Supreme Court, Covid-19 Business Interruption Judgment, What Does It Mean?

The Hearing

On the 15th of January, The Supreme Court handed down it’s judgement on the high profile FCA Covid-19 Business Interruption Test Case Appeal.

This followed previous hearings at the High Court and the Commercial Courts.

This judgement is the result of the four day hearing that started on November 16 after six insurers – Arch Insurance, Argenta, Hiscox, MS Amlin, RSA, and QBE UK and a policyholder action group joined the FCA on the appeal, which seeks to clarify whether policy wordings cover the Business Interruption caused by the nationwide coronavirus lockdown last March.

What was discussed

The hearing spent a lot of time discussing the nuances of the Business Interruption sections of the above companies wordings. This included: Causation, Aggregation, Triggers, Hybrid and Prevention of Access Clauses, Quantum, Separate Occurrences and much more.

My intention is not to list the discussions or findings, as this would be a very long post. I want to provide some simple guidance for customers who are unsure what it all means.

What does this mean for your business? 

Can I now make a claim or have a previous declined claim overturned? – If you are insured by one of the companies mentioned, and you have an actual loss, then maybe. I say maybe because all claims are individual and without knowing your personal circumstances, it is hard to comment on your potential success of claiming. Also, not all of the wordings for the Insurers listed have been overturned.

The way your claims are calculated may have been effected too. If you have a successful claim you may find that some of the clauses used to reduce the awarded amounts have been overturned.

My companies profits were unaffected, can I still claim? – No. Despite what the press may lead you to believe, this is not the same as the PPI Complaints. There is no suggestion of mis-selling. If you have not made a loss you will not be able to make a claim.

My Insurers were not listed, does this mean they now have to pay up? – The test cases looked at a broad section of policy wordings meant to show a good cross section of all policies. Of all the policy wordings looked at, only wordings of the Insurers listed were overturned. If you have had a claim declined by another insurer its highly unlikely their decision has changed.

Can I protect my Business against a future Pandemic?– ‘Pandemic Cover’ or cover intended to indemnify against this kind of situation, has only really been available for very large companies and carries very large premiums. Chances are that if SME Insurers did offer it as an extension (before we all knew what a ‘Global Pandemic’ looked like) the take up would have been very minimal as the premiums would have been so high.

Even Insurers who’s wordings were already robust enough to protect their intentions, have now added even more specific ‘Pandemic’ type clauses, so it is highly unlikely you will be able to protect your business against these types of losses in the future.

Summary

Insurance policies are a contract in which Insurers set out pre agreed intentions of what losses they will and will not pay for as a result of specific occurrences.

The vast majority of SME policies were very clear about their intentions to exclude cover for such an event as this – this includes the Insurers under scrutiny. The difference for the policies discussed in the Supreme Court hearing is that although their intentions were noted, it was thought the words they used were effectively not clear enough, this left them exposed to pay for losses they did not really intend to cover against.

What Next?

The FCA have issued this full list of policy wording sections discussed and also a ‘Dear CEO Letter’ to further explain the situation.

If you feel that you may have had a claim declined that now should be upheld or you now feel that you should make a claim, we suggest you should speak to your Broker or Insurers quickly. The FCA has said that Insurers should not penalise you for making a late claim, but we feel that your window for opportunity may be small.

As a small business our selves we know how difficult this last year has been and we are pleased that some companies have been handed a life line, albeit against their Insurer’s intentions.

If you are not sure if you can claim or if you would like us to look over your existing covers, please contact Church Side Insurance on info@onyx.email or 01623 650232

Author: Dean Parrish of Onyx Brokers Ltd, these views are personal interpretation as a result of seeking professional advice but are not necessarily the views of Onyx Brokers Ltd


Can Your Business Afford Not To Have Private Health Cover?

Will employee absence hurt your profits?

If you’re a small business, having just one of your employees off work can seriously impact your company and your profits. Especially if that employee is a key member of staff or they’re off for a prolonged period of time and have to wait for the medical treatment they need.

