COVID-19 updates

Cover during difficult times (updated)

In light of the changing situation and the most recent government advice about the outbreak of COVID-19, we have reviewed our position to ensure we can continue to help and support you at this difficult time and to provide you with some additional advice and support.

Employees working from home

We understand that the employees of our customers may be working from home, like our own.
 
With that in mind, we would like to remind our customers that most of our charity, faith and commercial products provide an extension for property temporarily away from the premises. Where we provide cover for contents, this includes property held by an employee at their home, under the Temporary Removal of Contents extension.  The amount we cover is usually £2,500 or £5,000 depending on the policy you have bought.  
 
This cover is not available under our Charity Protect, Small Charity Connect, Community Group Connect or Event Connect products.  However, if you have All Risks then this will cover such property at the home of an employee.  

Unoccupied properties

As more and more employees are working from home, and no longer at the insured buildings, you may be concerned that the policy will regard your buildings as unoccupied, untenanted, empty or disused and your cover then restricted.  
 
For an initial period up to and including the 30th June 2020, we will withhold the: 
• restrictive policy cover for unoccupancy, and 
• policy General Condition that requires you to inform us of the buildings being, or expected to be, unoccupied 
should your employees be forced to work from home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 
 
However, if your building is no longer occupied this represents a greater risk of significant damage which could delay your organisation getting back up and running, once the current COVID-19 outbreak has passed.
 
With this in mind we would advise, where you are able to do so safely and within the current government guidelines, you try to ensure that:
 
1. the buildings are inspected internally and externally by an authorised person once a week to check the security and general condition of the premises;
2. all waste, refuse and other disused combustible materials is cleared from the buildings and any grounds adjacent to it;
3. all external doors must be securely locked and all opening windows closed and locked (where fitted with locking devices);
4. all tanks and pipes must be drained down and when you are able to do this, all taps, stopcocks and mains supply valves turned off.  If this is not possible, because you need to maintain a central heating system, a minimum temperature of 7C must be maintained.
5. a) gas supplies should be switched off unless to maintain a central heating system.
    b) electricity supplies should be switched off unless to maintain a central heating system or existing intruder alarm systems, fire protection systems, CCTV, security lighting or sprinkler systems. 
6. all existing physical devices for securing, or preventing access to, the buildings must be kept in full and effective operation at all times and to have all keys removed from the locks and kept in a secure place away from the premises;
 
We recognise that you may not be able to complete all of the items listed above, either partially or in their entirety but we would encourage you to consider anything you can do, to reduce the risk of damage or loss, particularly through escaping water from heating systems and security of the premises generally. Your cooperation during this difficult time is very much appreciated.

Additional Activities

We recognise that as the situation develops, certain organisations may look to support their local community by mobilising their organisation to support those finding it most difficult. Examples of this work, could be delivering shopping for vulnerable people not able to get out of their homes.
 
At Ansvar, local communities are at the heart of what we do and we are keen to give organisations the peace of mind they require in carrying out this work. As such, we would also like to remind our customers that we provide cover for such work:
 
Under our Church Connect and Church Fellowship Connect products:
• Community work (including domestic work and domestic gardening)
• Pastoral Care
 
Under our Charity and Community Connect (and Small Charity Connect where endorsement E216 shown) the following apply automatically but only where the organisations main activities and aims are based on the same work (ie Community Work, Work with vulnerable people, etc):
• Collection and delivery work
• Domestic work, including domestic gardening
 
If the charity is not currently working in such an area (ie clerical training based activities) but would now like to provide support out in the community during this time, we will need to review this, so we can ensure you have the correct cover in place.
IMPORTANT: Cover for any of these activities on any of our products, is subject to your organisation complying with local authority and/or government advice. Following the government’s recent announcement, you should only be providing support services where you can do so within the rules issued and where it is safe for your employees, volunteers and the people you are trying to support.
 
All other policy terms, conditions and exceptions are unchanged. 
 
We will review these changes towards the end of June.
 
We hope that this provides the reassurance you need.  If this is not enough to meet the current crisis, or if you are unsure in any way, then speak to your Business Development Manager or one of our underwriters to discuss further.

Helpful information

Arson Prevention Forumwww.stoparsonuk.org/arson/

The selection and use of electronic security systems in empty buildings

Risk Control. Arson Prevention. The Protection of Premises from Deliberate Fire Raising

www.riscauthority.co.uk
HM Government COVID-19 Advicewww.gov.uk/coronavirus

Risk advice line

(provided by Ecclesiastical professionals or external specialists)
Phone: 0345 600 7531 
 
Risk specialists are on hand to advise you on a range of topics, including: 
• property protection, security, business continuity planning
• health and safety, food safety, environmental management 
• construction safety, fire safety, occupational health, water safety or asbestos. 
 
