Monthly Archives :

September 2020

Unoccupied Business Premises

Unoccupied Business Premises 1920 1280 James Hallam

The Government have now implemented new restrictions designed to combat the second wave of coronavirus, with people being asked to work from home, where possible. Therefore with premises continuing to remain unoccupied, it is important to remember that there is still a substantial risk to your business and you should ensure all necessary precautions are taken to protect it.

There are several third parties that may seek to gain access to your premises;

  • Vandals / Arsonists – This can be children or teenagers looking for thrills or others looking to do the specific business harm. It could even involve disgruntled employees or customers.
  • Squatters / Homeless – This could be as simple as a homeless person looking for temporary shelter through to others looking to use the premises for illegal purposes such as fly-tipping.
  • Thieves – Unoccupied premises could still have items of value stored within it, or the fabric of the property, such as copper pipework. The cost of replacing these items can be high, but consideration should be given to the additional damage which could be caused.

While continuing to work from home, policyholders should make themselves fully aware of the additional security obligations that they are bound by within their policy wordings. These obligations usually include;

  • Premises are being secured by protective locking devices.
  • Any alarm systems are fully operational.
  • All electricity, gas and water services should be turned off at the mains. Where existing intruder alarms, fire alarms or automatic sprinklers systems are installed they should continue in full operation.
  • Regular recorded visitation of the premises and carrying out any work necessary to maintain the security of the premises.
  • Removal of all waste materials from the interior and exterior of the premises.

Businesses should also seek clarity on any restriction of coverage as a result of property being unoccupied. If your business is open but you are not reoccupying some of your commercial premises it is important that you discuss this subject with your designated James Hallam Account Executive. This discussion should clarify your policy terms and conditions on any imposed restrictions to your coverage. We can advise you of the specific requirements in order that your insurance coverage adjusts to your needs.

Reduce Data Exposure to Cyber Threats

Reduce Data Exposure to Cyber Threats 1920 1280 James Hallam

In our current world, protection against cybercrime is needed more than ever. Cyber criminals will be using COVID-19 to increase their activities to attack individuals and organisations. The National Cyber Security Centre has reported a rise in online scams exploiting the pandemic with the aim of obtain money from victims. It is critical for organisations to re-assess their data protection practices to cyber security and help protect themselves from experiencing data exposure and breaching GDPR.

Why is cyber security important?

• Damage to IT systems
• Loss or impairment of critical business data
• Loss or compromise of customer data
• Loss of use of customer facing websites
• Damage to brand or reputation and loss of public trust.

The increase in the number of individuals working from home poses even more risk to businesses as they become more reliant on their IT systems and employees often working on their own devices.

What steps can I take to be prepared for a cyber attack?

1. Protect data using strong passwords and encryption. Make sure you avoid using predictable passwords and provide secure storage for passwords.

2. Secure your computer, wireless network and mobile device. Often cyber criminals will gain entry by exploiting your software. To prevent this, ensure you keep all your applications and operating systems up to date.

3. Provide training against cyber treats. Your employees should know your cyber security policies and know how to report suspicious activity. Providing training on these topics should assist employees in reducing the risk of data exposure.

4. Consider having an offline back up. Back up your data regularly in more than one place and do not leave your backup connected to your device when not in use.

5. Understand phishing threats and how to respond. Phishing is a method cyber criminals use to gather information. They often send victims emails with links that will direct you to fraudulent websites, asking you to provide sensitive information. Providing real life examples through training can help employees understand what to look for and how to best deal with them.

6. Create an incident response plan. While cyber security programmes secure an organisations digital assets, an incident response plan provide steps in case a cyber attacks occurs. This will allow organisations to notify impact customers quickly and limit financial and reputational damages.

7. Use multi factor authentication. This adds a layer of security to protect against compromised credentials. Users must confirm their identity by providing extra information when attempting to access networks, e.g. phone number or security code.

What if my business becomes victim to a cyber attack?

Taking these steps can reduce the chances of you becoming a victim of a cyber-attack but it is impossible to eliminate the risk entirely. Cyber Insurance can help your business deal with and recover from any cyber attacks.

Covid-19 Business Interruption insurance – FCA sponsored court action

Covid-19 Business Interruption insurance – FCA sponsored court action 1920 1280 James Hallam

An initial judgement has been handed down in the Court case involving the FCA and a number of insurers regarding Business Interruption claims arising from the COVID-19 lockdown.

The good news for some policyholders who have a policy that was captured by the test case is that the judgement was largely (but not completely) in favour of them.

Those who lodged a claim where the outcome will be influenced by the judgement should have already received a letter or communication on or before 15th July 2020 from their insurer advising them of a “potentially affected claim”. These insurers will now update each policyholder within the next seven days regarding what they intend to do next, and we will monitor such activity. It is important to note that insurers may wish to appeal part or all of the judgement and if this is permitted by the Court, there will be a further delay before all claims are finalised.

Claimants who did not receive a communication that said they have a “potentially affected claim”, can infer that the judgement will not affect the earlier decision to decline and will not be reconsidered.

It is fair to reflect that almost all insurers were united in declaring that their policies were never intended to cover losses arising from an unforeseen pandemic and that they had not charged for such in their premiums. However, some insurers’ policy wordings were ambiguous and it was these policies that the financial regulator tested in this court process. Many other policies were clear and transparently worded and the FCA made it known that these policies and their associated claims would not be affected by the outcome of the case.

We will keep you advised of relevant developments.