Important information: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Here’s the latest information you need to know for your Ageas customers and clients...

Posted on 18th March 2020 Tagged in Personal Lines Commercial Lines Niche & Non-Standard Schemes
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**This page was last updated 26 March 2020 (1200 hrs)**

We're continuing to monitor the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are following the advice provided by the Government.

Recognising the increased spread of the virus and our desire to protect our employees, like many other organisations, we've decided to suspend all non-essential business travel. We're operating business as usual and have contingency plans in place to ensure a continuity of service to you and your customers.

Thank you for your understanding at this unprecedented time for everyone. We hope that you and your families stay well.

Answering your questions

We’re responding to feedback and queries as the situation evolves. Our underwriters re-examine the situation on a daily basis, constantly reviewing key aspects of our policies to ensure we can provide the same, sustainable, high levels of services. To date, these are the most common questions we have received from you.

Q1. How are you helping customers who have been impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

We're a proud supporter of the ABI's (Association of British Insurers) insurer commitments on motor and home insurance - helping customers who may be affected by the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Many customers will be facing a challenging situation over the coming weeks. We want to help by ensuring continuous access to the peace of mind that comes with being insured.

Some customers may find it hard to pay a premium due to unexpected loss of income, but able to meet their contractual obligations overall. On a case by case basis, for customers with a payment plan arranged by us, we’ll need to look at the renewal date of the policy and the customer’s previous payments history. When it’s possible, however, customers will be able to spread the value of up to two consecutive premium payments for any policy over the remaining direct debit instalments for the term of the policy.

Q2. How are you protecting customers and suppliers?

While ensuring we continue to deliver a high level of service to your customers in their time of need, we have taken some additional steps to ensure the safety of both your customers and our suppliers.

  • We’ve written to our suppliers, encouraging them to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees, in line with Government and Public Health recommendations.
  • We have also reminded suppliers of the need to consider the potential impact of the risks associated with COVID-19 on vulnerable customers and ask that they advise us of any potential concerns.
  • We’re receiving weekly updates on supply chain preparedness and we’re reassured by the level of thought our suppliers have given to mitigating any impact.

Property Claims

  • Over 90% of New Household Claims are made between 8.30am and 5.30pm, so our Household Claims Line will now be open during these times, 7 days a week.
  • We’ve added a new online facility where customers can report their Household claims to us 24/7. Please direct your customers to https://www.ageas.co.uk/make-a-claim/ to notify us of a claim online.
  • Where required, we’ll look to use video technology, photo uploads and estimation tools to assist our customers.
  • For kitchens and bathrooms claims, we can arrange for a temporary or mobile solution to be delivered to the customer, as we often do today.
  • If a customer has to leave the property, we will try to find an alternate property. Where that’s not possible, we can provide temporary accommodation pods.

Motor claims

  • We have a number of solutions in place to mitigate our networks reliance on parts supply.
  • We can assess vehicles and build estimates remotely, which allows for accurate total loss decisions and provides information for us to discuss cash settlements with the customer.
  • We have multiple suppliers and are not confined to a single source of parts. We proactively manage our repair network to monitor demand, repair times and operation resilience.
  • Our repair philosophy is based on ‘repair over replace’ and our green parts supply is part of our business as usual, offering a significant additional parts supply - bringing a lessened reliance on newly produced parts to make a repair.
Q3. Are your offices open for my customers to make a claim?

Our claims lines will be operating on reduced hours or shift patterns over the coming days, so wait times may be a little longer than usual.

We’ve introduced a new online facility where your customers can report their claims to us 24/7. Please direct your customers to https://www.ageas.co.uk/make-a-claim/ to notify us of a claim online.

Our priority at this time is the continuation of services to our existing customers. Your usual contacts remain available to you as normal.

We're working with our suppliers to ensure that we can continue to meet customer needs as best as possible. Our suppliers will always check that our customers are comfortable that a member of their team will be calling, be it to complete an emergency repair or to return a repaired vehicle.  We’re monitoring availability across our motor solution centres and the wider parts market, while our home suppliers continue to support claims either remotely or on site for emergency repairs.

Clearly this is an evolving situation, so we will keep you up to date with developments over the coming days.

Q4. Will there be blanket price changes specifically due to the current situation?

