Industry needs help to ease clients’ tier fears

Insurers and brokers have been urged to become more proactive in helping their clients mange the risks that ongoing lockdown tiers present.

On the day the UK Government moved the country into harsher lockdown conditions the managing director of risk management software platform supplier, Balkerne, has said the industry could do more for their retail and hospitality clients to better manage the risks of another national lockdown.

Jonathan Crook said the insurance industry needed to act to ensure firms could better plan for the risks that changes to the tier system can present.

“Business interruption has put the future of thousands of UK businesses at risk and the Supreme Court test case over whether BI policies should respond has only added to the uncertainty,” he said. “However, there is more that insurers and brokers can do to support firms, particularly those in the hospitality sector, to better manage the risks that forced closure present.”

Crook said Balkerne’s SmartResilience risk management platform has the capability to analyse COVID infection data from a large number of sources and can accurately assess whether the tiers are likely to change in the coming weeks.

“Pubs, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets have undergone a series of forced closures,” he added. “They are focused on managing the businesses almost day to day, so their brokers and insurers have a role to play.

“For businesses that rely on perishable goods to operate, such as cafes, bars, and restaurants the ability to plan for any change in their tiering system is vital. To be alerted that they are likely to be forced to close will enable them to amend or cancel food orders in good time. The past year has seen many firms forced to simply give food away or face watching it rot.

“Brokers and insurers can support their clients by providing support to manage those risk. They have access to significant amount so data. They can use the data to alert policyholders if there are likely to be material changes in their ability to operate during the pandemic. It will not only reduce the size of a potential claim but it may also be the difference between the client closing down during any forced lockdown and having to shut for good.”

Balkerne said the same can be said for firms which may be set to come out of a tier which had forced their closure.

“For businesses it is the uncertainty that is impairing their ability to survive,” added Mr Crook. “If insurers and brokers were able to alert their clients that the data was pointing to the ability to re-open it would allow them to begin preparations and be ready from day one. If you have been closed for some months making the most of every day you are able to operate is vital.

“There has never been a time when proactive risk management can better prove its value.”