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
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. https://activitiesindustrymutual.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/AIM-Property-cover-wording.pdf
The UK government has provided guidance on their website regarding the classification of COVID-19 falling within the same virus family as SARS. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-background-information/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-epidemiology-virology-and-clinical-features
The World Health Organisation has also produced some useful guidance. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/naming-the-coronavirus-disease-(covid-2019)-and-the-virus-that-causes-it
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.
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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/798451153625523/
Or follow us on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/company/activitiesindustrymutual/
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.