Latest News

The latest insurance insight and advice, from our Managing Director, David McGowan.

June 2020

A Updated Message from Managing Director - David McGowan

"Here at Woodward Markwell we have been fortunate enough to continue working throughout this pandemic by setting up all of our staff working remotely. It was a challenge but has it worked really well and has allowed us to continue to provide a high level of service to all of our clients (albeit with a different way of working). As some of the lockdown measures begin to ease we are busy planning a phased return to our workplace. We are of course being very cautious and following all government advice. Whilst the majority of staff will still continue to work from home for the time being we will have a small number of staff resuming their work from our offices from 1st July. Whether we are in the office or remotely based, we are here to discuss your insurance and financial advice needs and will continue to provide exceptional levels of service."

David McGowan

Insurance Updates

Coronavirus Update – Important – Unoccupied Premises

The continued temporary closure of many businesses due to the Covid-19 lockdown has significantly increased the number of unoccupied businesses and buildings. These buildings have a higher risk of damage/loss from various causes, such as water damage, arson and theft, than when occupied.

In response to the current situation, some insurers initially supported policyholders, who had to close their businesses due to the Covid-19 lockdown, by extending the “unoccupancy” definition from 30 to 60 days with effect from 16 March – when many businesses began to close. As the pandemic continued, some insurers then further extended this definition to cover closure up to and including the 15 June.

Some insurers will still be accommodating for those businesses which remain compulsorily closed due to the lockdown (those who must remain closed under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations as appropriate for England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland) and they may further extend the unoccupancy definition up to and including the 15 July. For businesses where closure is not mandated, but the business chooses to remain temporarily closed, the unoccupancy conditions of most commercial policies have and will still apply. This requires you to declare to insurers where a building or premises is unoccupied – underwriters will then assess the risk as presented.

For buildings which remain short-term unoccupied, due to working from home or staff furloughing as a result of Covid-19, insurers may:

  • increase the rate or premium charged, or restrict the perils covered – especially if previous loss experience illustrates an underlying cause for concern
  • require the removal of contents or stock from the premises
  • require you to seal letterboxes
  • require the water supply to be isolated at the mains and all systems drained down
  • require all refuse and waste materials must be removed from the premises
  • require the building to be secured and all protective locks/alarms to be activated at all times
  • require any building/premises with a large exposure to install and activate an intruder alarm (if not already fitted), as prescribed by insurers
  • require gas and electricity must be turned-off at the mains (other than any electricity supply supporting any intruder or fire alarm)

If you do not comply with these conditions you may not be covered, and insurers may not pay your claim.

We strongly recommend contacting Woodward Markwell to immediately advise us if your premises remains unoccupied, so we can advise you further, discuss available options and negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company.


Older Drivers Returning to Work/Road

I have received the following interesting article from Older Drivers Forum ( which may be of interest:-

During this break from driving, older drivers’ driving capabilities could decline and their cars be inadequately maintained. This means older drivers would be at increased risk when they resume driving. To counter this we have produced four safety bulletins to provide advice for older drivers and their families during the lock down period. These cover car care, maintaining driving skills and, when eventually it is safe to do so, planning to get back on the road. We also include advice if any older driver decides this is an appropriate time to retire from driving.

They are in easy to read, print or download PDF’s.

Car care during lock-down

Maintaining driving skills during lock-down

Getting back on the road

Living without a car, post lock-down


Further Information

As we mentioned earlier, as we are in a rapidly changing climate therefore we will continue to provide regular updates and advice over the coming weeks. If you wish Woodward Markwell to check your policy wording or to make a claim please do not hesitate to contact us or your Account Executive.

To view the content of the previous e-mails please see below

14th May - click here
21st May -  click here
3rd June - click here

As we mentioned earlier, as we are in a rapidly changing climate therefore we will continue to provide regular updates and advice over the coming weeks.

If you have any concerns or queries you can call us on 01473 408408
or e-mail us directly by clicking here