The last year has brought about a change in lifestyle for many people. With so many people spending more time at home, home insurance needs have changed. As a result, we have made a number of changes to the Hiscox 606 Home Insurance policy to better reflect the different circumstances people find themselves in. From Covid-19 related additions, to simplifications of existing cover, our revised 606 policy can ensure that your clients continue to receive comprehensive home insurance throughout the rest of lockdown and beyond.
The key changes
Tim Slattery, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Hiscox, says that part of the reason for making these changes is to help ensure that your clients receive the cover they need for these changing times. But it’s also about raising awareness about the cover that’s already included in our 606 policy that they might not be aware of.
“People have understandably had a lot to think about over the last year, and so maybe insurance hasn’t been at the front of their minds,” he says. “But it’s a really important thing to have. People are in their houses all the time. That creates much more opportunity for things to break, or for red wine to spill on the carpet, or for kids to break things like iPads.”
The Hiscox 606 policy is an ‘all-risks’ insurance policy, whereby everything is covered except for specifically excluded areas. “We’re aiming to give your clients peace of mind,” says Tim. “We want to remove as much stress and worry from your clients’ lives as possible so far as home insurance goes.”
With so many people working from home, one of the main areas of concern has been broadband. The strain on the nation’s broadband services has increased, with data by Openreach suggesting that 2020 saw broadband usage double on the previous year. Home broadband services that previously saw most of their usage in the evenings are now experiencing round the clock demand. And as a result, some broadband services have struggled to meet demand. At the same time, users who are working from home can’t afford to have a faulty service interrupt their jobs.
“If your clients broadband provider fails to provide a service for more than 24 hours, we will look to cover your client for any additional costs they might incur in order to work from home,” says Tim. For example, this could include use of mobile data that can sometimes be expensive. Similarly, once lockdown is over, if your client has to go to a café and use their Wi-Fi for most of the day in order to work, they may be covered for the cost necessary to access that wifi. “It’s about getting your clients back up and running as quickly as possible,” says Tim.
As part of our 606 cover, Hiscox has always provided your clients with alternative accommodation in the event of them needing to move out due to significant damage under a claim making their home unliveable in. But now, with the increased need to work from home, alternative accommodation cover has been extended to ensure that people get like-for-like home office facilities (such as a study if that’s what you have in your home) at their alternative accommodation too.
Some of your clients may also own second homes that they’ve been unable to visit because of lockdown. They may worry that something has gone wrong and they might not be able to check. Our revised 606 policy can ensure that second homes are also covered. Tim says: “People might not know if there’s a burst pipe or if there’s been a burglary at a second home.”
Another change to the 606 policy is around commuting. Some people have sought alternative modes of transport. While e-scooters aren’t currently allowed to be ridden in the UK by law, the sharp rise in sales (Halfords reported that sales had tripled in 2020) and some recent major accidents means they may be regulated in the not-too-distant future. As a result, Hiscox can provide cover both for damage to the e-scooters themselves, as well as any accidents, if the law changes.
One of the biggest changes we’ve made to the 606 policy is around new purchases. Our 606 policy now provides a free 25% uplift facility on contents, jewellery and art cover for new acquisitions bought during the policy period. At the end of the policy term, if your clients choose to renew their policy, they will need to inform you about any new purchases so that the items are listed from renewal onwards in the event of a claim. In the meantime, “It gives your clients protection throughout the year and removes the admin burden of having to call us every time they make a purchase,” says Tim.
This year has seen very little travel take place and a lot of people have had to cancel their holidays because of the pandemic. But, as things open up in the coming months, people may become more eager to venture out.
Our annual travel policy add-on has been revised to include Covid-19 cover as standard. That means your clients can go abroad safe in the knowledge that their policy can cover them for cancellation, curtailment and medical expenses that arise as a result of the pandemic.
“Your clients can plan ahead and book their trips in the knowledge they’ve got comprehensive cover. Should they need to cancel a trip because of Covid-19, then we will refund them any money spent.” says Tim. “And if they need medical assistance while overseas, then we will also cover the cost of that.”
Beyond the pandemic
Hopefully the end is in sight for lockdown: certainly, there appears to be a glimmer of light on the horizon. But life has changed dramatically over the last year, and with many people getting accustomed to working from their homes, this lifestyle may continue after lockdown ends. It’s important that policyholders know that the changes to the Hiscox 606 Home Insurance policy will remain beyond lockdown, says Tim. “I’m sure that in the future, many people will want to strike the balance of working from home and in the office. I think a lot of the changes to home insurance needs, will stay as a result. And that’s why the changes we’ve made to our 606 product will stay in place after lockdown ends.”
There are a whole range of additional changes to the 606 policy, including a simplification of the personal cyber coverage, that you can explore further for your clients here.