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NEWS: What you need to know about insurance policies and Coronavirus

We have received an increased number of phone calls from childcare providers concerned about the potential impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on their settings.

We know that this is worrying time for our members and we will continue to support them as best we can.

Public Liability Insurance (PLI), which is required by all registered persons, is designed to provide cover primarily against the accident or death of a child in a setting, or damage or injury to a third party.

PACEY’s PLI policy does not cover loss of earnings because the research we’ve undertaken into loss of earnings and business interruption cover has revealed that the premiums can be expensive and may not provide the level of cover you were expecting.

We are aware of people actively seeking PLI policies on the promise that they will be covered for loss of earnings were their setting to temporarily close because of the current novel Coronavirus outbreak. We would urge extreme caution in pursuing loss of earnings insurance cover for COVID-19. Even though the government has registered COVID-19 as a notifiable disease, this still does not change insurance cover for many businesses.

We would also advise all childcare providers to read the small print, in detail, before taking out any new insurance policy.

Even with an insurance policy containing loss of earnings cover, it is likely that you would need to provide evidence that COVID-19 has been discovered on your premises and that you received an official closure notice from your local authority before any claim could be made. Some policies may also not cover your setting for the first few weeks of closures and/or are limited in terms of the total time period they will cover.

If you choose to self-isolate, or if there is a blanket closure across childcare settings you may not be covered by your insurance for any losses. It is also worth noting that any ‘loss of earnings’ pay-out is often capped at a set amount, and is not a true reflection of the potential revenue you could lose. In addition, because the risk of coronavirus is already known prior to taking out the policy, you will need to check your policy carefully to ensure you are covered.

If you are considering buying a new insurance policy with loss of earnings cover, we would strongly advise that you ask the following questions:

  • Am I covered if I self-isolate my setting?
  • Will I be covered if government advice forces a blanket closure of settings and no occurrence of the virus has occurred at my setting?
  • What evidence is required by the insurer if I wish to make a claim? 
  • How much can I claim for closure of my setting?
  • If I take out a new policy, can I make a claim against it given that I was aware prior to taking out the cover that Coronavirus was a risk?
  • Do I have to be closed for a certain period of time before I can claim?
  • What is the total time period covered if my setting had to close?

Current Government guidance remains that closure of settings in most cases is unnecessary. If the government changes that guidance to allow the closure of schools and early years settings, PACEY will be working to ensure that the government understands the inevitable impact this will have on early years settings, many of whom are already struggling due to the lack of sustainable government funding for early education places, and puts support in place for settings that have to close.

Please continue to check information on the PACEY website which is being updated on a daily basis: www.pacey.org.uk/coronavirus and continue to follow official government guidance.