or even potentially offering rebates from the your current year of cover.”
“What I would also add is if you’re struggling to pay your insurance premiums at the moment, due to the impact of Coronavirus and the lockdown, speak to your broker or your insurer. The Financial Conduct Authority have produced some guidelines for insurers to follow to assist policyholders as much as possible in the current climate; deferred or rescheduled payments may be available. So yes, I would recommend that, if you are struggling with those premium payments, speak to your broker or your insurer to see what assistance might be available.”
Are there any other points regarding insurance that people should be looking out for?
“Make sure that you are fully aware of any restrictions applying to your cover or any specific requirements that might be applying, now we are two months into the lockdown. For example, most insurers have standard unoccupancy terms of 30 days.
“Due to the pandemic, allowances were made that extended those, in many cases, to either 60 or 90 days. So we are now at a stage where, if you’re still not trading from your premises you need to check your policy and understand if there are any additional restrictions or responsibilities placed upon you. For example, enhanced security measures may be required, or specific requirements regarding utility supplies and physical checking of the property etc. It’s worth checking on that and making sure you’re aware of those requirements and that you can comply to ensure your insurance cover remains valid.
“I would say if you feel that they’re unreasonable or you can’t comply with certain aspects, speak to your broker or your insurer and who will be able to discuss your individual circumstances and should provide assistance in the current situation of imposed closures.”
Unoccupied properties come with increased risks; are there other risk factors, or risk issues, that people should consider?
“It is crucial that they’re considering and implementing the necessary COVID-19 Health and Safety arrangements for their business going forward. The government have issued basic guidelines for businesses to follow which include considerations on things like social distancing, PPE, managing your work, etc. I appreciate that this can all be quite daunting for a business, especially if you’re a small business, but you’ve got to put in place these new arrangements.
“I would also recommend that if you feel that you need more tailored help and advice I would suggest talking to the team at Alan Boswell Risk Management, who would be pleased to assist you further on those issues.
“It’s quite a complex new world we’re entering into and while risk management has always been a very important part of any businesses this is just highlighting the importance of getting it right.”
Alan Boswell Group provide hospitality insurance throughout the UK. If you would like to talk to someone about your insurance requirements please call us on 01603 218000 or click here for more details.