Our Personal Lines Products

No. We’ll maintain our enduring commitment to treating customers fairly. Our pricing policy follows the need to reflect technical price changes, support product performance and high levels of customer service, and factor in our resolve to provide sustainable support for the Ageas community – for our customers, partners, and brokers.

Our Commercial Lines Products

No. We will maintain our enduring commitment to treating customers fairly. In addition to our general pricing policy, the complexity of commercial lines policies means our underwriters examine changing circumstances with additional context. On a case by case basis, there may be exceptions that necessitate changes to ratings, acceptance, or renewal terms.

Q5. Will there be a charge for updating policy details specifically due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Private Motor

We’ve removed the administration charge for declaring a vehicle off road. When facilitating this for your customers, you’ll simply need to remove the fee from the calculated renewal premium.

Change of employment

We’ve also removed charges associated with changing levels of risk for customers who have unfortunately been made unemployed as a direct result of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please make a note on your customer’s policy, but you do not need change the employment status on your software house system.  

Q6. Can policy cover periods be extended automatically on request?

Our Personal Lines Products

Automatic extensions would create challenges both for us and for our customers. However, while some of our Household products auto-renew, we’re committed to extending the time between renewal dates and auto-lapses on our other Household and Motor polices (where your software house provider allows). Household policies that don’t already auto renew and all our motor policies will now auto-lapse after 28 days (previously 7 days).

We believe this should ensure enough time to confirm your customer’s cover needs should you be unable to contact them by renewal, without leaving a gap.

Our Commercial Lines Products

Commercial lines products are by their nature more complex. We’re prepared to support requests for renewal extensions from commercial lines customers and may agree extensions by exception, but this will be handled on a case by case basis.

Your Ageas Commercial Customers

Because your Ageas Commercial clients are likely to contact you, at this time, to ask questions about their policy(s) we’ve created the following list of frequently asked questions to help guide your response.

We advise that you check your clients’ policies for the full detail of the levels of cover included. If you hold a specific scheme arrangement with Ageas, then please refer to our agreed wordings or speak to your usual underwriting contact for assistance.

Q1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a ‘notifiable disease’, what does that mean for my clients Business Interruption cover?

We approach Business Interruption (BI) cover for ‘notifiable diseases’ in two ways for our standard suite of commercial property products;

  • Our current Commercial Choice, Property Owners, Leisure, Shopkeepers, Office & Surgery and Homeworker products extend BI cover for a specific list of diseases. As Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not included in this list, these products do not offer cover.
  • Some of our existing policyholders with Shopkeepers, Leisure, Homeworkers and Office & Surgery have a BI cover extension for all notifiable diseases. As Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now notifiable, policyholders may be eligible to make a claim - subject to the terms and conditions of the extension and the policy.

Please check your clients’ policies for the full detail of the levels of cover included.

If you hold a specific scheme arrangement with Ageas, then please refer to our agreed wordings or speak to your usual commercial underwriting contact for assistance.

Q2. A supplier or customer of my client has had to shut down production and/ or operation due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it’s impacting my client’s business. Would they be covered for Business Interruption?

No. Any cover provided within the BI infectious diseases policy wording extension is limited to an occurrence at the insured’s premises, and does not extend to the premises of their customers or suppliers. This means there would be no cover in the circumstances above.   

Q3. One of my client’s employees has contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) and their business has been advised to shut until the premises has been cleaned, can my client claim under the policy?

The level of cover provided to your client will be dependent on the policy wording as we provide cover in two ways (see question 1 above). If your client wishes to make a claim they should contact the Ageas Commercial Claims Team on 0345 122 3283.

Q4. One of my client’s employees is unwell and it might be due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The employee still wants to come to work, should my client let them?

We would recommend keeping your clients up to date with the current advice provided by the Government, as the advice is being frequently reviewed and updated. The current advice can be found here.

Q5. The premises next door to my client has been closed due to a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak within their premises. If my client decides to shut their premises as well will they be covered under the policy?

If your client’s policy includes a Business Interruption (BI) extension that provides cover for Coronavirus (COVID-19) then the cover will be restricted to an event at the insured’s premises. Cover for BI will not be available should your client choose to shut.