Private health cover is designed to cover the costs of private medical treatment for curable, short-term illnesses or injuries, generally covering in-patient and day-patient treatment as well as eligible out-patient treatment. This could help your employees to return to work quickly.

Solutions from Aviva provides flexible private health cover for companies just like yours, helping to protect your you and your employees and keep your profits healthy.

The cost without private health cover

Official statistics show that UK employees are absent due to sickness for around 4.1 days each year1. With median full time earnings at £569 per week2 on a 5-day working week, this equates to £466.58 in ‘lost’ salaries.

For a company with a team of 50, this means 205 days lost and £23,329 in salaries.

This shows just how important it is to manage absence within your business. Covering your employees with Solutions means that they could get back to work quicker after injury or illness, saving you money and making your business more productive.

It’s also why we include the BacktoBetter service as standard on Solutions, as this can lead to an even quicker recovery time for your employees with back, neck joint or muscle pain – getting them back to work even faster.

The key benefits and services of private health  cover from Aviva

Quicker treatment – You and your staff members will be assured of prompt access to treatment when they need it, without having to worry about NHS waiting lists. Members of our health policies can schedule treatment to suit themselves, adapting to business or social demands as necessary.

BacktoBetter – Whenever you or one of your members get an ache or pain in the back, neck, muscles or joints, BacktoBetter can help. Solutions includes access to BacktoBetter, an independent clinical case management service for back, neck, muscle or joint pain (musculoskeletal conditions). It gives members access to a clinical case manager who’ll help guide them down the right treatment pathway.

A valuable employee benefit – Private health cover is a highly valued employee benefit. Arranging cover for your employees, and possibly their families, will help you attract and retain the best staff for your business.

Easy to set up and administer– To be accepted or transferred over to our private health cover policies there is no need for a medical examination. We aim to make setting up, administering and claiming as easy as possible for our customers.

Added value benefits

Solutions includes a number of additional benefits at no extra charge.

Aviva Digital GP – For video consultations with NHS-registered GPs, repeat NHS prescriptions and much more. Aviva
Digital GP is powered by Now Healthcare Group. Aviva Digital GP is available to residents of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at home or abroad. Residents of the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man are not eligible for this service. Terms and conditions apply.

A 24 hour stress counselling helpline – Experienced counsellors are there when members want to talk about a personal or professional issue that’s causing them distress. This benefit is available to members aged 16 and over.

Up to 25% off gym membership – Solutions also offers up to 25% off membership fees at some of the UK’s leading health and fitness clubs. Terms and conditions apply.

MyAviva – bringing together the products that help our customers protect their health, loved ones, future and possessions in one secure and simple-to-use online place. With a whole host of benefits at their fingertips, members can:
● Start a new claim or update us on an existing one
● check policy information, including cover and benefit details
● view their claims summary, update us on the next stages of their treatment and track the bills paid against their claim
● keep track of their excess and out-patient benefits (if applicable)
● Live Chat directly to one of our claims team without having to pick up the phone
● enjoy an existing customer discount on selected new Aviva products. Terms and conditions apply. Discount can be amended or removed at any time prior to taking out the new product
● download our app to view their policies on the go. MyAviva is safe, secure and tailored to use on all devices.

Solutions from Aviva is flexible enough to fit any business – whether your company has 2 or 249 employees. It’s  designed to pay for the treatment of acute (short-term, curable) conditions that occur after you’ve taken out the policy. It won’t cover for treatment of chronic or pre-existing conditions. However, there may be an element of cover depending on the cover and underwriting selected.

How does Solutions work?

