The coronavirus is affecting all of us and we are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic in a number of ways.
These are incredibly difficult times for individuals and businesses affected by Covid-19. Many of our customers have experienced the cancellation of travel plans or events, or interruption to their businesses.
Where our policies cover these events, we are handling claims swiftly and fairly. We have already paid out on a full or interim basis to many customers, and continue to process new claims daily.
As the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said, most UK small business policies across the industry do not cover pandemics. The FCA is liaising with the insurance industry on this issue, and is seeking to obtain an independent declaratory judgment from the High Court which will help to provide certainty to business insurance customers.
When we receive a claim, we review every case carefully as individual circumstances and the cover purchased by each customer do vary. If any customer has concerns about the application of their policy we encourage them to get in touch with us directly.
Should a customer raise a complaint, this will be reviewed in line with our usual, robust and fair complaints procedure. Insurance customers also have accessible and effective resolution mechanisms available to them – including the Financial Ombudsman Service or arbitration – that they can use for independent review of their case and we will of course assist them in doing that.
We continue to do what we can to support our customers, such as:
- Dedicated Covid-19 claims line – 01206 773941.
- Extending cover as standard for extra office equipment that customers may be using for home working.
- Automatic cover extensions for motor insurance customers undertaking volunteer work. Motor insurance customers who are self-isolating or fall ill and require additional drivers to be covered on their car insurance can also do so for no additional premium.
- Waiving 30 day cancellation period for commercial insurance policyholders.
- Providing options for customers who may be experiencing payment difficulties due to a reduction in turnover.
- Premium refunds for event insurance customers, for events due to be held between 16 March and 30 June.
- An additional 30 days of cover provided to our travel insurance customers that may be unable to end their trip as originally planned, including cover for medical expenses throughout this 30 day period.
- Extended notification period if a property is left unoccupied for home insurance customers from 30 to 90 days with no additional terms applying, and no impact on standard policy coverage for clients whose second homes are unoccupied due to travel restrictions, provided their property is left heated.
- Coronavirus Help & Support
- Additional Coronavirus (Covid-19) Resources
Over 95% of our 3,500 staff around the world are working from home. We have adapted well to remote working and remain contactable on the usual telephone numbers and email addresses.
Where we can, we’re reorganising ourselves with more people providing frontline support to customers, to help with the increased call volumes we are experiencing. Treating our customers swiftly and fairly is our top priority, and we are resourcing accordingly.
We’re not furloughing any of our employees, and we’re not accessing any of the UK Government’s support schemes. We have committed to stand by each one of our dedicated employees by retaining all current roles during this time.
We have also suspended 2020 dividend payments and have not paid Executive bonuses.
As a Group, Hiscox has pledged over $7 million to support the global response to Covid-19. Our contribution is focused on supporting our existing charity partners as well as specific vulnerable groups affected by this crisis.
In the UK, we have donated to a range of good causes including the Trussell Trust, the Royal Voluntary Service, St John Ambulance and vulnerable groups via Age UK, Action for Children and Insurance United Against Dementia. These efforts are echoed in other parts of the Hiscox Group, where for example we have funded ventilators for hospitals in Guernsey and Bermuda, and supported the Red Cross in Spain.
Hiscox is also working with the rest of the insurance industry, including the Association of British Insurers, to identify where it can direct financial support that will have the most impact.
This is not the first time we have worked through challenging times. Hiscox is an A rated business with a stable outlook according to rating agency S&P, and we have these ratings because we are able to withstand significant events. In 2019, we paid out $1.2 billion in claims around the world, and we stand ready to continue to serve our customers and business partners.