Cansure COVID-19 Q&A

V5 5-19-2020

In response to the very fluid environment that we find ourselves in amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and various declarations of emergency, we have prepared the following Q&A to share answers to many of the questions that we are dealing with together. We will keep this resource updated as we confront new questions and develop responses and guidelines for our brokers and our staff.

1. Is Cansure operating at full capacity?
Yes, we are open for business, new, renewal, and claims. Our Underwriting, Claims, and Admin teams are at full capacity, working from home, and standing by to assist you with any policy needs and to help with any COVID-19 related needs. Email is the best way to reach any staff. Email addresses are first initial last name @cansure.com; ex. jsmith@cansure.com (John Smith). Key contacts below:

General inquiries:
Claims inquiries:
After-hours Claims – 24/7 service:
Portal inquiries:
Broker inquiries:
Webchat:
Contact Directory:
Executive contact:Office Numbers:
info@cansure.com
claims@cansure.com
claims@coasttocoastclaims.ca ; 1-855-535-0554
portalhelp@cansure.com
businessdevelopment@cansure.com
www.cansure.com
www.cansure.com/ourteam
ccopeland@cansure.com
Vancouver:
Langley:
Salmon Arm:
Toronto:
604-685-6533 / 1-877-685-6533
604-532-6864
250-832-1008 / 1-888-654-8811
416-342-1880

Online quote & bind available at www.portal.cansure.com, products available:

Frame COC (up to $2.5M) & wrap-up coverage
Motorcycle coverage (BC)
Off-road vehicle coverage (BC & MB)
Personal Watercraft coverage
Special Events coverage
Cyber coverage
Hole-in-one coverage
Contents-in-storage coverage
Legal Expense coverage
Small Vendors package coverage
Tenants coverage
Homeowners Earthquake deductible buy-down

2. Do I have business interruption coverage for COVID-19 related interruptions?
Generally, our industry standard policy forms covering Business Interruption, Civil Authority, and Extra Expense have direct damage trigger clauses, which require direct damage to insured property by an insured peril before coverage will respond. These would not generally cover pandemic related business interruption. If you feel that coverage may be present in your insured’s coverage form, please submit a claim to claims@cansure.com  and our claims professionals will review the specific coverage in place and provide a coverage decision. For additional information, here are three excellent articles on COVID-19 related coverage issues:  

3. Can I be assured that Cansure will provide coverage certainty and continuity?
Our primary and preferred approach will be to work together to conduct a normal renewal. However, we understand that during the COVID-19 outbreak, interrupted communication may prevent you from reaching your insured, reaching us, or reaching other subscribers to transact a normal renewal. We also understand that many domestic insurers have the Declaration of Emergency (DOE) Endorsement on their policies and they may offer renewal, or extension with varying degrees of changes to the policies. The many ways that insurers and MGAs will handle extensions and renewals during this time can create uncertainty around continuation of coverage. Our guiding principle will be to conduct an orderly renewal when possible, and to extend when necessary to allow for an orderly renewal.

Specifically, 

  • if the policy is 100% placed with Cansure on MGA contracts and cannot be renewed prior to expiry due to a COVID-19 related interruption, we will extend until renewal can be conducted, or 120 days, whichever is sooner.  
  • if the policy is 100% placed with Cansure on wholesale contracts and cannot be renewed prior to expiry due to a COVID-19 related interruption, we will contact the insurer(s) to secure extension until renewal can be conducted, or 120 days, whichever is sooner.  
  • if the policy is issued by a domestic insurer with the Declaration of Emergency Endorsement in the wording and Cansure is a subscribing insurer, we will follow the lead.
  • if the policy is issued by Cansure as lead, and there are other subscribers on the policy, and we cannot conduct an orderly renewal prior to expiry, we will extend until renewal can be conducted, or 120 days, whichever is sooner; and you (the broker) will be responsible to obtain approval for the extension and subsequent renewal from all other subscribing insurers.

For extensions where we cannot reach the insured, coverage will continue as at the time of expiry with no change in limits or terms and conditions. For extensions where our renewal guidelines have changed and we can reach the insured, terms and conditions may be modified for the extension period. Material change in exposure must be reported to us, there will be no coverage for material change (such as, but not limited to, vacancy, shut-down, or idled operations). Premium will be charged on a pro-rata basis for the term of extension.

