ABI reaffirms insurers’ support for office home-workers

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A pledge made over a year ago by insurers to support customers adapting to working from home will continue permanently, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said.

As lockdown restrictions begin to lift across the UK, and many businesses look to adopt flexible working on a longer-term basis, members of the ABI have reviewed the temporary pledges introduced during the first lockdown to support customers.

The pledges included support for office-based workers who had to move to working from home and drivers needing to use their own vehicle to commute to work as a result of the pandemic. The pledges were extended during subsequent lockdowns and remain in place until 30 April 2021. 

Laura Hughes, manager of 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.”

The below guidance will now replace the pledges on a permanent basis across home, motor and pet insurance.

Home insurance

If you are an office-based worker and will continue to work from home, it will remain the case that you don’t need to contact your insurer unless any of the following applies:

  • You have visitors to your home on business matters, for example, if you have 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’re 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 (ie, 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 (ie, 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.

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.

You will need to speak with your insurer or broker if there are ongoing changes to your working and driving activities since taking out the policy. This includes using your own 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 you’re using your own vehicle for voluntary purposes, such as to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are affected 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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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk