Temporary closure: Pen Underwriting

The spread of Covid-19 continues to make it an incredibly difficult time for families and businesses. Given recent government guidance we have updated our Temporary Closure Guide to reflect the latest Government position in order to address the current situation and to provide you with greater clarity on how to deal with temporary closures of premises.

Latest government guidance states that:

  1. Provided that they can meet government rules in respect of social distancing and health and safety (see commentary on health and safety guidance referenced below) the following businesses can reopen:
    1. With effect from 15th June the majority of non-leisure businesses can start reopening in England
    2. With effect from 4th July Pubs, Restaurants and Cinemas can start reopening in England.
  2. A number of trades are still not permitted to reopen including:
    1. Nail bars, spas and beauty salons
    2. Tattoo, piercing and massage parlours
    3. Bowling alleys, skating rinks and indoor play areas (including soft play)
    4. Indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios
    5. Indoor sports venues/facilities including swimming pools
    6. Water parks
    7. Nightclubs
    8. Casinos
    9. Exhibition or Conference Centres

As a result of the government permitting businesses to reopen it is our expectation that most businesses will not need to avail themselves of a relaxation of Pen Delegated Commercial’s unoccupied stance previously communicated to you.  As a result:

  1. If a policyholder’s building remains temporarily unoccupied due to the fact that the UK Government has not permitted them to open due to Covid 19, we will continue to provide cover for full perils subject to the below Risk Control Measures being complied with.  This will remain the case until 15th August 2020 or until Pen Underwriting advise otherwise (whichever is the sooner).
  2. If coverholders receive requests for a relaxation of unoccupied terms due to Covid 19 for businesses now permitted by the Government to reopen we will expect full unoccupancy terms to apply.  However we will review on referral any client whose business is being permitted to reopen provided a full underwriting rationale for continued relaxation of unoccupancy terms is presented to Pen for sign off.For clarity, the relaxation of the unoccupancy conditions has been implemented to assist those client genuinely in a position where they have been prevented from trading from or accessing their property due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Government. Where trades are permitted by the government to reopen but the insured are unable to comply with the government rules in respect of social distancing and health and safety and therefore are not able to reopen then we expect full unoccupancy terms to apply.
  3. If the Government restrictions continue for a significant period, we will actively advise coverholders if any further action is needed.

Updated 30 June 2020


The spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) has made it an incredibly difficult time for families and businesses. In order to address the current situation and to provide you and your client(s) with greater assistance during this uncertain period the below is some guidance on how to deal with temporary closures of premises.

If a building is temporarily closed, due to the coronavirus and home working, we do not consider that the unoccupied building condition will apply in the current circumstances until the 30th June 2020, unless we have specifically advised the policyholder that it must.

If the Government restrictions continues for a significant period, we will actively advise customers if any further action is needed.

The below is a checklist of risk control measures to consider in order to help secure buildings provided that the Insured can adhere to the government instructions during this period and to use as a reference point for regular checks during temporary closedown periods.

Please share with your clients.

Risk Control Measures:

  • Waste: Remove all external waste, pallets and empty skips ahead of closing.
  • Waste bins: Empty all waste bins and relocate to a secure area, ideally at least 10 metres from the building. If this is not possible and bins and skips are within 10m, these should have lockable lids.
  • Fire Systems: Ensure that any fire and/or sprinkler systems are fully operational.
  • Fire Doors: Carry out a check to ensure that internal fire doors are closed.
  • Building Utilities: Shutdown any non-essential electrical devices and building utilities.
  • Inspections:
    • Arrange for a weekly inspection of the building (internally and externally) – please remember to risk assess for any lone working issues.
    • Please ensure that you comply with existing government restrictions.
    • Please also follow any instruction/guidance regarding vulnerable people and lone worker risk assessments and only do this if you can adhere to the government instructions/guidance.
    • Consider the provisioning for alternative skilled personnel.
    • While, we can be flexible in respect of the weekly inspections, our current expectation is that an inspection must be carried out after 45 days (internally and externally) and a written record of that inspection kept although this requirement may change in line with Government requirements.
    • In the event you identify any defects or issues that require attention in line with these risk control measures then please rectify these or notify us if you are unable to do so.
  • Physical Security: Carry out a check to ensure physical security measures are in place e.g. fences are in good
    repair, windows are locked, shutters are in place, gates are locked.
  • Intruder Alarm: Make sure your intruder alarm is set and that the remote signaling is in place. Ensure sufficient numbers of keyholders are available to respond to an alarm activation within 20 minutes.
  • Maintenance: so far as is reasonably practical, there is an expectation that essential maintenance continues with any remedial measures completed again provided that you can adhere to the government instructions during this period. Premises that have Building
    Management Systems (BMS) with remote alerts should continue to be responded to.

Other Considerations:

  • If your site normally has 24-hour occupation and you wish to completely
    close the site, please contact us for advice.


Pen Underwriting Ltd position as at 3rd April 2020.