Reopening your business – things to consider

Thankfully the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak seems to be behind us and lockdown restrictions are easing on a weekly basis. While this is obviously cause for celebration, it also gives rise to new business risks and more potential headaches for business owners and directors.

During the lockdown period, the vast majority of commercial insurers relaxed their normal policy conditions to ensure that cover continued to be provided for companies who were shut down for extended periods.

As lockdown is easing and many businesses are returning to their premises, likewise insurers are beginning to re-impose their standard policy conditions. Therefore for those businesses who choose not to return to their premises, or who are unable to do so due to the government’s continued restrictions, they must notify their insurance providers and become familiar with any specific actions that must be taken to ensure that cover continues.

However, for those businesses who are now able to open – albeit with social distancing measures – there are a new set of challenges to consider.

As a company owner or director, you take on a duty of care not only to your customers and members of the public but also to your employees.  What this crisis has highlighted is quite how onerous that duty of care can be.

The good news is that with a well-structured insurance programme you will be adequately protected – however, insurers will expect that you take all reasonable precautions to minimise the risks.


Health & Safety

There is a significant amount of advice available for the Health & Safety procedures you should be considering, particularly on the HSE website

What we would highlight is that you should undertake a full review of your risk assessments and safe systems of work to ensure that your employees, visitors and customers are kept as safe as possible during these difficult times.

This should consider whether work can be completed with safe social distancing and, if not, what safety measures you can put in place to mitigate any risk.

In addition, employees should undertake training to ensure they are operating within the required safe systems and are aware of their responsibilities to themselves and to others.


Review emergency procedures

As part of the Health & Safety review, also consider your emergency response procedures, with particular attention to what you would do if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in your workplace.  Also consider your HR procedures and how you would deal with employees who may be affected by the virus.

Overall, the measures required to reopen your business are common sense and your insurers will work with you to provide cover while also urging you to act with care.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding either reopening or keeping your premises locked up, we’re always happy to help.


Sam Leeder ACII
Actus Insurance
0114 2903624
07718 189476