As you know, businesses across the country are doing it tough right now as the COVID-19 situation develops and government restrictions are implemented.
We know many brokers themselves are small businesses, so as one of the largest general and personal injury insurers in the country we want to be there for you and your customers when you need us most.
In addition to the conversations we are already having with many of you around the flexible options we can provide for businesses facing hardship at this time, I’m pleased to let you know that today we’re announcing a suite of measures to further support our current small and medium-sized business customers impacted by the coronavirus.
The centrepiece of our Small Business COVID-19 Relief Package is the ability for SMEs to obtain access to a six-month premium deferral for:
- *Vero Business Insurance (SME Packages and Non-Fleet Motor)
- *Vero Corporate Insurance (under $10m turnover/ total declared values)
- GIO Workers Compensation (under $30,000 premium)
This package applies to businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $10 million and employing up to 20 employees (or 100 in the manufacturing sector).
This means existing customers experiencing hardship can focus on keeping their business running, with their existing insurance in place during this period.
Vero strongly supports the important role insurance brokers play. We believe these relief measures are best discussed between brokers and their customers experiencing hardship, allowing you the discretion to support your most vulnerable clients with extended credit terms and any other assistance packages as appropriate.
Our Small Business COVID-19 Relief Package also includes:
- Offering continuity of existing insurance for SME policyholders whose business premises are unoccupied due to COVID-19, with no changes to premiums and terms or conditions.
- Offering SME policyholders who want to cancel their insurance, refunds on unused portions of cancelled policy premiums, with no admin or cancellation fees.
- Reducing payment times for our SME suppliers and contractors involved in servicing claims, to no more than 15 days
Underwritten Workers Compensation support:
For businesses that have temporarily paused operations, mid-term wage adjustments will be processed to reflect changes in payroll as a result of a reduction in employees. We will provide refunds where applicable.
For businesses that have ceased trading altogether, we will, on request by the employer, apply to the relevant Regulator for cancellation of the Workers Compensation policy.
Deferred payments for businesses – from 1 March, 2020 – 30 June, 2020
Vero and GIO want to assist policyholders to remain protected in these uncertain times. Eligible policyholders who are experiencing financial hardship have the option to defer premium payments for up to six months on renewal of their existing policy, following discussions with their broker.
This deferment will be available for renewals due in the period from 1 March, 2020 - 30 June, 2020.
For those small businesses who have already paid their insurance premiums and are due to be remitted within our current credit terms, they will not be eligible for access to the deferred payment initiative.
Vero won’t charge any admin or cancellation fees and will offer refunds on unused portions of cancelled policy premiums. If your customer is considering cancelling their insurance policies, we encourage you to speak with your dedicated BDM to ensure they have access to all hardship support available.
Unoccupied premises & Unoccupancy conditions of cover – from 1 April, 2020 – 30 June, 2020
Insurers typically apply a higher premium to vacant business premises as they are a higher risk. Our Small Business COVID-19 Relief Package recognises this will impact many businesses who need to close due to COVID-19. Given this, we will maintain insurance cover of the premises while government closure measures remain in place, with no changes to premiums or terms and conditions.
You will need to notify the ACCC
As part of our application to the ACCC to seek Authorisation to make these hardship measures available to small businesses, the ACCC requires any insurer or insurance broker wanting to offer these relief measures to notify the ACCC prior to participating.
You can email the ACCC on firstname.lastname@example.org titled 'AA1000485-1– notification under interim authorisation’. You may also contact NIBA or your cluster group network for guidance on what you need to include in your email notice to the ACCC.
We’re here to help
This initial suite of measures aims to provide clarity and flexibility for customers, while continuing to support activity among thousands of our suppliers. We’ll continue to assess how this crisis will impact our broker partners and customers, and what further measures we can implement.
I encourage you to reach out to your dedicated BDM or relationship manager should you need any assistance. Alternatively, you can contact us at email@example.com with any questions about our Small Business COVID-19 Relief Package. We’re here to help you—no matter how small or how complex your enquiry.
Workers compensation is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 (AAI) trading as GIO and is available in selected states. Business insurance is issued by AAI trading as Vero Insurance.
*Including Cluster, Manuscript and/or Specialty wording to be added