Supporting you during the COVID-19 pandemic
Last updated: 18 January 2021
As the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are felt across the globe, our top priorities as a business are the wellbeing of our employees and their families, and ensuring we continue to support and deliver the highest level of service to our customers.
Our Emergency Management Group is continually meeting and reviewing guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UK and Irish Governments and our parent company, Munich Re.
This group is addressing active and ongoing disease surveillance, workforce protection and management, supply chain management and risks, travel and facility access restrictions, and quarantine measures as defined in our Business Continuity Plan.
The senior management team and Board of Directors of HSB take the COVID-19 threat seriously, and we want to assure you that we are prepared for a broad range of potential scenarios. We also want to reassure you that we continue to operate our business as usual.
Maintaining business as usual - here’s what we are doing
Our customer service teams remain committed to providing an uninterrupted service to our customers. All our office-based teams (including Business Development, E-Trade, Underwriting and Claims) are now working remotely. They have the technology and resources to ensure that it is business as usual, as far as it is possible, during these challenging times.
- All our customer service teams are available to help you with your new business and renewal enquiries.
- Our Claims team are available to support all first notice of loss and claims enquiries.
- Our e-trade solutions via HSB Fast Track and Acturis continue to be available to support our brokers and intermediaries with online trading for our insurance products.
- All office phones have been diverted to mobiles, so customers can continue to speak to their usual HSB contact.
- All emails are being dealt with in the usual manner.
- All our employees have access to conferencing facilities, so are able to conduct meetings and customer appointments virtually
- We are operating our inspection services across the UK and Ireland, where we are able to do so, in line with the restrictions set by the UK and Irish governments, and in accordance with the guidance issued by the HSE, HSA and SAFed:
- In the UK, we continue to provide inspection services to all customers. We work to the highest levels of compliance, with risk assessments completed for each site on the day of inspection. Our inspections are in line with guidance from the HSE on Coronavirus.
- In Ireland, we are providing inspection services to all customers where possible. We work to the highest levels of compliance, with risk assessments completed for each site on the day of inspection. Our Inspections are in line with guidance from the HSA on Coronavirus.
- Our engineering customer support teams are available to help you with inspection enquiries.
- All our engineers are contacting customers due for inspections to discuss requirements.
How you can help us?
Here are some things you can do to help us to facilitate plant and equipment examinations at your premises, and ensure you meet your statutory inspection requirements:
- Contact us if you need to book your inspection by emailing our Engineering Business Support team, quoting your inspection contract number, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Provide us with alternative site contact details. This will enable us to organise the inspection if we can’t reach our normal contact. Please send your alternative contact information, quoting your inspection contract number, to our Engineering Business Support team at email@example.com.
- Allow us safe access to your premises (using the relevant official health and safety guidelines).
Important information: if you are reopening your business premises, please complete our online form.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance to us. Steps being taken to keep our colleagues safe include the following:
- All our office-based teams are working remotely.
- All our engineer surveyors delivering statutory inspections in the UK and Ireland are checking the risk status of customer premises before they visit, and are being provided with the appropriate PPE equipment to enable them to safely work at customer locations.
- All employees with underlying health issues, or who are in an identified risk group, have identified themselves; so we can manage their work situation.
- We continue to communicate best practices for protecting employee health and ensuring the continued wellbeing of our employees.
The Supreme Court’s decision in the Financial Conduct Authority business interruption insurance test case
On 15 January 2021, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment on the appeal to the High Court’s decision in the FCA business interruption (BI) insurance test case.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sought to obtain court declarations as part of a test case in the UK High Court, with the aim of providing some clarity and certainty for insurers and policyholders involved in disputes over non-damage BI cover. Many businesses had made claims under their respective BI insurance policies to recover their financial losses arising from the closure of their premises as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The High Court’s judgment last September resolved most of the key issues but, because insurers and the FCA were unable to reach agreement on a number of the outstanding issues, the parties decided to make 'leapfrog' appeals to the Supreme Court (thereby bypassing the Court of Appeal) for a final binding decision.
The Supreme Court judgment is complex, runs to 112 pages and deals with many issues. On the whole, the Supreme Court substantially upheld the FCA’s main grounds of appeal and rejected the appeals made by insurers of the High Court decision. A more detailed overview of the judgment can be accessed on the FCA website, at: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/supreme-court-judgment-business-interruption-insurance-test-case.
HSB was not a party to the test case proceedings. The issues surrounding BI policies are often complex, especially with various differing versions of wordings and covers provided across the insurance market. Therefore, any claim will be very much depend on its own individual facts as to whether or not cover is triggered. In this regard, HSB will look to apply any guidance and clarity provided by the Supreme Court, to the extent that it is relevant to any of the limited BI covers we provide in respect of the machinery and equipment that we insure.
If you do feel that you have a potentially valid claim under a HSB policy in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, we would ask that you make a claim through your insurance broker, including the provision of any relevant information in support, so that we can give full consideration to the individual facts of your case. Your insurance broker should be able to assist you if you have any particular queries in this regard.
Where can I find further information and updates about the test case?
Further information and updates on the latest status of the test case can be found on the FCA website at: https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/business-interruption-insurance
Policyholders may also wish to subscribe directly for regular email updates from the FCA which can be requested by completing the form accessed on the FCA website at: https://www.fca.org.uk/sign-business-interruption-bi-insurance-email-updates
Finally, information issued by the Financial Ombudsman Service for consumers and small businesses relating to the test case and its approach to complaints can be found on the Financial Ombudsman Service website at: https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/businesses/complaints-deal/complaints/coronavirus-covid-19-information-businesses