This government website provides further advice for businesses that have had a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Q6. My manufacturing client is changing their normal activity to include manufacture of ventilators and/ or hand gels, will they be covered for this change?

We recognise the support that manufacturers, large and small, are providing the NHS with vital support across the UK, to combat COVID-19.

For any Ageas policyholders that are now incorporating these activities, we’ll automatically provide cover for this additional business activity - with no additional change to their current policy terms and conditions.

You don’t need to notify us of this change. Our Underwriting and Claims teams will handle the changes to the cover and any relevant claims. This includes any existing commercial motor and commercial non-motor policyholders.

Q7. How does the government enforced business closure affect the cover provided for restaurants, cafes, pubs and gyms?

We’ll maintain any existing cover for each of our policyholders who have had to close (or will need to close), specifically as a consequence of Government action or advice, related to COVID-19.

This is subject to the insured taking best endeavours to ensure that policy conditions and security of the premises are managed and maintained while still following government advice. We won’t be restricting Material Damage or Liability covers during this period for existing cover holders.

This excludes new business and renewals, where a new Infectious Disease extension wording which came into effect for future business on some of our products and schemes. Details of this particular change will be included specifically with each relevant new business issued and on renewal as they are released, by means of a Notice to Policyholders and an Endorsement. Please refer to those documents for details on those risks affected.

We’ll apply this same approach for other businesses where they have needed to close from COVID-19 actions, even if it is not an enforced closure.

This amended approach will apply for the next 60 days (from 24 March 2020). We may (subject to review) extend this period further.

Q8. My pub and cafe policyholders are now offering take away services and/ or deliveries - will they be covered?

We’ll automatically cover our food and drink policyholders for this activity under their existing non-motor policy coverage for this activity. This is subject to the policyholder following government guidelines on hygiene and self-distancing, and to the extent that they’re allowed to continue to undertake this activity under any ongoing government action and advice.

Q9. My client has been forced/ advised to close by the government, can they claim for business interruption?

Our policies don’t include cover for enforced closure or action by the government.

The government announced business interruption loan support for businesses on the 20 March 2020. Most of your customers should be aware of this by now, but if they are uncertain as to how they can get this assistance they should visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Q10. Will you be restricting cover for unoccupied premises?

Most of our products and schemes have unoccupancy conditions that set out what cover will be maintained including; when that will be restricted, and what actions policyholders need to undertake.

Where any premises becomes temporarily unoccupied as a consequence of COVID-19, we’ll not restrict cover from the time the unoccupancy starts, until such time as the restrictions on premises being used or occupied are lifted. This is subject to policyholders applying appropriate best endeavours to manage their premises, including appropriate security measures while they are closed, and adhering to governmental advice and action.

You don’t need to notify us of the unoccupancy, where it occurs as a result of COVID-19.

This amended approach will apply for the next 60 days (from 24 March 2020). We may (subject to review) extend this period further.

Q11. Many of my clients now have employees working from home and they have taken equipment with them – is this covered?

 Many of our policies will automatically allow for employees to work remotely, as long as it fits within the business activity. Where a policy doesn’t currently allow for this, we’ll automatically accept this position for all our policyholders without needing to notify us, where the activity is suitable to be undertaken in a home environment.

If a policyholder already has all risks cover away from the premises on computers and/or business equipment, they own, they should ensure it is now sufficient. Other policyholders will need your advice to ensure they have the right cover going forward. To help you with this period, we’re automatically providing additional cover for up to £50,000 (per policy) of computer equipment and business equipment in transit, to and at employees’ homes.

This will be at no additional charge in premium, on a first loss basis, for the next 60 days (from the 24 March 2020). We hope this will provide you with enough time to contact policyholders and ensure their cover is amended to reflect their ongoing needs.

This temporary automatic cover will cease at the end of this period (unless we provide a further extension) so please ensure your policyholders have reviewed their ongoing and long term needs at the end of this period.

This amended approach will apply for the next 60 days (from 24 March 2020). We may (subject to review) extend this period further.

Your Ageas Household Customers

Because your Ageas Household Customers are likely to contact you, at this time, to ask questions about their policy(s) we’ve created the following list of frequently asked questions to help guide your response.

