As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop we want to let you know that we’re here for you.
We've introduced support measures for our small and medium business (SME) customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. This includes deferred premium payments, continued insurance cover for vacant business premises and cover for commercial motor policies where vehicles are no longer on the road.
What information do we require to confirm that a customer is suffering financial hardship and eligible for support?
Deferred premium payments
Which businesses are eligible to defer premium payments for up to six months? (This excludes Workers Compensation, Accident & Health and CTP)
To defer annual payments please:
- Extend your credit terms to the customer
- Email Payment Solutions via email@example.com detailing the credit terms offered so we can make a note of the action that’s been agreed
- Remit payment to QBE once you receive it from the client.
To defer monthly payments please contact QBE via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the deferral plan before confirming with the customer so we can advise on the best way to support each request. We appreciate that some of our partners are not set up for instalment billing and prefer to use premium funding, however, if you would like to discuss being set up to offer instalment billing, please contact your eBusiness Advisor.
Has consideration been given to how premium funding might assist the cash flow position of brokers/agents during the premium deferral period?
We support our brokers/agents in looking at the best payment options to support customers, including the use of premium funding.
QBE’s standard process applies. For annual policies, commission is deducted via the remittance process from broker to insurer.
For instalment policies, once policy payments resume, commission shall be applied on a pro-rata basis over remaining policy period and settled with brokers as per normal process.
Where we have a policy in force and have agreed to defer payments, we cannot backdate cancellations to the deferment start date and void the contract. We are, however, within our rights to cancel the cover from the end date of the agreed deferment period. We will take each customer’s circumstances into account when determining how we approach premium debt should the customer decide to cancel at the conclusion of the deferment period. We will not be automatically writing-off time on risk premium for polices cancelled at the conclusion of the deferment period.
We have added a new drop down option for Cancellation and Lapse reasons in c.change/sunrise to allow our brokers to select ‘Covid 19’ as the reason for the Cancellation/Lapse. Please select this option where appropriate. Note – this is not available on all broker platforms.
SME customers that close their businesses due to COVID-19 restrictions and consequently have unoccupied premises can maintain cover on their premises with no increase to their premium due to vacancy. Specifically, we will provide existing SME customers continued cover on the premises with no changes to terms, conditions, premium or excess while relevant COVID-19 restrictions affecting their businesses remain in force.
For best practice risk management considerations for temporarily unoccupied premises during COVID-19, please read our risk management guidance. Any premises that remain unoccupied after relevant Government directions are lifted will be considered subject to the policy’s unoccupied building conditions after a period of seven days.
For eBusiness policies:
- Where the insured is the Property owner:
- and the tenant is not operating due to COVID-19 restrictions and intends on returning to open once the restrictions are lifted – no changes are required
- and the tenant is not operating due to COVID-19 restrictions and does not intend on returning once the restrictions are lifted – please change the ANZSIC to ‘Property Owner, Commercial – Unoccupied’
- and the premises is vacant with no tenant – please change the ANZSIC to ‘Property Owner, Commercial – Unoccupied’
Where the policy is endorsed to change the ANZSIC to ‘Property Owner, Commercial – Unoccupied’ our team will action the referral request and remove the relevant endorsement where applicable.
- Where the insured is the tenant and is not operating the business due to no COVID-19 restrictions – no changes are required
For manually underwritten policies, please let us know by emailing your Underwriter so we can update the policy.
If the customer repurposes the premises to undertake different activities during the period of unoccupancy due to COVID-19 restrictions, please contact us to review the policy and cover or, in the case of eBusiness policies, brokers should update these policies themselves.
Will QBE be extending the duration or increasing the value of cover for temporary removal of property while COVID-19 directions are in force?
We will extend the duration of cover for temporary removal of property in Commercial Package policies to align with COVID-19 Government directions.
We will not be automatically increasing the current policy limits in regard to ‘value of cover’. We understand that COVID-19 Government directions may result in the value exceeding the policy limit.
Brokers do not need to endorse policies to this effect. We will take both of these points - extending duration and increase in value - into account when assessing any claim.
Laid Up cover - Commercial Motor
What is the process for accessing ‘laid up’ cover, ie where vehicles are no longer on the road, for Commercial Motor policies?
For SME customers where vehicles are ‘laid up’, ie no longer in use, we will offer a return premium (RP) on referral for the impacted vehicles. There are some exemptions from this ‘laid up’ cover, including:
- Some scheme arrangements with pre-agreed rating (your Relationship Manager will be in contact to discuss where applicable)
- Farm machinery, campervans and caravans are excluded
- An additional excess will apply if the vehicles are used.
Laid Up cover - Marine: Commercial Hull
What is the process for accessing ‘laid up’ cover, ie where vessels are moored / stored / placed on hard stand and no longer in use?
Please contact your local QBE Marine Underwriter with the following risk information to assist when calculating any RP due:
- Location/details of where the vessel(s) will be laid up/stored
- Security measures in place at the laid up/storage location
- Details of routine maintenance plan for the vessel(s) while laid up/stored.
Laid Up cover - Aviation
What is the process for accessing a lay-up credit if an aircraft is grounded ie flight risks converted to ground-only cover?
For customers whose aircraft are grounded and no longer require flight risks, we will offer a return premium (RP) on referral. We also offer the option of processing the RP upfront rather than at the expiry of the policy.
There are some exemptions from this lay-up credit, including, some scheme arrangements with pre-agreed rating. Your Business Relationship Manager will be in contact to discuss, where applicable
We’re providing premium support through a combination of rollovers and reduced premium increases for SME customers in Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania. SME for this Workers Compensation option is defined as businesses with a premium of less than $30,000 in Western Australian and $50,000 in other states.
For WA SME policies:
- Claim free or low claim cost (and no more than two claims) in the past three years – 90% of policies (based on ANZSIC) will receive a rollover of rates
- Other policies – premium is based on claims experience – no increase will exceed 20%.
For other states policies:
- Maximum claim cost of $10,000 (and no more than one claim) in the past three years – 90% of policies (based on ANZSIC) will receive a rollover of rates
- Other policies – premium is based on claims experience
- We’ve empowered our teams with increased authority so they can better support requests for extending policy periods, enabling instalments and processing mid-term adjustments for wage reductions.
Rates for renewals will be auto-generated so there are no actions required. Any requests for extensions, enabling instalments or mid-term adjustments should be referred to your Underwriter.
We will continue to accept and process claims received during the deferral period.
For cash settled claims:
- Where there is a total loss or partial loss during the deferral period, we will deduct the total outstanding premium from the claim payment
- Where the cash settlement is less than the outstanding premium, we will deduct the full amount and the balance will be an ongoing debt payable at the conclusion of the deferral period.
For repair or replacement:
• We will commence discussions with the broker to discuss how we can best work with their customer to recover outstanding premium up to the date of loss.
What do brokers/agents need to do to request an accelerated cash-settlement for SME customers who have a natural disaster claim underway?
Our supplier network is operating and we are continuing to process natural disaster claims, however we understand that some customers may prefer a cash settlement so they can manage their own repairs. We will assess each of these requests on a case-by-case basis taking into account the individual circumstances of each case and the status of repairs.
Brokers/agents should contact their Claims Officer to request consideration for an accelerated cash-settlement in lieu of repairs.