Coronavirus help and support for our insurance customers


How to prepare for renewal

For the last few years, the insurance market has been very competitive and buoyant, known as a “soft market”, but when an extended soft market has been in place for a few years this can negatively affect insurers margins and profit levels.

Spikes or surges in claims or global catastrophic events such as the coronavirus pandemic can lead to underwriting profits either reducing or drying up or losses being incurred, which is often the start of the hard market cycle which we are entering now.

As an insurance broker, we wanted to support the sector with some top tips on how to approach your renewal during the coronavirus pandemic, as it is now more important than ever to check that you are covered. Make sure to be mindful of and think about the points below when renewing your policy, it could make a lot of difference.

Top tips for renewing your insurance in a post COVID-19 environment:

 

  • Does the policy provide cover for Coronavirus (COVID -19) under the public liability section or does this section specifically exclude pandemics (including COVID) and/or communicable disease?
  • Is the cover provided on a ‘claims occurring’ basis for abuse?
  • Is abuse defined and therefore restricted by the definition?
  • Are there inner limits attaching to abuse under the public liability section?
  • Timing is key – ideally if your premium spend is less than £10k per annum, you should give yourselves a 45 day lead in time ahead of the renewal date and, if your renewal is above £10k, you should begin to start the conversation with your insurance broker at least 90 days before your renewal date.  This is a critical point as insurers are asking far more questions and often requiring more detailed information. If you leave your renewal approach until too late, there may be no alternative options available in the time left.
  • Available capacity – several insurers have left the health & social care sector, so may not be offering you renewal. Some indicators of capacity issues can include recent changes to customer service, such as brokers and insurers being unresponsive, lack of advice on claims, or claims not being covered.
  • Pricing – you should always ask about any anticipated changes to current insurance spend levels. The market is evolving rapidly due to  COVID-19 and one area that is seeing significant change is pricing, with double digit percentage rates increasing across the market, but particularly on liability covers.
  • Cover – check to see if any changes are being applied by your current Insurers. This could include extensions being dropped, and more onerous terms and conditions being applied. Many insurers are now totally excluding COVID-19 and communicable diseases cover under public liability, so check if your insurer is one of those and what it may mean for your business.
  • Partnerships – although most brokers can arrange cover for care providers, always try to use a specialist broker. Specialist brokers in social and health care will have a wider reach in terms of solutions, stronger leverage and negotiating position with the specialists Insurer partners they support and work alongside. Specialist brokers will have stable collaborative relationships with partner markets during the softer market cycle and will be better positioned. While you may have seen significant rate reductions in the soft cycle which may be welcomed from a pricing perspective, in the longer term it is often those that saw the biggest rate reductions who will see the biggest rate increases when the market turns.
  • Flexibility - it is worth taking a look at available options, perhaps taking a larger excess or deductible, review limits of cover in place and maybe look at arranging the programme in a different way if possible. All of these may lead to more favourable options, as the more risk you are prepared to ‘self-insure’ should have a positive impact on premium pricing.  
  • Benchmarking – speak with another broker and look to see what else may be available. Brokers often have exclusive arrangements with Insurers for sectors like social and health care and you may be advised by your brokers that a cover is not available; the reality is that it may be available, but maybe not from the Insurer markets that they have relationships with. Pricing has increased and cover has generally reduced ,but there is still competition from Insurers for what they see as the ‘right’ client.
  • Current relationship – you may feel that you do not wish to possibly upset a good relationship with your current broker by looking elsewhere, but the reality is that all brokers appreciate clients will undertake reviews for best value, from time to time; particularly charities as they are obliged to do so. Such action should not have a detrimental effect on your current arrangements.

How can we assist?

Towergate Insurance are partners with Care England, NCF, Homecare Association and a number of regional associations, and are actively engaging with local Government officers to provide updates on market restrictions. We also work closely with the British Insurance Brokers Association and the Association of British Insurers, to ensure that wider messages are being heard across the market.

Bristol: Call us on 0800 169 4616 or email richard.hearn@towergate.co.uk

Stevenage Clients: Call us on 01438 739716 or email care@towergate.co.uk

Stevenage Prospects: Call us on 01438 739280 or email newcare@towergate.co.uk

You can also visit www.towergateinsurance.co.uk to find out more.

Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England No. 4043759 Registered Address: 2 Minster Court, Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7PD. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

About the author

Carolyn Baker-Mellor is a respected industry leader with over 35 years' experience within the care insurance sector. She works across a wide spectrum of insurance product and policy development, delivery and optimisation for care industry clients, including managing global corporate accounts, working closely with trade associations, and helping clients in protecting their businesses and personal assets.

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

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