Local Businessman Sanjay Ghosh of Image Nation NI has been involved in Business Promotion for many years. He told us:
“Business is changing vastly. Some have closed down due to cash flow issues, but more often than not they are diversifying and adapting to the climate. Those who have done this, have survived and in some cased thrived. Many of the restaurants have gone 100% takeaway service and changed up their menus drastically. They now spend time on Social Media campaigns and have injected time and effort into increasing their online presence to compensate for the reduced footfall they previously experienced. Financial institutions who once saw face to face meetings as the ONLY way to set up a life insurance policy have now taken to digital technology using Zoom to set up policies – something they never thought possible before. Such companies are now using e-signature technology to get around sending paper by post. The agility of some of these companies has been extraordinary.”
Business Owners – Will I be charged more?
Not necessarily. In fact, in many cases you should be getting a return premium to reflect the lower risk levels of, for example Retail Insurance . You may be trading less hours, and you will certainly not be having the same footfall levels you had back in February, if you are a restaurant for example. With that in mind, restaurants may now be operating a takeaway only service. Talk to your insurer and chances are, there are savings to be had!
Property Owners – Is my building still insured now it is empty and I work remotely?
Many business owners will own their own building too, but insure it under a Property Owners policy for all sorts of reasons. To answer the question, yes, it should still be covered. However, we recommend giving your insurer a call. Lockdown has gone on for more or less 2 months now, insurers will give a certain amount of time of full cover (normally 30 days), and then cover will reduce to cover Fire, Lightning, Earthquake, Explosion (normally) only. This is known as FLEE cover – from insurer to insurer this basic level of cover does vary as some will include Aircraft cover also.
There are normally 3 things to consider when your property becomes empty:
- The cover over time will reduce – expect FLEE cover after 30 days
- The conditions will increase – extra checks or increased security for example
- The premium may also increase – to take into consideration the high risk
Most importantly tell your insurer or broker & they will then make sure you know what conditions to comply with, so any potential claims will be paid in full.
Top Tip – Check your policy wording under the Unoccupancy section. Check your policy wording’s definition of ‘unoccupancy’ and make sure you comply with any condition. You have done the hard part, your business is still standing, make sure you are not left with a large bill after a leak as the insurer refuses to pay for as you didn’t comply with the condition of turning off the water supply.
Remember, residential landlords are classed as business owners too – in the eyes of the insurer. You too should be treating it like a business and that does not only apply to multiple property landlords. If you are responsible for maintenance issues or repairs and require the help of a third party to put right, then speak with your tenant and make sure everyone is briefed on social distancing and what would be the best time to arrange a visit by a contractor.