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COVID-19 Client Information Hub – Autumn 2020

Sep 24, 2020

Throughout this period, we have been working with our insurers, our trade association, BIBA, our professional body, the CII, & the Society of Insurance Broking to bring our clients information which we hope will help you and your business. The below are summaries of certain issues. Please contact us to discuss your own concerns in more detail.

Commercial Property

Is your commercial property still, or newly, unoccupied?

Since March 2020, when the UK locked down in response to COVID-19, many office-based businesses switched their operations to enable their work from home. As lockdown eased, some firms tentatively returned to the office in reduced numbers. As we move into autumn we are, once again, entering the unknown as the government announces and considers further restrictions to protect the population and the health service through the winter months. The advice, once again, is to work from home if you can.

 

If you have unoccupied commercial properties it is vital that you let us know so that we can inform your insurers. This applies if your premises continue to be unoccupied or if they are newly unoccupied following the recent government announcement. In both of these circumstances, we will need to assess your particular wording to ensure that you remain covered and are aware of any important conditions. A common definition of an unoccupied building includes “any building that is wholly unoccupied, mainly unoccupied, disused, unfurnished or not in active use by you or any of your tenants for more than 30 consecutive days. We are speaking to all insurers about whether they are further flexing their policy coverage in view of the new government advice of “working from home if you can”.

 

Here are some of our risk management guidelines for you to follow relating to unoccupied properties:

  • Key holders– Maintain and internally share a contact list of keyholders
  • Inspections – Ensure that the building is inspected internally and externally at least once
    a week and a written record of the inspection is maintained
  • Waste – Ensure that no accumulation of refuse or waste is allowed in the adjoining yards
    or space in or around the property
  • Security – Secure the building and all outbuildings and storage areas. Put all protective, locking devices and any alarm (including fire) protection into effective operation. Check all fencing is in good condition and gates are secured. Seal letterboxes and, where possible, redirect post. Ensure all internal fire doors are closed. Letterboxes should be sealed. Where large car parks are vulnerable to incursion and potential fly-tipping, additional denial of access security measures should be considered, including provision of 4.5 ton concrete blocks – talk to First Response Group to assist (t: 03300 415 008)
  • Utilities – Turn off the gas and electricity supplies are turned off at the mains (except electricity needed to maintain any fire or intruder alarm systems)
  • Water – Unoccupied properties are much more susceptible to higher value water claims than occupied properties due to the length of time that water could be escaping before being detected. Consider the condition of your roof. Any empty building or empty portion of the building must have all water supplies including sprinkler systems drained and isolated from the mains unless they are required for maintaining minimum temperatures to prevent freezing
  • Machinery – Isolate all plant/machinery and cease hazardous processes. Lock away hand tools and smaller items of machinery
  • Operational – Check and review all risk assessments and update them in accordance with changes in occupancy. Review and keep a copy of your insurance documentation and business continuity plan to hand
  • Plant Rooms – Boiler plant, HVAC systems and any other specialist plant should be isolated
  • Kitchens – All spoilable food needs to be removed. Frozen foods – freezer alarms set. Food waste must be removed. All food preparation surfaces cleaned down and sanitized. Pest control measures put into operation
  • Bars and Cellars – All spirits/wines etc. removed to secure spirit store. Beer and CO2 gas lines turned off and cellar secured. Mixer Chillers operational. Outdoor furniture/parasols securely stored
  • Construction Sites – Site access to be secured. All temporary supports/falsework in place and ensure that the structure is stable to wind loading. Loose materials removed/secured. Services isolated and locked off. Valuable construction materials inventoried and secured
  • Construction Plant Security – Large plant secure and immobilized. Tracking devices activated if available. Small plant items off hired/removed from site. Site Offices – Water & power isolated. Laptops/computers removed off site. Welfare facilities cleaned. Food waste and rubbish removed

If you make any other significant changes to your business, such as taking additional equipment, stock or plant off-site, or need make any other alterations to cover please also get in touch with us.

Please Contact us to discuss any aspect of your insurance requirements at this time

 

 

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