Many charities and voluntary organisations are having to find alternative ways to maintain business and service continuity due to COVID-19. In many cases that means vacating your normal premises and working from home. The purpose of this communication is to give some guidance on the insurance implications associated with this new way of working.
Firstly, the vast majority of insurance policies will continue to cover employers’ and public liability as staff and volunteers work from temporary locations, but you may need to review the amount of cover you have for equipment that is temporarily removed. Insurers will be flexible in accommodating increased exposures if required.
You may also have made changes to your charity’s activities or have moved into different areas to maintain a level of service. If you have done so, it may be necessary to let us know so we can review the description of your activities noted on your policy. Again, insurers are being as accommodating as possible with such temporary changes.
Temporarily Unoccupied Buildings
Below is some general guidance being issued by insurers in respect of buildings that are temporarily vacated, specifically due to COVID-19. Please refer to your policy documents to identify which insurer guidance is applicable to you or contact us and we can clarify this for you.
General Vacant Building Guidance
The safety of you and your employees/volunteers are a priority so the following guidance should be considered or implemented only if it is practicable and/or in line with current Government guidelines:-.
- Waste – Remove all external waste, pallets and empty skips before closure of the premises.
- Waste bins – Empty all waste bins and move to a secure area, ideally at least 10 metres from the building. If it is not possible to keep at least 10 metres then these bins should have lockable lids.
- Fire Systems – Ensure all fire and/or sprinkler systems remain fully operational.
- Fire Doors – Check to ensure that internal fire doors are closed.
- Building Utilities – Ensure all non-essential electrical devices and building utilities are turned off.
- Inspections – Arrange for a weekly inspection of the building (internally and externally), risk assess for any lone working issues. Comply with existing government guidance regarding vulnerable people and lone worker risk assessments. Consider the provisioning for alternative skilled personnel.
- Physical Security – Check that physical security measures are in place and effective. For example, fences are fit for purpose and in good repair, windows are locked, shutters are in place, gates are locked.
- Intruder Alarm – Set Intruder alarms and ensure that the remote signalling is in place. Make sure there are a sufficient number of key holders available to respond to an activation within 20 minutes.
- Maintenance – As long as it is practical, continue essential maintenance and complete any remedial measures. Continue to respond to all Building Management Systems (BMS) alerts.
Temporary Site Closure Checklist
Here is a short checklist that we have developed to help secure the building and to use as a reference point for regular checks during temporary closedown periods.
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About BHIB Charities Insurance
BHIB Charities Insurance specialise in providing tailored cover for community groups, clubs, societies, voluntary organisations and hobby or special interest groups. We offer more than just insurance and we are passionate about supporting local communities.