Coronavirus, Cover & Care

Insurers apply cover changes to care homes

A few months ago no-one was talking about coronavirus with just a few news items about a disease in far off China.

Fast forward and here we are. Some amazing and inspiring tales have been told about the way care providers and their teams have tried their best to keep everyone safe and spirits up. Of course, there are some questions being asked of how things could, or should, have been better for the social care sector when all the initial attention was seemingly placed on the NHS.

At the earliest point of the Government lockdown measures it was said that there would need to be an understanding that normal working practices would have to change, that there would be challenges but it should be recognised that we aren’t in normal times and so tolerance and lenience would need to apply.

However, as we hopefully pass the peak, some Care Home Insurers are starting to shift their position.

Whilst the vast majority of business interruption policies do not provide cover for coronavirus causing lost income the liabilities element of an insurance policy were operating as normal but now some care home insurers are removing cover for claims from employees or relatives holding the care provider responsible for them contracting coronavirus. 

Some have even stopped offering care home insurance cover entirely.

There have always been differences between insurance policies, most buried in the policy wording and not the schedule, the document most policyholders use when arranging insurance. There now appears to be a further, severe, restriction on the cover available so great care should be taken to understand what changes are being made to your business insurance policy at renewal.

Already we are seeing articles and adverts from solicitors actively discussing the potential for claims that might be brought against care home owners. Whilst it will be difficult to prove the claimant contracted coronavirus in the home it is also the case that the care provider needs to demonstrate that the measures they took, infection control, risk assessments, provision of PPE etc. were thorough and appropriate.

If you have not created a coronavirus policy or risk assessment it is something you should put in place. Document your methods and risk management processes. Be able to demonstrate how you managed PPE procurement and provision to employees.

It is this information that will enable your insurers to defend you should you receive a claim and the more detailed and thorough it is, the better.

Care home owners and managers currently have so much to do it might seem sensible to just renew your care home insurance policy but please take the time to check for any changes or restrictions on the policy cover that may have been applied, seek advice from your broker, seek alternative advice, if you can, so as to be certain your business, employees and residents are protected