Zurich Municipal are aware of the situation with regard to the coronavirus 2019-nC0V outbreak and we are closely monitoring it as it develops.
Trading position and business continuity plans
This is an unprecedented and challenging situation. The UK Government has announced stringent measures to help curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) restricting travel, enforcing working from home and support for businesses financially. In response, Zurich have asked all colleagues to work from home until further notice and are using the latest technology to connect with one another and importantly with you, ensuring we are open for business as usual.
We are uniquely positioned as much of our business already operates to a fully flexible manner and fortunate to be a financially strong and resilient business, both globally and in the UK.
Our business continuity plans are activated, we have also tested key essential services, including all our claims and underwriting systems and are confident that we have the right arrangements in place.
For items you would normally post to us, please use email instead at this time.
We are here to support our customers who may well be anxious or concerned, and it is our role and duty to help you.
We will continue to work hard taking care of our colleagues while simultaneously fulfilling our customers’ needs.
Business Interruption cover
There is widespread confusion over the coverage offered by business interruption insurance policies in these extraordinary circumstances.
This is a deeply worrying time for businesses of all sizes and we are doing everything we can to support customers with their claims during these unprecedented times.
As has been widely acknowledged, it is unlikely most UK businesses will be able to claim for disruption caused by Covid-19. Standard business interruption cover bought by the vast majority of businesses is intended to cover physical damage at a property which results in the business being unable to trade, such as from a fire or flood. Only a very small number of companies pay for extra cover for infectious diseases, and if they do, these policies include a list of specified illnesses known as ‘named notifiable diseases’. Consequently, new and emerging diseases, such as Covid-19, are usually not included.
The reason for this is that insurers price based on known risks. The approach to pricing insurance policies is to collect historical data and use that to understand how likely the event is to occur; the cost of returning the customer to the position they were in before the event; and the likelihood of a single event impacting multiple customers.
In the case of pandemics, which are rare compared with a car accident or flooding, these factors are difficult to estimate and likely to be significant when they arise. No insurance market can afford to underwrite the scale of losses a pandemic can bring and the coverage of policies reflect that reality. The other way to think about it is that, if policies included pandemic coverage, the difficulties in pricing and the size of the impact, would mean that they would generally make most insurance policies unaffordable. This could lead to underinsurance and for the normal risks that a business is exposed to not being covered.
Where we do provide cover for infectious diseases, other than in a very small minority of cases, we have for many years taken the default approach of providing clarity around which diseases are covered under our policies by means of listing them within the wording. This list does not include diseases linked to pandemics, such as SARs, Avian Flu or Coronavirus. This cover would usually also only apply when the disease was actually present at the premises or in the surrounding area.
We have every sympathy for all our customers who have been impacted by the coronavirus and, as always, will support them in whatever way we can . It is important that each insurance policy is reviewed on its own individual merits. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Schools and Education
We know that you will undoubtedly be under a significant strain at the moment with schools facing a myriad of questions following the recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Education over the closure of schools. We want to reassure you, that as your insurer we continue to work to support you.
We are here to support you when you need us most no matter the size of the event. Following the Government (UK and Scotland) and DFE announcement and action, for any school trip (foreign or domestic) that is scheduled to depart on or before the 21st June 2020, you will be covered for the unrecoverable or non-transferable cost of cancellation. At this point, as we monitor the situation as it develops, if your trip is scheduled to start beyond that date, you would need to consult with Zurich before cancelling to check if cover will be available. If you have specific issues concerning trips beyond that time, please contact us. We shall update this advice as new information and guidance emerges.
As the issue continues to develop so will our approach, consequently here are a few things to bear in mind:
- We would suggest pausing before booking any new trips at this time
- Have you booked using a travel agent / credit card? These institutions should be the first point of contact for the recovery of funds.
- Unsure? Please don’t cancel trips (domestic or overseas) without speaking to us first – we want to discuss your specific circumstances fully
Please stay safe. If in doubt, get in contact We know this is a testing time for you and we remain steadfast in our desire to provide the best service. We therefore promise to treat all enquiries as high priority and deal with them as soon as possible. Also, please don’t hesitate to get in contact on this or any other issues you may have at this time:
Customer Services / Claims: 0800 302 9053
Temporarily Closed School Premises
This bulletin is intended to update you on the Zurich Municipal position with regards to temporary closure of buildings as a result of COVID-19.
We are committed to treating our customers fairly and so we accept that where our customers are making appropriate provisions to mitigate their unoccupied risk as a result of Coronavirus, the temporary closure of your building should not prejudice any claim made.
It is our intention that where buildings are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our Unoccupied Conditions will not apply, and we will not be taking any further measures to restrict coverage.
Zurich Municipal recognise the challenges faced by our customers as buildings are forced to close or operate on a limited basis going forward. Customers should continue to follow the risk management advice below and where possible the existing provisions of physical security and monitoring should remain in place.
We would encourage continued/daily onsite presence and if provisions exist for building closures already, ie. procedures taken during holiday periods, then these procedures should be taken forward during this unprecedented time. Where a site usually has a 24/7 presence and there are not adequate measures on site in the event of unoccupied closure (such as the absence of an intruder alarm) then please refer this to the relevant Zurich Municipal underwriting department.
If we have made specific requirement of you with regards to security and as a result of the ongoing situation you are unable to comply with these measures please get in touch with your usual Zurich Municipal contact/underwriter and we will be happy to work with you to address the issue.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will inform you of any further updates regarding our stance on temporarily closed buildings in due course. We will also shortly be issuing guidance for partially closed school premises.
For further guidance:
Our in house experts from our Risk Engineering Practices have produced a series of risk management insights which may be of interest to our customers. Please click here to view the topics, from Homeworking to Closing down buildings. Risk management advice can also be found on our News & Views website.
Latest information about Coronavirus (Covid-19)
We suggest our customers use the following sources for the latest information about the virus from The World Health Organisation, UK Government and its agencies: