Clearly, 2020 was a year like no other, and several developments have happened in the last few days which may affect us all and our businesses.
The Brexit deal has now received consent in both the UK and Europe. Though this is welcome news for the UK, it holds no real comfort for the service industries, including the insurance sector. This is still a moving feast but the following points summarise the current position.
Travel insurance & Covid-19
For customers planning to travel to the EU there is mixed news. EU states will continue to recognise valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) until their expiry. The deal also confirms that Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) will be brought in to replace the EHIC however this will not be valid for travel to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which were covered under the EHIC.
Like an EHIC, a GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. We continue to recommend that anyone travelling to the EU, or further afield, post-Brexit makes sure they have comprehensive travel insurance that will cover the cost of medical treatment if they fall ill or have an accident while abroad. Neither EHICs nor GHICs will allow for all medical treatments to be given free of charge and will not provide for emergency medical repatriation to the UK, which can run to many thousands of pounds.
Travel insurance is complicated, and the cover provided is extensive including much more than cancellation. Policies cover, emergency medical and dental treatment, medical repatriation, compensation for any missed portion of a trip and the costs of travelling home.
However, many policies now carry some form of a Coronavirus exclusion. Speak to us about your proposed travel and we can discuss what cover might be available to you.
As things currently stand, UK motorists will no longer enjoy the benefits of access to the free circulation zone. This means that, until further notice, they must have an insurance Green Card for each and every vehicle they drive to Europe including separate cards for caravans or trailers. Our guidance on Green Cards can be found here.
However, UK citizens will not need an International Driver’s Permit to drive in the EU.
The matter of free circulation continues to be discussed but the EU Commission has said that it cannot issue confirmation of the UK’s continuation in the green card free circulation area without a consultation, and that can only be done after 1 January 2021. More news to follow.
Empty and unused buildings
Whilst many employees are working from home, please be aware that your property policy is likely to have certain cover restrictions and requirements on your part if the properties continue to be unused. It is important that you understand your own situation and we can work with you to help to manage it. We should consider fire, theft & malicious damage, escape of water and liability issues – all of which are heightened during periods of unoccupancy. Aviva have produced a very useful aide memoire, please click here to view.
The hackers are still working while we’re at home. There was a recent outage of Google, YouTube & Gmail. This was only on the very edge of our business but made us consider again what would happen if other IT services were disrupted. We can look at protection for the interruption to your business following unauthorised activity within your IT infrastructure or a third party application upon which you rely.
If you have any questions, concerns or issues that you need our help with, please do not hesitate to contact us. Notwithstanding everything above, let’s hope that the New Year brings more optimism and a recovering economy for us all to work within.
With every best wish for 2021.