Available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (excluding public and bank holidays).
 
For further information speak to your insurance advisor or call us on 0345 60 20 999.

Changes due to COVID-19

Following advice from the government, with effect from today, 17th March the majority of our staff will be home-working.  
 
We have been working on solutions to enable our teams to work from home for some time, and are confident we will continue to provide you and your customers with the great service you’re used to. This includes our underwriting teams in our Eastbourne office and our claims team who are situated in our Gloucester office.
 
You can still call our offices and speak to one of our underwriters directly, we would encourage you to use our generic team group numbers and email addresses as per the below.
 
New Business - 01323 744198
 
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Existing Business - 01323 744199
 
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Online Team - 01323 744289
 
 
Ansvar Accounts - 01323 744130
 
 
Our claims team has also been relocated but you can contact them in the usual way using the main claims’ telephone number and the usual email which is ansvarclaims@ansvar.co.uk
 
These are challenging times for all of us and our thoughts are with all of you and your people.
 
We will check in with you from time to time to make sure you are getting everything you need. If you do have any concerns then please pick up the phone to your Business Development Manager or any member of the Ansvar Leadership Team.
 
We will keep you updated and informed if anything changes but in the meantime, please keep safe and well.

Claims

During this unprecedented period, we expect to continue servicing our customers as usual and you should continue to contact us in the usual way. If you experience any problems with the telephone network, you can email us on ansvarclaims@ansvar.co.uk and we will respond to you as soon as we can.

Cover information - COVID-19

There has been a lot of confusion concerning COVID-19 and whether cover is provided under our current products, so we would like to clarify our position for you so that you can address these concerns directly with your customers.     
 
Specified disease definition
In short, there is no cover for COVID-19 under the specified disease definition, as the disease in question is not specified in that list, nor is it related to any of them. Even if made notifiable, and we understand that the Government has already made an announcement about this, there is no cover unless the definition is amended and we have no plans to extend cover to include this. 
 
Employers Liability
From a liability perspective in particular EL, there could be some exposure as specified diseases are not excluded. However, the insured would have to be proven negligent in some way, before any such claim could be considered under the policy. For example if an employer permitted staff to travel to areas which are against World Health Organisation (WHO) or Government (Foreign Office) advice.
 
Business Interruption
For cover under BI, it would have to fall under the ‘Specified Diseases’ extension, and as already stated, COVID-19 is not one of these diseases nor is it related to any of those noted under the policy and as such, no cover will be provided.
 
If you require further clarification, please speak to one of our Underwriting team.

COVID-19 charity sector

Important guidance concerning help and advice for charity trustees from the Charity Commission about how to respond to the crisis, reiterating Government help to ease the financial pressures applicable to charities, and practical advice on governance matters and communication.
 

Supporting our customers, communities and employees

Supporting our customers
We are working tirelessly to provide a prompt and flexible service to our customers and have introduced a number of measures to help provide business continuity at this critical time.
 
  • Our whole team is up and running safely from home, so you are able to easily get in touch with your usual Ansvar contact via your broker.
  • We have introduced cover enhancements across our products to support businesses that have been forced to temporarily close as a result of COVID-19. This includes extending contents cover to employees working from home, and ensuring there are no changes to premium and policy cover for premises forced to temporarily close their doors.  
  • We’ve also introduced an automatic extension in cover for 30 days beyond renewal to help brokers protect their clients from becoming unintentionally uninsured.
  • We have options available to provide timely flexibility and support where customers are struggling to pay premiums due to affordability or logistical issues.  
  • We have put together specific risk management advice for business continuity and temporarily closed premises.
 
Supporting our communities
As a company which exists to contribute to the greater good of society we will give over £1.5million across the Group to support charities and communities at this unprecedented time, including the National Emergencies Trust and the ABI COVID-19 Support Fund.
 
In addition we’re funding projects aimed at supporting communities through the pandemic and charities facing financial difficulties because of it. We hope our giving will help today and, crucially, we are determined to help in the future as charities build their work back up. 
 
Here is a summary of what we’re giving:  
 
  • £1m through our annual corporate giving programme – Movement for Good awards – which will kick off with 500 £1,000 donations to be distributed quickly to charities and communities most in need fighting on the front line.
  • £250 personal grants for our employees to distribute now, with the promise of volunteering in the future. We’ll also continue to 100% match all fundraising and payroll giving which could amount to over £200,000.
  • £50,000 as a donation to The National Emergency Trust and a pledge to double all employee donations to the cause. 
  • £125,000 as a donation to the ABI COVID-19 Support Fund, which is working in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation to help charities most hit by the COVID-19 emergency.
  • £250,000 is being donated by our owner Allchurches Trust to four national charities helping to tackle food poverty.
 
