Covid-19 Broker Update

Since the discovery of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, the environment in which we all work has rapidly changed.

Our focus at QuestGates, alongside the safety of our workforce, is to ensure that we maintain the very highest levels of customer service whilst recognising that our clients and their customers are also living and working in extremely difficult circumstances.

Those working in the broking community face significant challenges too, so this update is intended to provide information on the steps we have taken to ensure both pro-activity is maintained on the claims that we are dealing with and to highlight the areas in which we may be able to assist brokers at this difficult time.

Cloud Based Telephony

Following the temporary closure of our offices and internal staff moving to remote working, we are pleased to advise that our usual office services are being maintained.  This is particularly the case in our TPA and CCS teams who are in regular contact with brokers and coverholders.  You can still ring your usual QuestGates contact on their office number and full call recording facilities are available.  We would however prefer if where possible, communication could be via email.

Property Loss Adjusting

Our Property Adjusters have shown the value they can add by ensuring customers are looked after despite the difficult circumstances they face. This includes using local contacts and emergency builders to secure properties, fit temporary kitchens etc. to ensure they can stay at home.

Most adjuster visits are being temporarily undertaken on a virtual basis utilising our QUBEXpert technology and this helps maintain usual service standards. However, as Key Workers, adjusters are still visiting sites where safe to do so, particularly where vulnerable customers or major losses are involved. Our adjusters and our specialist contractors have been provided with a letter of authority, as required by the FCA, detailing the scope of service we are still able to provide and reason for travel.

Indeed, we have received very positive feedback after our Private Clients adjuster and surveyor were able to visit a very large high net worth fire claim on the same day as instruction. They collated information while observing safe distancing rules in the insured’s garden and preserved evidence as necessary. Later that same day, a full update was provided to both insurer and broker, along with our action plan for future management of the claim.

Business Interruption Claims

We are receiving large numbers of Business interruption claims due to the closure of businesses throughout the UK and have put together a specialist team to manage these.

These claims can be complex and we are working closely with brokers and insurers to ensure we quickly evaluate policy Liability. Subject to liability attaching and where possible, we will recommend early interim payments to assist businesses through these difficult times.

As the volume of Business Interruption claims will increase (and we expect this to continue for some time), we have agreed a partnership for the provision of additional expert accountancy advice from Cooper Parry, Business Advisers and Accountants, the fastest growing UK Accountancy company, with whom we have worked for the last three years.

Therefore, whilst BI claims will continue to be managed by the QuestGates specialist BI team, which includes qualified accountants, should additional capacity or expertise be required in the coming weeks we felt it prudent to enlist contingency support in advance.

Many of you will have seen the FCA letter issued earlier this week, following growing media interest surrounding the way Business Interruption wordings are being applied.

This remains a fluid area, with a variety of different wordings in the market. Whilst it seems to be accepted that there is no liability under conventional BI cover, as there is no material damage trigger, many policies have Notifiable Disease and Competent Authorities extensions, where depending on the wording, cover may exist, albeit subject to limits and / or shorter maximum indemnity periods.

People are watching developments with interest, particularly if there is growing government, regulatory pressure, as well as the influence from other countries, where there is already talk of legislation being introduced and litigation being prepared.

BIBA BI Webinar

As a Facility provider and Associate Member of BIBA, we have been asked to present a webinar to BIBA members covering BI issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Head of Major Loss, Mike Ledgerton, will deliver the webinar at 11am on Friday 24th April and will cover:

  • BI policy cover, areas of confusion and raised expectations

  • Policy extensions, limits and restrictions

  • Non-damage prevention of access

  • Specified/Notifiable diseases

  • Savings and Government assistance

  • How other countries are handling COVID-19 related BI cases

  • What a broker can do to help

BIBA members can register for the webinar via the BIBA website.

Liability Claims

Our Liability investigations team is home based as a matter of course and so the lockdown does not alter their way of working.  We are well positioned to complete investigations remotely utilising either telephony or QUBEXpert our video app developed in conjunction with our global partners, vrs, which whilst not quite the same as face to face, does at least give us the opportunity to progress the claim pro-actively, thus helping brokers avoid calls from clients chasing them for updates.  We have been able to speed up our investigations further by agreeing terms with a third party provider to supply a specific from of electronic data transfer.  This now enables us to issue witness statements to get them returned, duly signed, in a speed and secure manner.

Under Insurance

Despite the current lockdown and restriction of movement being imposed around the UK, insurance policies are still being renewed and brokers continue to advise their clients of the responsibilities they face about setting accurate sums insured.

All QuestGates surveyors and adjusters have been designated key workers and as such, where appropriate and within the safe distancing guidelines laid down by the Government, we are able to conduct site visits to help ensure under insurance is avoided.

Where a site visit is not required or deemed unsafe, we can utilise our QUBEXpert technology to arrange a virtual visit, collate the required information and submit our valuation report in the usual manner.

Our Valuation services extend to:

        • Buildings – both commercial and household

        • Plant, Machinery and Contents

        • Fine Art and Antiques

        • Engineering and Technology

        • Business Interruption

Should you require further information in this regard, please contact your usual QuestGates relationship manager or email us at valuations@questgates.co.uk

Event Cancellation Claims

QuestGates acquired Hyperion Adjursters, who specialise in event cancellation and entertainment industry claims, in 2017.  They have received record levels of new instructions following the cancellation or postponement of numerous sporting, music, business events and Film/TV productions.

These claims fall for consideration under Event Cancellation or Television/Film policies.  These policies generally tend to provide cover for the Insured’s Ascertained Net loss of Profit, Costs and Expenses Incurred or a combination of both.  Not all policies will respond  to events cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and consideration is required to determine whether cover is afforded, this is usually found where there is a Communicable Disease Extension to the policy.

As a result of the increase in claims volumes, we have expanded the Hyperion team to deal with the surge in new claims and we are working with policyholders from around the globe whose events, conferences and productions have been impacted.