COVID 19 – Latest Update

Supporting our Members through COVID 19 – UPDATE 4

It has been an incredibly busy time at AIM as the team work through all of the enquiries that have arisen from our Members.  We appreciate that some of you may have been waiting patiently for answers to your questions and are thankful for your understanding.  The AIM team may be small in number, however it is a dedicated one and we are doing our very best to respond to each of you as soon as we can.

If you have a query regarding your cover please send us an email in the first instance to [email protected] – stating your Business Name and your Renewal Date in any correspondence, as this will help us to work through the enquiries as effectively as possible.  Those with an imminent renewal date will be handled as a priority.

We hope that the offer of the payment holiday has been well received and helped those who have taken this up.

Other News – Helplines

AIM have been working with ARAG to provide Legal Expenses cover to all AIM Members at a very competitive cost. ARAG are a leading legal expenses provider offering an extensive range of legal insurance and assistance products and services. The launch of this has been delayed due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak and downturn in business activity, however ARAG have confirmed that they would be happy for AIM Members to have access to and utilise the following services in the meantime:-

Telephone helplines

Legal advice on business matters within UK and EU law:  0344 571 7978

Redundancy assistance, 9am to 5pm weekdays: 0330 303 1955

UK tax advice, 9am to 5pm weekdays: 0344 571 7978

Counselling service: 0333 000 2082

Examples where ARAG might be able to help are:-

  • Advice and support on employment rights and obligations such as statutory sick pay and duty of care
  • Advice and support on debt issues
  • Counselling Assistance – this provides professional counselling services by phone and is available to workers and employees suffering stress or anxiety due to disruption caused to their daily routines or distress caused as a result of the virus.
  • Professional public relations expertise to protect your reputation following adverse publicity that has arisen as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak that affects your business reputation.

We understand that you simply need to state you are a member of the Activities Industry Mutual when calling..  Please do let us know your feedback should you take advantage of the service on offer.

Government Support for Business

The Government announced that the Furlough Scheme cut-off date has been extended to 19 March 2020.  Employers can claim for furloughed employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.  If you believe you are eligible for support you can access the link here:

 Cover Availability

It has been reported that another provider of activity insurance has exited the market, leaving many activity providers without cover once they reach their renewal date.  We want to reassure members that AIM has always maintained a rigorous risk-assessment criteria when assessing new applications. It is this attention to detail and high standards which means that we can offer value, security and continuity of cover no matter how volatile the economy.

 Ofcom – Scam Texts and Calls

 We have been notified of the following Scam Texts and Calls which you may like to make yourself aware of:-

Member Profiles

Each month we produce a Member Profile to promote on our website and social media. It would be great to hear from Members if you would like to be profiled, examples of these can be found in the News section of our website. Please email [email protected]

Please join our closed Facebook group

Or follow us on LinkedIn



COVID 19 Update – AIM help for Members

This has been an extremely distressing and stressful time for us all and we are acutely aware of how severe the impact of this pandemic has been for all our Members.   We have been working hard to be able to assist you and to answer your requests for payment holidays while many of you have businesses which have closed and all have cashflow problems.

AIM wants to do all we can to assist our Members. 

Those who have paid their contribution in full as one payment are being contacted separately.

For those Members who make monthly payments, we are offering a 3 month holiday break from payments for the period 1st May to end July 2020.  During this period, we will not expect you to make the usual monthly payment, and will allow until 30th September 2020 for these payments to be paid.  Your cover will continue.  If however you have any claims during this period (liability or property), we will need to receive payment in full for any missed months before being able to handle any claim for you.  If you are unable to make the payments by the 30th September 2020, please contact us.  If payments cannot be made up then we may have to cancel your cover.  If you do not want to have the payment holiday, please let us know immediately, otherwise we will not take any monies for these three specified months.

Alternatively if you are not able to carry out any activities, and only have Public Liability cover, you may prefer to pause your cover for a 3 month period until 31st July 2020, or until you are able to resume activities if earlier or later.  During this period, we would not seek any contributions from you if you have requested a pause in your cover but there would not be any cover in place during this time.  You will need to advise us as soon as you are able to recommence activities so we can ensure you have the correct cover in place.

Property and Employers’ Liability covers continue and we recommend to Members that you keep these covers in place.  These contributions will still be due, but are included in the payment holiday as above.

