COVID-19 UK: Many insurance policies require annual lift servicing and water management system servicing. Is there any flexibility in policies for this sort of thing in exceptional circumstances?
Our understanding is that insurers should be flexible around these sorts of requirements (e.g. annual lift servicing or water management system servicing) in property insurance policies given the current COVID-19 crisis which has closed many buildings or restricted access.
This is in line with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Guidance on property vacancy i.e. that if a business has to temporarily close because of COVID-19, where policyholders are taking the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of damage to the property whilst unoccupied, insurers will be flexible around the period of un-occupancy specified on the policy document.
The bottom line is that if there are any specific requirements under an insurance policy that a business is unable or unlikely to be able to comply with, such as on-site security or maintenance, the advice is to speak with the insurer or insurance advisor/broker. The expectation being that insurers will be flexible and waive the requirement for a certain time period or find an alternative solution. Having said this, for lift servicing (for example) there may well be a legal requirement to carry out an annual check where the lift is still in (albeit limited) service for health and safety reasons, which may need to be considered over and above the insurance perspective.
Please also see our recent blog on insurance policies and landlord and tenant issues:
Your contacts at Hogan Lovells are more than happy to discuss this and help further.
For material that will help you run your business, as well as details of our business continuity planning, our COVID-19 Topic Centre houses all of our resources on the topic – from crisis leadership to supply chain.
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