In this blog Richard Hearn, Head of Business Development Care & Charity discusses changes across the sector and checks that you should make on your policy for updates since COVID-19.

Towergate Insurance were pleased to be able to speak with the National Care Forum earlier this month and contribute towards the finance forum discussions around the matter of insurance and to hear conversations around issues that members are beginning to experience.

Changes across the sector
As we outlined, the insurance market has been through rapid change and contraction during the lockdown period for Social Care Providers, most adversely for those providing elderly or nursing care, with some significant movements in market approach.

There are the beginnings of change affecting the homecare market insurance providers, but most effects are impacting Elderly and Nursing Home sector providers. In these uncertain times the impact of COVID-19 has led insurers to review potential financial quantum and exposures around potential liability claims scenarios.

As a result of this review, a number of markets have withdrawn from offering insurance solutions to the sector with the majority of providers looking to pause offering terms to potential new clients and looking very closely at new startup operations. Some providers are starting to break existing Long Term Agreements (LTA), by either updating policy wordings at renewal or looking to increase rates, in some cases using a combination of both.

Should I check my policy for updates since COVID-19?
It is worth noting that a number of markets are taking the opportunity to update policy coverage and exclusions around COVID-19 exposures if a client undertakes or puts through a mid-term change to the policy coverage (i.e. adds or deletes a new location or increases/changes the policy limits). It is worth clarifying with your broker if such an action will have an impact on the wider policy wording and coverage that you are being provided.

We are aware of one insurer in the sector restricting cover to either exclude pandemics totally or extending current exclusions to include communicable disease which may go beyond a pandemic and could include Norovirus or the flu as examples. This should be clarified and checked with your current providers to determine if this is the case for you.

The cover provided under your Employers Liability protection should be unaffected by these exclusions as Employers Liability is a statutory protection that insurers must provide and underwriters are unable to alter or amend, but if you are ever unsure, always check with your broker.

You may not have been affected by these market updates as yet, due to having a renewal date outside of March-June 2020, but as policies begin to approach renewal, it is unlikely that you will not be affected moving forward. We would strongly recommend that you contact your insurance broker at least 3 months ahead of a known renewal to discuss options and market movements, as these still continue to change on a regular basis. If your cover is arranged direct with an insurer, you may wish to consider contacting a broker as they will be able to give you a wider market perspective as opposed to one view only.

How can we assist?
With over 40 years of experience working in the Care Sector our specialist Caring Professions team are there to assist and share their knowledge of the insurance sector with their clients.
Towergate Insurance are partners with Care England, NCF, UKHCA and a number of regional associations and this gives us valuable insight into the Care Sector. We are actively engaging with local Government officers to provide updates on market restrictions. We also offer to speak with the CQC oversight committee about challenges within the insurance sector and 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.

Towergate will be happy to discuss your insurance needs or advise on market updates. To find out more about how we can assist you please call us on 0800 169 4616 or email [email protected], our Head of Care Corporate Business Development.