Business Interruption

In addition we wish to reassure Members that we have been in correspondence with the Mutual’s backing insurers regarding the Business Interruption wording and whether or not cover will be afforded by the insurer.  Those discussions continue and whilst the current position remains that it is unlikely that cover will be available, we are reserving our position with them.  We will update Members with any developments, albeit this may take some time.


COVID 19 – AIM Latest Update

Supporting our Members through COVID-19 – UPDATE 2

It is hard to believe that just a few days ago we were all going about our daily lives. What a difference a week makes!

AIM will be producing regular updates on the COVID-19 situation around the UK and how it is affecting our Members and focusing on the positives. In this second update we summarise the last 7 days; answer the question of what to do to protect your buildings while they are temporarily closed; Help from AIM and the Government.

This week

After the weekend where everyone was advised to practice social distancing but to still get some exercise, on Monday, Boris Johnson announced that stricter measures would have to be rolled out because people weren’t taking COVID-19 Seriously. Images and videos were widely shared of large gatherings in parks and queues of people travelling to the Highlands and Snowdon like it was a Bank Holiday. Non-essential shops were closed and everyone was told to stay home except for essential travel to work, buying food and caring for vulnerable people.

On Thursday, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the long awaited support package for the self-employed and the Prince of Wales tested positive to COVID-19. In the evening people across the country came together to give a group round of applause from their doorsteps, gardens and balconies to NHS workers on the front line.

Today, Boris Johnson announced he was displaying mild symptoms and had tested positive.

AIM Members have been contacting us by email, phone and social media asking questions and sharing their experiences with us. We are so grateful for the words of support and the positive attitude from everyone. Despite the very difficult times you find yourselves in, there is a real feel of community. To repay your support AIM is working hard to respond to all the enquiries as quickly as possible as and when we have the answers as well as work on ways to ensure the cost of your cover isn’t an unnecessary drain on your finances.

Your Questions Answered

One of the common questions this week has been about property and what steps need to be taken to ensure cover is in place while your sites are closed.

To a certain degree, the usual rule book has to be thrown away because of the restrictions on your movement and how easily you can visit your premises. Furthermore, and to ensure you are not unfairly penalised, there will be no reduction in cover, no higher excesses or increased contribution as a result.

For premises that are temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak we recommend the following steps should be taken to protect against loss of damage.

  1. Utilities and Protection Systems

If your site is closed and there is no need to re-enter during the period in which the government advises people to remain in isolation you should turn off electricity, gas and water supplies at the mains (and where reasonable to do so drain down water systems) other than those services required to maintain:

    • critical business infrastructure to allow the operation of your business and support temporary home working arrangements
    • burglar and fire alarms
    • sprinkler systems
    • Other risk protection systems or devices i.e. CCTV.

Where practicable, you must maintain these systems in working order

    • locks and all other protective and security devices including gates and other perimeter security should be in use
    • where water systems have not been drained down and/or where there is a sprinkler installation you must maintain the central heating system to prevent freezing
  1. General good housekeeping
    • You should try to remove all internal waste and position external bins as at least 5 metres from the buildings (or otherwise as far as possible where this is not possible) and secure the bins in position where this is possible
    • Where possible and provided the travel to and from the premises is in line with the latest Government advice please try to undertake an internal and external inspection of your buildings at least every 7 days and rectify any defects in the fabric or security devices that may compromise the integrity or security of the building as soon as possible. It is advisable to keep a record of when the visits were carried out and what action you undertook to repair defects.
    • Please remove post from the letterbox during each visit
    • If you have an alarm that alerts you to either a break in or fire, it worth considering having a contingency plan in case the primary person(s) responsible for responding to alarm activations need to self-isolate or are ill.
    • Please let us know soon as you become aware of any illegal entry to the premises whether or not any damage has occurred
    • If we have made specific requirement of you with regards to security, and as a result of the ongoing situation you are unable to comply with these measures please contact your usual AIM contact and we will be happy to work with you to find a solution
Further help available from AIM

AIM has been working hard with the Board and our supporting insurers to identify what financial measures we can take to help our members. With such a diverse membership we need to explore lots of different scenarios which will help as many as possible. We are really close to being able to communicating these in the next couple of days.  Please bear with us, we really appreciate your patience and understanding.

What help is available from the Government?

As well as keeping an eye on the televised updates from the Government the following link provides lots of valuable information on the help being provided by the Government. They have also updated this page to include the help available to the self-employed.

Keeping updated

AIM will keep sending regular updates as and when more information is available to us as well as articles from around the sector which may be useful to you. We will send them via email and update our social media pages.

