COVID-19 Insurance Update for Ageas, Axa and Origin Underwriting – Unoccupied Property and Home Working

If you have an Ageas, Axa or Origin Underwriting Liability or Property insurance policy arranged through Darwin Clayton, there are some important temporary cover changes to help you through this difficult period:


Unoccupied Property

For the next 90 days from 24th March 2020, existing cover will be maintained for Policyholders premises that have become temporarily unoccupied as a consequence of Government action or advice relating to COVID-19.

Ageas will not be restricting cover during this time. This is subject to the Policyholder taking best endeavours to ensure that policy conditions and security of the premises are managed and maintained, while still following government advice.

Home Working

For the next 90 days – from 24th March 2020 – where a policy does not already allow for Employees to work remotely, Ageas will automatically accept this position without needing to be notified. The Policyholder will need to ensure that the sums insured in respect of any all risks computers and/or business equipment away from the premises is adequate.

To assist during this period, Ageas are automatically providing cover for up to £50,000 (per policy) of computer equipment and business equipment in transit, to and at employee’s homes. There will be no additional charge in premium, on a first loss basis for the next 90 days (from 24th March 2020). This temporary automatic cover will cease at the end of the period.

Axa and Origin Underwriting

Unoccupied Property – Compulsorily closed

Currently, Axa and Origin have confirmed that for premises temporarily unoccupied by virtue of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions in cover and unoccupancy conditions will not apply until 15th June 2020. With the end of this period fast approaching, Axa and Origin have recently announced that these concessions will continue up to and including 15th July for Policyholders that remain compulsorily closed (those that must remain closed under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations as appropriate for England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland), with no additional terms applying to these Policyholders. Subject also to the temporarily closed premises condition:

Temporarily Closed Premises Condition

Temporarily Closed means premises temporarily closed up to and including the 15th July solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak (and such premises will not be regarded as unoccupied as defined in the Policy).

Axa would recommend wherever possible normal precautions should be taken – details of these are on Coronavirus Hub:

Unoccupied Property – Not Compulsorily closed

For businesses where the closure is not compulsory, but choose to remain temporarily closed, the unoccupancy conditions/empty buildings condition of the policy will apply from 16th June. This requires you to declare to us where a building or premises is unoccupied. We will then liaise with underwriters and advise them of the situation, to ensure that you continue to be covered.

For premises which remain short-term unoccupied due to home-working or staff furloughing due to COVID-19, Origin and Axa will not:

  • increase the rate or premium charged, or restrict the perils covered, unless the previous loss experience illustrates an underlying cause for concern;
  • require the removal of contents or stock from the premises;
  • require the Insured to seal letterboxes;
  • require the water supply to be isolated at the mains and all systems drained down, unless the business plans to be closed beyond the 15 August – if this is the expectation please let us know.

During this period however Origin and Axa will be looking for your premises to be appropriately secured and protected as follows:

  • the building must be inspected internally and externally at least once per week;
  • all refuse and waste materials must be removed from the premises;
  • the building must be secured, and all protective locks/alarms activated;
  • any building/premises with a Material Damage sum insured larger than £5m will require an intruder alarm, to a standard acceptable to Origin and AXA, to be fitted and in use;
  • gas and electricity must be turned-off at the mains (other than any electricity supply supporting any intruder or fire alarm).

If you have any queries regarding the above or feel that you are unable to comply with the stipulations, please contact your usual dedicated contact at Darwin Clayton, who will endeavour to work with you and Insurers, to achieve a workable solution for you.

Home Working

Many of Axa’s policies already extend contents cover to include cover whilst away from the premises and/or specifically at the homes of employees. Where a policy does not include this cover, Axa will extend coverage for contents temporarily removed to the homes of employees due to the outbreak, up to £2,500 any one item and in total. Subject to normal policy terms and conditions other than requirements for Alarms or Fire Suppression systems.

Axa Employers and Public Liability Insurances will not be affected due to any need for employees to work from home.

If your Liability or Property insurance is arranged with a different Insurer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual Darwin Clayton contact to discuss any queries or assistance you may require with your cover.

Related Articles.