Crotty Group recognize the extreme difficulty caused to our Customers Business Operations by the Covid 19 Emergency. At a time when Business Continuity into the future is the foremost concern Business owners understandably want to seek assistance from their Business Insurance Policies.
At the outset of this Crisis Crotty Insurance immediately started to receive notifications from the Individual Insurers in the Irish Market regarding their assessment of coverages under their policies which was essentially that coverage would not extend to cover this event except in very rare cases. In tandem with that various representative bodies such as Insurance Ireland and the Association of British Insurers also provided their views on coverage which are in line with that expressed by the Individual Insurers.
While all policies are different and should be interpreted individually the overriding difficulty from a coverage point of view in Business Interruption Insurance is the requirement for damage to have occurred at the Insured premises for the Business Interruption cover to trigger. In the Case of Infectious Disease Coverage there is in general a requirement that there should have been an outbreak of the disease at the Premises or an outbreak within the area that causes a specific loss at the premises. This element of cover requires further consideration and we are reviewing on an ongoing basis if there are any avenues to obtaining an indemnity under these covers.
The Initial view overall is negative but we do note that the Central Bank have issued a direction to Insurers that they should treat their customers fairly and process any valid claims quickly. Indeed the Central Bank have written to all Insurance Intermediaries and stated its belief that most policy wordings are clear in terms of what they cover and what is excluded however where there is any doubts about the meaning of policy terms that the customer must be given the benefit of the most favourable interpretation of those words.
We are continuing to monitor the situation both at home and in the UK where many of these Insurers are domiciled and will also monitor any political or market developments or agreements that might influence a policyholders right to make a successful claim under their Business Insurances. We will seek to ensure on behalf of our clients that where one Insurer takes a favourable view of the intent of their wording that other Insurers with similar wordings will be asked to follow suit.
In the final analysis all policyholders have a right to make a claim under their Business Insurance policy at any time which will require the Insurer to provide a clear decision on their policy coverage. As stated we will continue to monitor that situation and provide appropriate advices to our clients based on the best information to hand.
In tandem with our ongoing assessment of Covers and the Claims Situation we continue to press Insurers to make concessions with regard to payment of Premiums. In that regard the Central Bank have instructed the Industry to provide reasonable arrangements to support customers at this difficult time.
Among the Measures we will be seeking on behalf of our Clients are,
- On all policies where premiums are based on turnover or wage rolls that Insurers recognize the substantial changes which will occur to these figures and to factor that in now, immediately adjusting premiums accordingly.
- Extending credit terms in line with the shutdown period.
- Engaging in a meaningful fashion with policyholders on an individual basis recognizing that different insureds will require different solutions.
- Insurance Policies contain clauses that restrict coverages during periods of Unoccupancy usually after a period designated in the policy. If you are likely to be affected by any such provision due to unoccupancy of your premises please contact us to discuss.
Please feel free to call our staff if you have any Questions about this matter.
REST ASSURED THAT AS THIS SITUATION IS FLUID WE WILL STAY ABREAST OF MARKET DEVELOPMENTS ON ISSUES SUCH AS COVERAGES AND PREMIUMS/CREDIT TERMS AND WE WILL ADJUST AND UPDATE OUR ADVICES TO YOU AS MATTERS DEVELOP.