Please join our closed Facebook group

Or follow us on LinkedIn

If you would like to share your experiences and how you are dealing with them with the wider Membership please feel free to email us. We will try and include them with future updates.

COVID 19 – Support for Businesses – Government Guidance

We wanted to provide the latest Government Guidance on support for businesses.  This update includes the latest announcement surrounding self employed people through the Income Support Scheme :-


Employee ‘furlough’ scheme

On 20 March, the UK Government announced a series of wide-ranging measures to assist businesses and employees through the COVID-19 crisis, including a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”) (see the Chancellor’s speech here). Whilst details of the Scheme are sparse at this stage, we set out below answers to key questions our clients are asking about the Scheme:

1. What is the Scheme?

In brief, employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover 80% of the wages (up to a total of £2,500 per month) of employees who are not working but are “furloughed” and kept on payroll, rather than being dismissed. The Scheme is available to any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit.

It is not clear what is meant by “wages” in this context – whether it is just “basic pay” or includes allowances and bonuses paid in a prior reference period. Nor whether it includes employer pension and national insurance contributions. We understand further guidance will be issued shortly.

2. When will it apply?

The Government has announced that the Scheme will cover backdated wages from 1 March 2020, although it is likely to be some weeks before the payments are actually made under it.

3. How does an employer apply?

The details of application for the Scheme have not been announced yet as it is still being set up. We understand that an online portal is being set up for employers to notify HMRC and apply for the grant after the relevant employees have been notified that they are to be treated as furloughed.

4. What is a furloughed employee?

“Furlough leave” or “furloughed employee” are not familiar concepts under UK employment law. However, in this context, a furloughed employee is someone who rather than being dismissed for redundancy by their employer, is kept on the payroll during a period where the employer does not have any work for the employee.

Workers and self-employed individuals (independent contractors) are not covered by the Scheme. It is only intended to cover employees registered for PAYE purposes.

It does not apply to employees who have already been dismissed or made redundant – the Scheme is designed to reward employers who keep their employees on the books during the COVID-19 crisis by offering a significant wage subsidy.

Further, it does not appear to extend to:

  • subsidising wages where shorter hours or reduced pay have been negotiated in response to the COVID-19 crisis; nor
  • employees on sick leave or in isolation.

5. Does the Scheme create a legal right to place employees on furlough leave?

No, the Government has been clear that this announcement does not create a legal right to place employees on furlough leave. An employee’s status will be subject to employment law, and what is set out in their contract of employment.

Some employers may have what is called a lay-off clause in their contract, which allows them to send employees home without pay for a limited period, or they may have a practice of operating such an arrangement so that there is an implied contractual right to do it. This is rare however and most employers do not have the contractual right to lay staff off without pay. The position for them is that if they send employees home because there is insufficient work then those employees should continue to be paid. If they are not paid or there is no contractual right to send them home in the absence of work, then the employer could face claims for the unpaid wages (in the form of breach of contract or unlawful deduction from wages claims) and potentially constructive dismissal claims.

The Scheme is designed to cover both scenarios:

  • where an employer has a lay-off clause, the Scheme will see employees receive 80% of their salary (up to the £2,500 monthly cap) as opposed to the zero pay they would otherwise be entitled to; and
  • where there is no lay-off clause, the Scheme will see Government contribute the same amount towards the employers’ contractual obligation to pay staff their wages during a period of no work.

6. Do employers need consent to place employees on furlough leave and are they obliged to pay the shortfall in wages above the Government contribution?

If an employer does not have a contractual right to enforce temporary leave then it will need consent to place an employee on furlough leave. If an employer unilaterally places an employee on furlough leave, it runs the risk of a constructive dismissal claim, although in current circumstances, the risk of such a claim would appear low, particularly when the alternative for employees is likely to be the loss of their job entirely.

More significantly perhaps is the position regarding the pay due to the employee in excess of the Government contribution. Unless an employer has the right to reduce pay during a period of temporary leave, then it will be obliged to make up any shortfall and continue benefits during any period of furlough, unless employees agree to reduced pay (perhaps to avoid a risk that the employer has to make redundancies)

Article Credit: Mayer Brown

COVID 19 – AIM Latest Update

Supporting our Members through COVID-19 – UPDATE 1

In light of the ongoing situation relating to COVID-19 and the unprecedented level of enquiries the AIM team are receiving from you, the Members, we wanted to let you know what is being done behind the scenes to support you.

