Letter to Leo Varadker re Insurance Cover 20th March 2020: Letter-from-Chambers-Ireland-re-Insurance-Cover_20March2020

Through our partners in Chambers Ireland we have had engagements with Insurance Companies, the Department of An Taoiseach and the Department of Finance. We also encourage businesses to engage with their insurer and brokers continually on this matter.

Guidance from Tralee Chamber and Tralee Gardai for Vacant Premises: Vacant Premises Advice for Businesses 25.3.20

Cover

There is an issue around cover for business which have had to close during the crisis.

  • Unfortunately, the government do not have the power to force insurance companies to amend or extend their police documents or cannot force them to make a payout on a claim in this area
  • Most policies will not cover closure due to covid-19 as it is such a recent development. Even where a policy covers infectious diseases there is usually a list of diseases and given this disease is so new it is not generally on this list.
  • In many policies even where the breakout of a pandemic occurs this must happen on the premises rather than in the wider population outside of your premises which is what is occurring now.
  • Some insurance companies may not give out once of payments to cover losses to businesses as this would be an ex-gratia payment.
  • Given the number of businesses affected, payments across the board to businesses may put undue pressure on the insurance sector financially to offer cover following the crisis.

Premiums

Individual insurance companies will be offering various supports to their customers but this may not be uniform across the sector.  This is because the cover the insurance companies offer is broad and some only specialise in certain areas, eg. Motor, directors liability, premises, etc. The supports may take the form of reduced or postponed premiums or refunds at then end of the term of the policy.