Please not that the following answers are applicable for our standard House Guard product. We advise that you check your clients’ policies for the full detail of the levels of cover included. If you hold a specific scheme arrangement with Ageas, then please refer to our agreed wordings or speak to your usual underwriting contact for assistance.

Q1. My customer has to self-isolate and work from home for an extended period of time. Would their household policy be impacted by the increase in ‘business use’ at their home?

Your customer’s Ageas household policy would not be impacted if they work from home, as long as it’s on a clerical business use basis only.

If your customer has visitors to the home for business purposes or if they conduct any other non-clerical business from the home, they will not be covered.

Q2. Would my customer’s household policy cover the cost of a deep clean should the property become contaminated with Coronavirus?

A claim associated to the deep clean of a property will be assessed on an individual basis. Our standard household policies do not cover for deep cleans as a result of a contamination caused directly by a disease.

Q3. My customer has to work from home and has brought some equipment home from their place of work – will it be covered?

No. Our standard House Guard contents cover only extends to your customer’s owned home office equipment and furniture, which is used for administrative and clerical activities undertaken at home.

Q4. Does my customer need to change occupation on their policy, as are they are now working from home?

No. As your customer would still be performing the same role, just in a different location, they do not need to tell us of any changes.

Q5. Does my customer need to add ‘clerical business use’ to their policy, now they are working from home?

No, ‘clerical business use’ is automatically provided in our standard House Guard policy.

Q6. Due to the current situation, customer’s property may be unoccupied for some time, are they covered?

We understand the impact that no-travel may have on homeowners. For the most part, our standard Home policies provide comprehensive cover for properties that are unoccupied for up to 60 days. Currently, after 60 days, the cover downgrades to exclude Escape of Water, Accidental Damage, and Theft.  We’re closely monitoring the situation and may look to extend the full cover period beyond 60 days if necessary.

Your Ageas Travel Customers

Because your Ageas Travel customers are likely to contact you, at this time, to ask questions about their Ageas Travel policy, we’ve created the following list of frequently asked questions to help guide your response.

Please not that the following answers are applicable for our standard Ageas Travel product. We advise that you check your clients’ policies for the full detail of the levels of cover included. If you hold a specific scheme arrangement with Ageas, then please refer to our agreed wordings or speak to your usual underwriting contact for assistance.

1. My customers are currently abroad and have been forced into quarantine, what cover is in place?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all or all but essential travel to a number of countries and areas. The latest list of areas can be found here.

Provided your customers did not travel to one of these areas after the FCO advice was issued, their Ageas Travel policy insurance period will be automatically extended up to 30 days if they have to be held in quarantine.

2. My customers are looking to travel to an area where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all or all but essential travel. Will their cover be impacted?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all or all but essential travel to a number of countries and areas. The latest list of areas can be found here.

If your customers travel to one of these areas after the FCO advice was issued, they will not be covered by any part of their Ageas Travel policy.

Your customers should contact their airline or tour operator to change their flights, obtain a refund or arrange an alternative holiday.

3. While abroad my customers have contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are in need of medical help, are they covered?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all or all but essential travel to a number of countries and areas. The latest list of areas can be found here.

Provided your customers did not travel to one of these areas after the FCO advice was issued, then their medical expenses will be covered as outlined in their travel policy.

4. My customers have contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) before travelling and have to cancel a planned trip, are they covered?

Our travel policies will provide cover for unused travel and accommodation costs (which have not been or cannot be recovered from their travel provider or from anywhere else) if they become ill before their trip and are not medically fit to travel.

Your customers should first contact their airline or tour operator to change their flights, obtain a refund or arrange an alternative holiday.

5. My customer wishes to cancel their pre-booked trip due to Coronavirus concerns to an affected or unaffected area, what should they do?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all or all but essential travel to a number of countries and areas. The latest list of areas can be found here.

If your customers travel to one of these areas after the FCO advice was issued, they will not be covered by any part of their Ageas Travel policy (including cancellation cover).

If your customers choose to cancel an upcoming trip, they should contact their airline or tour operator to change their flights, obtain a refund or arrange an alternative holiday.

6. My customers are abroad and want to return home early, are they covered?

Customers already in an affected area and looking to return home early should contact their travel agent, tour operator or airline to enquire about the availability of an early return home.

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