COVID-19: Implications of a gradual unlocking of restrictions…
The Coronavirus pandemic is requiring businesses to be adaptable. As lockdown moves into a sustained period of incremental relaxation, what are the implications likely to be?
For some months now, a series of ever-tighter restrictions have been put in place on businesses and citizens to limit the transmission of COVID-19, with the rest of 2020 seemingly set to be characterised by the gradual removal of these restrictions. Having such significant changes to the rule of law come about on an almost weekly basis has posed a significant challenge for the insurance industry’s risk profile.
The first challenge is keeping abreast of what the legislative situation was at any given time. Keoghs have previously produced a frequently updated timeline of COVID-19 measures to help their clients navigate this landscape, and the industry too has reacted through a series of major market initiatives.
Early on in the crisis the ABI extended the personal injury protocol, and have done so on a rolling basis ever since. More recently the ABI, in conjunction with the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ASCO), have carried out a review of the Statement of Intent for progressing claims during the crisis, extending this statement until 5 June. The Civil Justice Council has also taken steps to adapt to the crisis, launching a consultation into the impact of COVID-19 measures on the civil justice system. Keoghs has been engaged in all of these market initiatives as part of its ongoing work to support clients through this crisis.
Attention is now turning to how to relax the measures of the past few months without risking a second peak of the virus. The Government published a 60-page “plan to rebuild” earlier this week and took the first step to relaxing some of the most stringent lockdown measures, with certain businesses encouraged to look into how to bring their employees back to work safely. There have also been steps taken to look into how businesses in a wide variety of sectors can re-open given the continued necessity for distancing restrictions – and Ministerial taskforces have been set up to conduct this work.
The re-opening up of businesses and employees returning to work has meant that workplaces have had to hurry to provide the necessary social distancing infrastructure. Undoubtedly, the way in which businesses adapt to the ever-changing new reality of the COVID-19 environment is going to be vital both for them and their insurers.