Business insurance

The information below relates to business insurance policies issued by Hiscox and is correct as at 15 May 2020. 

If your client is  a Hiscox business insurance customer, you will no doubt have questions regarding their cover in relation to the impact of Coronavirus on their business.

At Hiscox we pride ourselves on our claims service and we will do everything we can to respond when a policy is triggered.

However, the core Business Interruption cover provided by our business insurance policies responds to physical property damage at the insured premises resulting in the business being unable to trade. Hiscox’s policies do not include diseases linked to pandemics such as Coronavirus due to the difficulty of insurers being able to quantify the potential risk.

Each claim is different and so the question of whether or not the policy affords cover will be determined by the circumstances of the claim and the terms and conditions set out in the policy documentation (including policy limits, excesses and any endorsements). In light of this, we have prepared a series of answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions we have received, set out below.  Should this not answer your question, please call us to discuss your client's policy and specific circumstances.

Through your Hiscox business insurance policy, your client may have access to legal and HR consultancy and support.  Please ask your client to refer to their  policy documentation for more information.

In addition, your client’s business may be eligible to benefit from the UK Government’s new financial measures to support businesses through this challenging period. They can  find out whether their business is eligible, and how they  may be able to benefit, athttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-Coronavirus/Coronavirus-support-for-businesses (external link)

In the meantime, we recommend that all our customers follow the latest Government guidance on Coronavirus https://www.gov.uk/Coronavirus (external link).

The Association of British Insurers has also published some information to help insurance customers – your clients can find answers to commonly asked questions at: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/Coronavirus-qa/(external link) (external link).

I still think I may have a claim, how do I get in touch?
If you’d like to discuss a business insurance Coronavirus claim, the best way of doing so is to speak to a member of the Hiscox team via their dedicated phone line: 01206 773 941.  Please note that their phone lines may be extremely busy at this time so please bear with them; they  will answer your call as quickly as possible.

Business Insurance FAQs for Policyholders (see sections below)

    Am I covered for my contents that my employees take home in order to work there?

    Generally, we give cover of up to £25,000 for contents other than laptops, tablets or mobile phones that are at employees’ homes.  Laptops, tablets or mobile phones can be covered under our Property Away and in Transit cover if you have chosen to take that additional cover.

    What happens if my premises are left unoccupied?

    We normally ask you to tell us if your property is going to be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.  Given the exceptional circumstances at the moment, we are extending this period to 90 days.  We recommend to shut off the water supply to the premises, and ensure that any measures to prevent thefts are taken, such as locking away equipment and setting intruder alarms.

    The core Business Interruption cover provided by our business insurance policies responds to physical property damage at the insured premises resulting in the business being unable to trade. Hiscox’s policies do not include diseases linked to pandemics such as Coronavirus due to the difficulty of insurers being able to quantify the potential risk.

    We have decided to voluntarily shut our business to protect the welfare of our employees. Are we covered?

    There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property.

    One or more of our employees is self-isolating or has gone to hospital as a result of an actual or suspected contraction of Coronavirus. We have decided to voluntarily shut our business. Are we covered?

    There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property.

    We are keeping our business open, but we are experiencing a reduction in custom and a subsequent loss of income/profit as a result of the Government’s social distancing advice relating to Coronavirus. Are we covered for these financial losses?

    There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property and a fall in income is not ‘interruption’.

    A property in the vicinity of our insured premises has closed due to an outbreak of Coronavirus at those premises. This has impacted our business and reduced our income and/or profit. Can we recover our losses under the policy because this nearby business has closed?

    There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property.

    My policy refers to action by Public Authorities or Non-Damage Denial of Access, does that mean I’m covered?

    Our policies provide cover where you are ordered not to use or to access your insured premises only following a small number of localised incidents.  As a result, you are not covered for general shut-downs ordered by the government.

    A supplier or customer has closed their business as a result of Coronavirus related issues and it has caused our business to suffer losses. Are we covered?

    There is no cover under your policy in these circumstances because there has been no ‘insured damage’ to property.

    I need to replace one of my key staff members due to illness to avoid a reduction in my turnover. My policy references key person cover – does this mean I can reclaim these costs?

    Keyperson cover applies to employees that satisfy the definition of ‘keyperson’ provided in your policy. For us to be able to accept  your claim, the illness would have to last longer than 28 days and result in the key person being totally prevented from working for that entire period in the opinion of a medical provider approved by us.

    My employees are working from home due to recent government guidance, will they be covered by my insurance policy?

    If you currently purchase employer’s liability cover for your business, then you don’t need to worry – this will extend to cover them while they are working from home during this period.

    An employee has alleged that I have acted negligently and, as a result, they have contracted Coronavirus at work. Does my employers’ liability insurance cover this?

    We will assist  you and accept your claim if such a claim is made,  subject to the terms of your policy. The safety of your employees should be paramount with all Government guidance and restrictions followed.

    Do I still require employers’ liability (EL) insurance for my furloughed employees?

    We are not able to give formal guidance on this topic, but our understanding is that any business which remains operational will still have a legal requirement for EL. This is due to a number of reasons, but principally because the requirement to have and maintain EL is driven by the status of the employer, not the employee. You may wish to contact your broker for more formal guidance on this. 

    My policy references personal accident cover, including illness. Does that mean we are covered if my employees become ill due to Coronavirus?

    To allow us to accept your claim, the illness would have to last longer than the ‘minimum absence period’ (typically 14 days, but please check your documents) and prevent the employee from being able to carry out their usual occupation.

    Please refer to the Travel section.

    I need to consider redundancies due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. How does my management liability – employment practices liability policy help protect me?

    Given the actions taken by the Government, it is hoped that the need to consider redundancies will be a rarity but, where you do have to consider them, be sure to seek professional guidance so that the matter is approached sensibly and in-line with employment law.

    If, at a later stage, you were to receive complaints etc. relating to how the dismissal was handled (e.g. an allegation of unfair dismissal) then subject to its terms, your policy may respond; do not admit any liability or make offers and be sure to notify us promptly so that we can explore whether the specific scenario is covered. Please be sure to familiarise yourself with your obligations around notification (as detailed in your policy documents).

    Does my professional indemnity policy give me any protection from the Coronavirus pandemic?

    Professional indemnity principally provides cover for claims where a client of yours is seeking damages against you (e.g. allegations of negligence or breach of contract) for a breach of duty in the provision of your business activities. The activities will vary depending on your business, but could include the likes of delivering goods by a certain date or designing a new software platform for a customer. However, the facts of each case will have to be considered separately.

    Please refer to the Cyber section.

    I have crisis containment cover on my policy. How does this benefit me in light of the Coronavirus pandemic?

    If you have already made a claim then our crisis containment service may be relevant to you. This will depend on the circumstances of your claim and the claims underwriter will flag if it is relevant (but do not hesitate to ask specifically about it when logging a claim, if you wish).