● Start with core cover, providing prompt access to eligible treatment as an in-patient,day-patient or out-patient, including BacktoBetter, an independent clinical case management service for back, neck, muscle or joint pain (musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions)
● You can then choose to bolt on up to 4 extra cover options: mental health treatment, routine and GP referred services, extended hospital list, and dental and optical cover. If you add any of these options, your premium will increase.
● You can also select up to 4 options to reduce your premium, from a member excess, 6 week option, reduced hospital list or selected benefit reduction.
● Adapt the level of cover for up to three different groups of employees, reflecting the needs of each group and helping to make private health cover more affordable and a better fit for your business.
● There are a number of exclusions which may vary depending on the options you choose.

For more information on how Solutions can work for your business and for a more detailed explanation of the cover it provides, including all the benefits, exclusions, terms and conditions please contact Church Side Insurance on info@onyx.email or 01623 650232

If You or your business already enjoys the cover Private Medal Insurance can provide…Could we improve your cover or save you some money on your renewal price?


Have The Changes To Your Business Affected Your Insurance Cover?

At Church Side Insurance we have been so proud of how our Commercial Customers have adapted and re-invented their businesses to survive and in a lot of cases thrive in these uncertain times.

The people of Mansfield and the surrounding areas have shown true grit in the face of adversity and found new ways to trade and look after their customers.

Has the fundamental day to day operation of your business changed in order to adapt?  If so, does your Insurance cover still protect you in the way it should?

Here are a few things to take into consideration which may affect your current Insurance:

  • Are your Business Premises unoccupied for lengths of time greater than your policy will allow?
  • If you are working from home, is your current Home Insurance provider aware and happy to continue cover? Is your Business Equipment and or Stock covered whilst at home?
  • If you are a Landlord, has your property become unoccupied or has the type of tenant changed? Does new legislation mean that you are now non-compliant?
  • Are you employing more/less people than you did before? Are you or your staff carrying out different duties than before?
  • Has the Health and Safety needs of your Business changed? If so, are your staff aware of the new risks?
  • Are you importing from or selling to different countries, or have the volumes you are importing or selling changed?
  • Are you selling different items or providing completely different services than you did before?
  • Are all your vehicles still in use? Have you employed new drivers who might not meet policy criteria?
  • Have your opening hours changed? Are you open less days of the week than before?

The answers to these and other questions could deem your insurance invalid or could result in an additional or even return premium.

We would advise you to discuss any changes to your business with your Insurance provider, just to be on the safe side.

If you need to find alternative Insurance, or if you would like a second opinion on your current cover, please get in touch.  We would be happy to help:

info@onyx.email or 01623 650232


First Time Landlords on The Rise

From accidental landlords to those wanting to embark on buy-to-let as a business, renting out property can be extremely rewarding, and that may be why new figures suggest that an increasing number of first-time buyers are looking to invest in the buy-to-let market.

Fresh data provided by Legal & General shows that searches for its SmartrCriteria tool designed for first-time buyer, first-time landlord, and non-owner occupier have increased by 18% since the start of September.

There has also been a notable increase in searches for holiday lets.

Demand from expat and foreign investors also remains strong, according to Legal & General.

Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts commented: “Despite the impact of coronavirus, we are seeing rising demand across the housing market with buy to let in particular enjoying a mini-boom.

“Our latest findings from SmartrCriteria suggest a growing number of first-time buyers are searching for mortgages for buy-to-let ventures, including those engaging with the growing trend towards staycations this year.

“Amidst this continued high demand we are seeing in the mortgage market, borrowers are turning to independent advisers to help them with their plans and these experts are playing a vital role for consumers.

“There have been thousands of criteria changes since the lockdown and mortgage advisers are supporting seasoned property investors, first-time landlords and other buyers to find lenders and products that meet their needs.”

If you are a Newbie Landlord or a Seasoned Property Owner with a large portfolio, making sure you have the right  Insurance in place is just as important. 

At Church Side Insurance we can help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of Landlords Insurance.

Call or email us on 01623 65023 or info@onyx.email, we will be happy to help compare your current covers or give you your first  Landlords quote.

We can also introduce you to trusted Mortgage Advisors and Letting agents that we have used ourselves

report found at ladlordtoday.co.uk