Ei Group, which owns more than 4,000 pubs in the UK, has advised its tenants to seek cover elsewhere after the company told its managers the novel virus is not included in the group’s policy with its insurer Zurich, according to The Guardian.
In a letter sent to its publicans, which has been seen by The Guardian, Ei Group said: “It has been confirmed Zurich is not including Covid-19 in its notifiable diseases section.
“As such, any business affected by Covid-19 will not be able to claim for loss of trade.”
Earlier this month (March), the Government declared coronavirus as a “notifiable disease” – a formal classification required by many insurance policies.
The letter added: “However, many of these existing policies cite specific diseases that businesses can claim for. As coronavirus is so new, it is not included in most of the lists.”
Ei Group wished not to comment any further.
False sense of security
Licensees Association chief executive Nick Griffin said: “While making it a notifiable disease, it could lull an awful lot of people into a full sense of security.
“We are seeing cases where people believe they are covered but they are not as a consequence of the coronavirus not being listed on their policy as a notifiable disease.
“It is imperative that we all check the level of our cover and if not covered, seek assistance.
“While the Government is out there saying, ‘don’t worry about it, you're going to be covered’, that's absolute nonsense.”
A report covered by The Morning Advertiser on 9 March, reiterated the issue that businesses are facing with their insurance policies not covering them for Covid-19, with operators being warned to check over them with a fine-tooth comb.
But the Licensees Association has secured access to an insurance policy with cover of up to £50,000 for pubs and two separate policies with cover for either £150,000 or £250,000 for hotels dependent on the premises.
A blind eye
And, because of the urgency of the situation, the association is opening these up to everyone, not just those who aren’t members of the association.
Licensees Association CEO Nick Griffin said: “Burying our heads in the sands is not the way forward. We need to be proactive about this because if you don’t act now, these sorts of covers will disappear.
“There are a lot of self-employed people out there in the pub sector and it can be an absolute nightmare because they’re not going to be able to pay their staff.
“So, turning a blind eye is no good right now.”
Griffin explained the application process is simple. Either email the Licensees Association or himself directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.