This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.
Covid-19 and responses to it have created new challenges for customers and insurers alike. Responses from governments and insurers continue to emerge and to be updated.
There are no simple answers to many of the enquiries that constituents may make – and neither the Library nor caseworkers can offer legal advice.
This article provides a general background and links for helping caseworkers deal with questions about covid-19 and insurance.
Constituents should check existing policy documents
The answer to most questions is that constituents should check their existing policy documents to see whether they are covered. They should:
- check what their policy says
- speak to their insurer to clarify the details of their cover
- ask for confirmation of that advice in writing
More specific advice from the Association of British Insurers
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have published a webpage with answers to some common questions on coronavirus. The page has specific sections on many of the main areas of insurance, including business insurance, pensions and investments, travel insurance and insurance for schools.
Again the overall message is for policy-holders to speak to their insurers.
Please also note the following:
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published expectations of how insurers should deal with coronavirus-related claims.
- The Treasury Committee is considering the insurance industry’s response to the crisis as part of its wider investigation of the economic impact of coronavirus.
- For business interruption insurance, the ABI notes that few firms are likely to have relevant coverage. Again, constituents should check their policies and speak to their insurers and ask for a written response. But after many customers disputed interpretation of wording, the Financial Conduct Authority took a sample of such policies to court. The judgment found that in many of these cases insurers should pay out, but insurers have appealed. The next judgment is expected in January 2021. More information is available in our briefing Coronavirus: Business interruption insurance. It’s important to note though that the case will not affect most businesses or most policies.
What if someone disagrees with their insurer?
If someone disagrees with their insurer they should refer to the standard complaints procedure. Please note that this is unlikely to lead to a fast resolution of any concerns.
What if someone is not covered or does not have insurance?
Depending on how the constituent purchased a good or service, there could be other solutions. For example, suppliers might offer a refund or change a booking if the constituent contacts them. It might be possible to get a refund if the purchase was made on a credit card. Businesses should also consider the various support schemes offered by the Government, as outlined in our briefing paper Coronavirus: Support for businesses.
Renewing and buying new policies
Constituents who want to renew or buy new policies may find it harder to do so, or prices may have risen. This is likely to be particularly marked in travel insurance. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association offer a Find Insurance Service that may be able to help – and this may respond better to individual circumstances than general price comparison websites do.
- Coronavirus: Support for businesses (Commons Library)
- Coronavirus: Business interruption insurance (Commons Library)
- Insurance: Frequently asked questions (Commons Library)
- Insurance and coronavirus (Covid-19): our expectations of firms (Financial Conduct Authority)
- Coronavirus: Problems with business interruption insurance (Commons Library)
The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.