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31 Mar 2020

The Treasury Select Committee led by Mel Stride MP, has challenged the Association of British Insurers (ABI) regarding the support offered to business via their members, with specific regard to...

30 Mar 2020

According to the Northern Ireland Executive Office, bicycle shops are included on the list of essential shops that "can continue to operate but are under a legal duty to adopt social distancing...

27 Mar 2020

ActSmart partner NearSt introduce the option to add WhatsApp chat functionality on your NearSt shop page!

27 Mar 2020

eBay has today pledged to support small business owners by offering a 30day payment holiday for existing sellers and is waiving fees for all new businesses registering to list or sell until...

27 Mar 2020

UK VAT registered business with VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 have the option to defer the payment until a later date or pay the VAT due as normal

27 Mar 2020

Check if you could be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

26 Mar 2020

The deadline for filing all accounts will be extended by three months for businesses that have been affected by Covid-19

25 Mar 2020

To help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21.

24 Mar 2020

Steve Bee, head of Mailshot Money, has offered bike shops access to email services amid COVID-19 difficulties.

24 Mar 2020

The ACT has made the following recommendations for mobile mechanics staying open

ActSmart supports Government's challenge to business insurers

Posted on in Business News

The myth:  It has become widely believed within the retail sector that if the Government tells a business to close that the business is then eligible to make an insurance claim.

The truth: Business Interruption Insurance (BII) can only be claimed if included in policy, and if detailed terms of the policy are fulfilled.

The Treasury Select Committee led by Mel Stride MP, has challenged the Association of British Insurers (ABI) regarding the support offered to business via their members, with specific regard to business interruption insurance.

The Committee sought to clarify where business insurance support had ceased to be offered or policy terms had changed and exclusions added, since the pandemic began.

Government appeared to expect that business insurance policies would provide funding support for independent retailers through the provision of cover for coronavirus related costs after it added COVID-19 to its list of notifiable diseases.

Government guidance stated that "those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy)."

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has responded with a statement clarifying their position, most notably:

"Only a very small number of businesses choose to buy any form of cover that includes business interruption due to a notifiable or infectious disease. Usually these extensions list very specific diseases that are covered, not any notifiable disease that may emerge such as COVID-19. An even smaller number will have cover where the notifiable or infectious disease is unspecified enabling them to potentially claim for the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, such policies often respond only when the disease is present at the premises as they cover the interruption to trade caused where business premises have been infected by an illness such as Legionnaires' disease or norovirus and where the building needs to be closed and cleaned to deal with the specific incident."

The ABI stated that insurers would go bust if they had to pay out claims to British businesses with total revenues of £4.4 trillion all at the same time and has offered to work with Government to build a specialised scheme that would pay out to firms forced to shut down in a future pandemic.

Government and business may have misjudged the potential access to cash support via business interruption insurance. It is a retrospective cover that may provide some interim payment towards costs, but only once there is clarity over the degree of the loss, but surety of its support would be enough to see many businesses through the crisis.

Current feedback suggests that there are a limited number of insurance policies that are providing appropriate cover, but it is evident from feedback throughout the independent retail sector, that there is a high degree of ambiguity in the wording and interpretation of many policies.

Tell us your experience

Members of the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), initiated by ActSmart, are calling upon Government and insurance brokers to challenge policies where there is ambiguity.

The IRC is a well-established organisation representing over 100,000 independent retailers throughout the UK, it brings together like-minded trade associations with interests in the small and independent retail sector.

The IRC are collecting data from independent retail businesses which:

1. Have a Business Interruption clause in their insurance policy and
2. Have submitted a formal claim following the outbreak of COVOID-19 which
3. Has not been accepted by/is in dispute with the insurer

In order to highlight these issues and support the Government's request for more information, the IRC has set up an online survey, open to all independent retailers, that will help to evaluate policy ambiguity, offending insurers and the level of claims and funds under challenge.


Let us know your experiences with BII by completing the online survey at

The IRC would also love to know if your claim has been successful, or your insurance broker/insurer have provided great service. Please let us know by emailing


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