England entered a third national lockdown with effect from January 5th 2021. The financial implications from the repeated suspension of trading are considerable for our customers, and we sympathise with your frustrations.
The law now insists that people must stay at home unless it is totally unavoidable, which has an inevitable domino effect across service and supply industries beyond the customer facing markets. Accordingly Connect have again noticed a considerable dip in our enquiries and new business uptake in response to the latest lockdown, undoubtedly due to the reduction in footfall, customer’s business closures and financial hardship we are all facing. There are less taxi’s on the roads, nobody is booking holidays, businesses are going bankrupt or into hibernation, even every day families are allowing policies to lapse simply because they cannot afford to renew when prioritising their expenditure.
As Connect service some clients with disabilities or impairments which make it difficult to conduct business over the telephone, our reception remains open for visiting customers. We must however remind you of the regulation regarding the wearing of a face covering inside business premises if possible; Connect Insurance will never challenge you or demand proof of exemption regarding this.
We are grateful for the positive feedback we are receiving despite the difficulties of the restrictions from customers like Peter who stated: “Excellent service in these troubled times” to Nicola who emailed in to praise our Personal Lines Manager Tom stating “after calling nearly 15 different insurance companies to get a quote for a shared motorhome for the army, Tom offered more support, guidance and general
positivity than all other companies combined.”
Our operating hours remain the same as usual, though we are running at reduced staffing to allow us a safeguard in the event that a staff member tests positive for Covid-19. Operating at half of our staff allows us to rotate our entire staffing if necessary for the safety and protection of both us, and you.
We remain open, we remain responsive, and we remain optimistic that these hard times shall pass.
Clients experiencing financial difficulties.
On the 18th May 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority introduced new measures for insurance and premium finance firms to help clients in financial difficulty. Should you be experiencing financial hardship, or if things change at work or home, we may be able to help by:
- Re-assessing your demands & needs
- Reviewing levels of cover
- Adding or removing optional covers such as legal expenses
- Adding or removing people on your policy
Where amendments to your insurance cover does not alleviate your payment difficulties, you should contact your finance provider directly as further support may be available, which could potentially include:
- The possibility of deferring payments (refer to FAQ’s)
- Reduced repayments, or rescheduled term
- Waiving missed or late payment fees
- Amending your repayment date without any cost
- Reducing interest payments
It is important that customers do not leave themselves uninsured, so we encourage you to contact us to discuss the options available if you are struggling to afford your payments during this uncertain time.
Payment Deferral FAQ
A payment deferral is an arrangement under which a firm permits a customer that pays their insurance premium in instalments to make no payments for a specified period.
You should contact your insurer or finance provider direct.
No, nor would the provider or any third party such as broker or debt collector be allowed to cancel the policy or collect payment during the deferral period.
One to three months however, the provider can grant a longer extension should they wish.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would not expect a customer to be liable to pay any charge or fee in connection with the granting of a payment deferral.
Post and paper-based documents
We continue to handle all post (incoming and outgoing), and paper-based documents such as cheques, as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure they are processed in a timely manner to safeguard policy cover.
Should you have any concerns about instructions or cheques you have sent which may not have been processed, or documents you believe you are due from us, please contact us urgently.
Our reception is now open to the public once again with newly installed safe distancing signage, perspex screens and PPE in compliance with all mandatory Government requirements.
Connect encourage all customers where this applies to contact their finance provider and discuss their options. Your finance provider will have been disclosed to you when taking out your insurance policy. They will have also contacted you with information relevant to your payment plan.
Connect would take this opportunity to remind customers that cancelling an insurance policy will forfeit any no claims bonus earned during this period, you will still be charged for time on risk and a cancellation fee as per your policy documentation, and also you will need to pay a new deposit when setting up your next insurance policy. If possible we would encourage customers to keep their insurance active during this period of uncertainty.
Throughtout the pandemic, our claims line remains open 24/7.
Please be aware that the UK insurance market does not include blanket business interruption cover for pandemics. Pandemics are not considered to be insurable due to the widespread economic impact across whole societies which would be beyond the financial capacity of the general insurance market. Business Interruption is intended to cover damage caused by fire, floods, theft and similar, whereas Specified Diseases is unable to provide cover for Covid-19 as this was not a known diseases when the policy was arranged.
You can get in touch on: 01782 665544