 
Supporting our employees
Our people are the heart of our business and we’re committed to supporting them through this challenging period. After a rapid transition to home working, our people have adapted quickly and are working flexibly to continue to serve our brokers and customers brilliantly. To help them at this difficult time, we’re continuing to follow Government guidance while providing the following support and advice:
 
  • ‘Working and caring’ principles established early to ensure employees feel supported while balancing their home commitments with work. 
  • Wellbeing support and advice launched for all employees including a range of resources, information, training and support to make sure employees can continue to feel their best.
  • Regular open and honest communication centrally via an ‘information hub’ and locally through manager and leader briefings. 
  • An ‘employee check-in’ survey to keep in touch and find out how people are doing. 
  • A range of manager support launched including a ‘guide to managing remotely’ and coaching support.
  • ‘Virtual workplace assessment’ process established to give employees advice and support on setting up and living with their home working environment as effectively as possible.
  • A special contact programme designed for vulnerable people within our organisation.
 
If you have any specific queries relating to our approach to COVID-19 or would like to provide feedback, please speak to your usual Ansvar contact or your broker directly.

Automatic cover beyond renewal date - COVID-19 pandemic

Where the renewal (or a specific extension) of the policy is unable to be confirmed by the renewal date due to incapacity, it is agreed that:
 
1)Where renewal terms are subsequently (after renewal date) not accepted, cover by this policy shall be automatically extended based on expiry terms to:
     a) the date renewal is formally declined, or
     b) 30 days after renewal date
     whichever is the sooner at which point all policy cover shall cease.
 
Provided that:
i. there are no material changes in risk that the insured should have advised to the insurer prior to any incapacity (unless otherwise already catered for by specific Covid-19 cover enhancements for ‘Unoccupied properties and Outstanding risk improvements, periodic conditions and maintenance conditions’ as shown below),
ii. an additional pro-rata premium is paid by the insured (unless below £50, where such premiums will be waived by the insurer) based upon the annual premium applicable immediately prior to the renewal date,
iii. the insurer shall not be liable to pay any claims occurring during the period of the extension of cover until the additional premium due has been paid,
iv. there shall be no increase in or reinstatement of any applicable:
    -    sums insured,
    -    aggregate sums insured, or
    -    any other limits or limits of liability
   during the extended period of insurance
v. no automatic extensions of policy cover will apply to policies that the insurer has specifically excluded from this arrangement by prior notice to the broker (or insured for direct business)
vi. where terrorism insurance is included in this policy, such cover for terrorism (in accordance with Pool Re rules) shall be:
    -    treated as a new short period of insurance
    -    subject to rates, premiums and terms applicable to the new short period of insurance (not the expiring insurance rates, premiums and terms)
vii. the insurer, the broker/insurance advisor and the insured shall use reasonable endeavours to conclude renewals or extensions prior to renewal date so as to avoid as far as possible the need for any automatic extension. 
 
For Ansvar commercial and household policies that are transacted through EDI or through software houses
For Home Connect Lifestyle business transacted via SSP, Open GI or Applied platforms or Charity Protect and Charity Protect Plus business transacted via Acturis, you may not be able to confirm renewal after the renewal date has passed.
 
In these cases, we will ensure renewals are invited in good time and would suggest that brokers either:
 
a) contact their software house suppliers to ensure a workaround is in place to allow renewals to be confirmed after renewal date has passed, or 
b) accept renewals for all clients before renewal date and then lapse, or contact us to lapse or cancel cases, where you subsequently are able to contact clients and they do not wish to proceed.
 
 
Or
 
2) Where renewal terms are subsequently accepted (after renewal date) as a result of incapacity, the insured agrees that once accepted such renewal terms are effective from the renewal date.
 
Incapacity means the relevant representatives of: 
a) the insured, or 
b) their insurance broker/advisor, or 
c) the insurer 
have been unable to conclude the renewal or extension of the policy solely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to the above-noted representatives being:
a) infected, or
b) suspected to be infected, or
c) in self–isolation or quarantine, or
d) subject to working practices or restrictions (including travel restrictions) recommended by:
    i. their employer
    ii. the UK government/government body or other regulatory body 
which limits their ability to operate function and/or communicate.

Outstanding risk improvements, periodic conditions and maintenance conditions

Any policy term that requires regular maintenance, inspection or where we have specified completion of a risk improvement by a specified deadline that cannot be fully complied with or fully completed, solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak causing travel restrictions or the lack of availability of contractors, will be held in automatic abeyance until: 
• the expiry of the current outbreak, or 
• the availability of contractors, or 
• the date the temporary cover enhancement expires
whichever is the sooner provided all reasonable steps have been attempted to comply with the policy terms or complete risk improvements in part or in whole given the circumstances at the time.

COVID-19 FAQs