There is a lot of uncertainty and confusion at this time as a result of COVID-19. To assist clients through this period we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to provide you with clarity around the main concerns clients typically have. We hope that you find this guidance helpful.
First and foremost: The basic principle still applies - remember to always act as though you are uninsured and, in a situation that may or will give rise to loss, always try and do whatever you can to minimise your loss and prevent further loss or damage from occurring. This is and remains important.
NFB Insurance Brokers remains operational during the national lockdown, albeit through remote working arrangements under our Business Continuity Plan. We are available to guide, support and assist you during this challenging time. Please email or phone us with any questions you have relating to your policy, if you have a claim during this period please advise us immediately and we will guide you on the process to follow as usual.
Are the insurance companies operational during the lockdown?
- Yes. Insurance has been classified as an “essential service”. Therefore, all insurance companies are operational with the majority of their staff working remotely from home.
- There may, however, be delays due to the uncertainty around the effective deployment of technology in a very extraordinary environment.
Will insurers discount premiums during the lockdown?
- Insurers have not communicated to us that they will be discounting premiums.
- If your business is not operational during lock down it may mean that your exposure or risk has decreased in certain areas and you may potentially be able to reduce your cover and decrease your premium.
- Contact your NFB broker to discuss if you think that this is the case.
What if I can’t adhere to the Risk Management requirements insurers have imposed during the lock down or as a direct consequence of COVID-19?
- Given contractor and installer challenges that will occur insurers are aware that some of the services clients will need to employ to achieve compliance to their requirements will not be available.
- In this case insurers will allow a grace period – the period will differ with each insurer.
Will the emergency assist lines still operate during the lockdown?
- All emergency service providers should remain open as they are classified as an “essential service”.
- There may, however, be delays during the National lock down due to wider shutdowns and disruption to business as usual and/or increased demand.
Will I have cover as a business/business owner if I have allowed my employees to take the business’s computers and other electronic equipment to their houses so they can work remotely?
- The majority of insurers have expressly advised us that they will provide cover for electronic equipment that is being utilised by employees at their homes during shutdown.
- Please advise us if your employees are working at home so we can notify your insurer accordingly.
What will happen if I have a non-motor claim during lockdown?
- Please notify us of any loss that occurs so we can in turn notify your insurer.
- The nature of claim will determine whether or not it can be processed and finalised during the national lockdown.
What will happen if I cannot pay my insurance premium as a consequence of the lockdown/COVID-19?
- If your insurance premium is returned unpaid in April the insurers will continue to “hold covered” on your policy.
- In May they will double debit your account for the April and May premiums.
- If this double debit is returned the policy will automatically cancel effective the 31st of March 2020.
What happens if I had an accident with my motor vehicle before the lock down and my vehicle is with a repairer?
- There will be repair delays as panel beaters are not deemed an essential service and therefore cannot operate during the lock down.
What happens if my motor vehicle was written off prior to shut down and I have not been paid by the insurer?
- Claims will not be settled without a deregistration certificate.
- The national lockdown may impact the ability of the licensing authorities to issue deregistration papers.Therefore, delays in processing are likely.
What happens if I have a motor vehicle accident during lock down and my vehicle is not drivable?
- Personal policies – phone the emergency assist number and they will dispatch a tow truck.
- All towing providers have been given instructions to take vehicles to central tow destinations for safe keeping at limited storage rates and fees.
- If you do not know the emergency assist number contact your NFB Broker or our office and we will provide you with the number.
- Commercial policies – Contact your NFB broker or our office and will advise you which towing operators to utilise.
What happens if I have a motor vehicle accident during lockdown and my motor vehicle is drivable?
- Where possible the claim will be assessed digitally – photographs will be required from all claimants in order to process digital assessments.
- All drivable vehicle repairs will be regarded as delayed repairs until lock down is uplifted.
Are spare parts available to repair motor vehicles?
- South Africa relies heavily on imported motor spares and the world wide lock down has disrupted the supply chain with some major brands closing factories worldwide this will have a negative impact on the availability of motor vehicle parts.
What happens if my car is being repaired or it has been written off and I am driving a hired vehicle arranged by my insurance company?
- Clients whose vehicles are currently in repairs will be able to keep their hired cars for the duration of the lock down at no additional cost to them.
What will happen if I have a windscreen or glass claim?
- Glass service providers will operate with limited capacity and will prioritise the support of vehicles delivering essential services as defined by government.
My business cannot operate during the lockdown will I be able to claim for loss of income?
- Standard commercial insurance policies do not provide cover for loss of income as a result of the corona virus.
- Certain bespoke hospitality insurance products may provide limited cover for loss of income as a result of corona virus.
Will cover still be in place in respect of contract Sites that have had to close?
- The insured must take all reasonable precautions for the maintenance and safety of the site.Most policies allow for the total cessation of works up to a specific number of days – the market norm is 90 days.This gives clients comfort that only should the cessation of works or abandonment of the insured contract last longer than 90 days would the loss or damage be excluded.
A word of warning : Be mindful of Covid-19 scams
- There have been reports of thieves going from door-to-door pretending to be paramedics offering coronavirus testing, similar crimes are also being committed online.
- There are e mails offering products such as masks, or fake offerings of vaccines, leading to phishing websites.
- These e mails come from seemingly realistic and reputable companies which manipulate people into clicking on links.
- Cybercriminals are also using SMS phishing to trick victims into clicking on a link disguised as information on a Coronavirus breakout in their area to steal their credentials.
- Once criminals have the correct level of confidential information about a victim’s bank account, they can impersonate the victim and transact using the correct credentials but without authority.