The Government has ordered an extensive list of different kinds of businesses and venues in the UK to close due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Pubs, restaurants, hotels, salons, museums, cinemas, gyms, places of worship and all but essential retailers have all been forced to close their doors. As a result, a large number of commercial premises have been rapidly mothballed because of the Covid-19 threat.
As the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) warned recently: “Owners, landlords and tenants will still need to maintain their buildings for security purposes; to achieve statutory compliance; and to protect the fabric and critical systems as well as satisfying any insurance implications.”
These insurance implications in particular, appear to be unclear: “We’re already seeing quite a bit of confusion around this issue,” said David Reynolds, RiskSTOP’s Head of Risk Engineering and Surveys. “While some may think there’s little difference between a mothballed premises and a vacant property, under the current circumstances it is really not as simple as that.
“To begin with, there is usually some advance planning when it comes to a premises becoming unoccupied. Most often contents are removed and services shut-down. However, the speed of change as a result of the Coronavirus has meant many have just had to abandon their properties, locking the doors behind them.”
David added: “We’re already seen widespread calls, particularly from insurance brokers, for the industry to treat customers fairly under these unprecedented circumstances. An essential part of this must be offering advice and guidance to those who need it.
“As a result, we’ve prepared a checklist for anyone who has been forced into mothballing their premises because of the current crisis. We’re making this checklist available to underwriters and brokers, in the hope that they will use it to support policyholders and clients at this difficult time.”
Our ‘Guide to protecting mothballed premises during the Coronavirus crisis’ can be downloaded below and can be copied and adapted to suit your purposes – no permission needed.