A word from the AIM Board

“The AIM team are working tirelessly to respond to emails and calls as quickly as possible.

We want to assure you that we are working with the AIM team, our supporting Insurers and the Membership to identify positive steps we can take on behalf of Members. In particular we are looking to see if we can make a contribution refund to members to reflect their lost revenue and reduction in risk or payment holidays.

As a board we are lobbying Government to take whatever steps are necessary to enable our Members to be able to trade through this crisis, and we will communicate further to you on this soon.

As members of the AIM Board, as well as providers in the activities sector, we understand the difficult decisions you are making on a daily basis to protect your staff and businesses in these unprecedented times.”

Andrew Gardiner (Chairman) Acorn Adventure,

Bob Edwards – Stubbers Adventure Centre,

Peter Gordon – Rockley Watersports,

Paul Reeve – The Foundry,

David Eddins – Mendip Outdoor Pursuits


Current Position

Our focus remains the well-being of our Members and Employees. We aim to maintain the same scope of service to everyone and have set up remote working for all our staff to help with the national effort to slow the spread of the virus.  The AIM team are all working to answer emails and phone calls as quickly as possible.

From the nature of enquiries we are receiving, we know anxiety levels are high and difficult decisions are being made by all our Members. AIM is working to provide updates on how we can help whenever the situation changes. We are working closely with the Board and our supporting insurers to identify what assistance is available. Please bear with us while we consider all the options.

The biggest concern of our Members and the most common question they raise is regarding Business Interruption cover and whether or not COVID-19 is covered. We have been liaising with our supporting insurer to clarify the wording and the answer is that it is not covered.  While the cover is wider than most of our competing insurers in that is does include Notifiable Infectious Diseases, there is an overarching exclusion for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which means COVID-19 is also excluded. We understand this is not the news our affected members want to hear, it is however not unique to AIM and not inconsistent with the wider insurance market who have exclusions with similar effect. We are working hard to find ways we can help our diverse membership in other ways.

Details of the exclusion and limits can be found in our full cover wording on our website. Starting on Page 32 with the relevant exclusions on the bottom of page 38 and 39.


The UK government has provided guidance on their website regarding the classification of COVID-19 falling within the same virus family as SARS.


The World Health Organisation has also produced some useful guidance.


Your Questions Answered

We wanted to include some FAQs. Some are more positive than others but we want to ensure members are aware of the facts directly from AIM rather than by word of mouth. We will answer as many more in future updates as we can.


Q: I understood that an agreement had been made between the government and insurers that insurers would accept government advice for people not to attend ‘venues’ as a trigger for the Business Interruption claim rather than requiring a confirmed case at the actual premises or a specific order to shut down

A: This agreement will benefit a very limited number of businesses that have specific insurance in place to cover Pandemics. Unfortunately, this does not change the cover provided by AIM.

Q: Can we delay our contribution payments?

A: We are working with the Board to explore all possible assistance to our members, given their wide diversity.

Q: If we continue to offer activities will we be covered?

A: A number of Members have offered to run session for children of Key Workers. In light of the current advice we advise all members should be observing social distancing and self-isolation guidance unless specifically working with schools open for Key Workers children. If you are working with schools, we advise you only provide activities which can be run in line with current COVID-19 advice from Public Health England and carry out a specific risk assessment which is regularly reviewed.

Further help available from AIM

AIM has been working hard with the Board and our supporting insurers to identify what financial measures we can take to help our members. With such a diverse membership we need to explore lots of different scenarios which will help as many as possible. We will communicate these in the next couple of days.

We are lobbying the Government to ascertain their definition of the help they have offered to ensure that this includes our industry for the best possible outcome. We are also pushing hard for more assistance for freelancers.

What help is available from the Government?

We are sure everyone has been following the Government daily televised updates regarding the steps being taken to protect the public against the spread of COVID-19. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has been announcing what assistance is available to businesses, and most recently the confirmation the UK Government will underwrite salaries by 80%, the details and what other help is available can be found here.

We know that Freelancers are still waiting to hear what support is coming from the Government and the feeling is that an update is due soon. In the meantime, we have seen the following from Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert which is worth watching.

Keeping updated

AIM will keep sending regular updates as and when more information is available to us as well as articles from around the sector which may be useful to you. We will send them via email and update our social media pages.

Please join our closed Facebook group

Or follow us on Linkedin

If you would like to share your experiences and how you are dealing with them with the wider Membership please feel free to email us. We will try and include them with future updates.