September 23, 2021

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ABI relays guidance replacing insurers’ lockdown support pledges

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The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has reviewed the temporary insurer pledges introduced during the first lockdown – these will now be replaced with new guidance across the home, motor and pet insurance markets.

The ABI initially introduced the pledges for its insurer members back in March 2020, to offer enhanced help and support to customers that may have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

These pledges were extended during the multiple lockdowns and will remain in place until 30 April 2021. After this date, they will be replaced with new guidance for the home, motor and pet insurance sectors.

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The pledges include support for office-based workers who have moved to home working and drivers who are using their own vehicle to commute due to the pandemic, rather than public transport.

Laura Hughes, manager for general insurance at the ABI, said: “Insurers have supported customers throughout the challenges of the past year, including paying up to £3bn in the UK for Covid-related insurance claims and donating over £100m to charities through the Covid-19 Support Fund.

“As many businesses and workers adapt to more permanent and flexible ways of working, continuing the pledge to support office-based workers will be of great help to many of the UK’s 17 million home insurance customers.”

This announcement comes after lockdown restrictions begin to lift across the UK, with many businesses aiming to adopt flexible working on a long-term basis.

Guidance

The following guidance will replace the pledges on a permanent basis:

Home insurance

For office-based staff continuing to work from home, you do not need to contact your insurer unless any of the following applies:

  •  You have visitors to your home on business matters, such as a face-to-face client meeting.
  • Your business makes or sells goods from your home or you store any of these items at your home, particularly if the goods are valuable or include hazardous or flammable material, such as gas cylinders or fireworks.
  • You are offering any other services from your home. For example, this would apply to jobs such as providing beauty treatments, hairdressing, child minding, dog grooming or being an exercise instructor.
  • You’ve adapted your property (using an outbuilding as your home office or have undertaken any major renovation works) or acquired new business equipment that belongs to you. Cover for any business equipment, such as a laptop, will usually be the employer’s responsibility, but check with your employer if unsure.

Anyone who has established, or is planning to establish, a business from home during the pandemic, or has moved the running of their business to their home premises, should discuss the cover required with their insurer or broker.

It is important to make sure that policy documentation is accurate.

 Motor insurance

  • As restrictions change and travel to workplaces becomes more routine, it will again become necessary for drivers to check their insurance cover is appropriate for their needs.
  • The ABI advised drivers to speak with their insurer or broker if there are ongoing changes to working and driving activities since taking out the policy. This includes using a personal vehicle to commute to work, or driving to different locations for work purposes. As was common practice before the pandemic, this will apply to all roles.
  • Insurers appreciate this may continue to be a difficult time for some customers and will be ready to discuss insurance cover, including options for those who may be experiencing financial hardship.
  • If using a personal vehicle for voluntary purposes, such as to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, this will continue to be covered at no extra cost by the vast majority of ABI members. However, some insurers may wish to be informed of this use, so volunteer drivers should check their individual policy.

Pet insurance

As veterinary services are operating as normal, the pledge to support pet insurance customers is no longer required and will finish on 30 April 2021.

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