4. Is Cansure offering auto-renewals?
We may, at our discretion, issue automatic renewals for select personal and select commercial policies in the coming days. Auto-renewal documents will be delivered to brokers by email and can be cancelled ab initio if notification of such is provided to us within 30 days of the renewal effective date. We will not auto-renew complex, high-risk, or wholesale policies and brokers are cautioned not to assume that renewal will be offered across all lines and all policies. We are still in a hard market and we have many new restrictive guidelines around rate, capacity, and target lines which have not changed amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. While we will endeavor to extend coverage to accommodate any interruptions in communication, we will not guarantee renewal and brokers are not authorized to renew coverage for annual terms without our expressed authorization to do so

5. Is Cansure being more lenient about payment of accounts?
Many governments and banks have announced deferral programs for tax and loan payments. It is important to note that these are deferrals, not forgiveness of the amount due. The amounts will eventually need to be paid. Our policy coverage expires and we do not have the ability to defer payments to the future, where we can simply “catch-up”. We collect premium up front, we do not accept premium installments over time, so we are not able to defer payments. Premium financing is available from a number of vendors who may be able to structure payments over the balance of the policy term.

Agency Bill: We are not in a position to absorb financial losses due to the COVID-19 interruption which may cause financial hardship for our insureds. We understand that COVID-19 related interruptions in communication and deposits may cause delayed-payments. We will endeavour to identify delayed-payments due to interruptions, from actual non-payment cases due to financial hardship. We will work with you to accommodate delays, but we simply must continue to cancel policies for non-payment where payment is not likely to be forthcoming. If you are experiencing interruptions in processing cheques and deposits, please contact your Cansure/Beacon admin contact for instructions to set up an EFT. Alternately, we accept payment via ClearPay Canada if you utilize their service (https://www.clearpaycanada.com/). We will reduce our enforcement of overdue receivables to 90 days to allow for delayed remittances. We will continue to issue registered letters of cancellation for validated non-payments that are over 90 days outstanding. Please communicate pro-actively with us if you have a delayed payment situation.

EzPay Direct Bill: Together with our premium finance partner Snap, we are offering the following to support our insureds through this difficult period.

  1. We are proactively waiving all late fees assessed for all insureds from March 30th through April 30th. You will not need to do anything for this to occur.
  2. We have instructed our SNAP Associates to extend cancellation notices up to 24 days beyond the payment due date where it is requested.
  3. Upon broker request, we will be utilizing negative endorsement returned premiums to be used as payments for the next payment and/or applying against future payments.

6. Is Cansure allowing mid-term premium adjustments?
COVID-19 interruptions are impacting revenue across many businesses that we insure. It is unknown how long these interruptions will last, and how quickly turn-over will recover once restored. While turn-over may be reduced for a period of time, many exposures continue or even increase during a slow-down in the business operations. Liabilities from past work, under contract, and in leases, are not reduced by a slow-down. Many property exposures may increase, such as theft, and fire/water damage at idle operations. Additionally, society may become more litigious if we slip into a recession.

  • With respect to property insurance, we are not granting mid-term return of premium for reductions in revenue. Business interruption coverage has been provided at full limits for the term to date, and may well increase to full limits by the end of the policy term, or by the end of the period of indemnity if a covered loss were to occur during the COVID-19 interruption period. If a policy is cancelled, we will allow short-rate return of premium in accordance with policy terms and conditions. If the exposure of physical property is reduced, such as deleting a building or reducing stock values, we will allow the appropriate return of premium.
  • With respect to mobile equipment and vehicle physical damage insurance, if your insured expects a pro-longed period of dormancy, we may be able to offer lay-up credits subject to adequate protection of the equipment. Please discuss on a case-by-case basis with your underwriter.
  • With respect to liability insurance we are not granting mid-term return of premium for flat-rated and non-adjustable policies. For adjustable policies we will adjust premium at expiry based on actual receipts subject to minimum earned premium as stated in the policy (if any).
  • With respect to change in use or material change we may need to adjust terms and conditions to fit the exposure change (such as vacant or unoccupied property, or shut-down operations). Please contact your underwriter regarding any change in use, or material change situations.

7. How will Cansure adjust premium for cancellations?
If you need to cancel a policy outright, due to a COVID-19 related business interruption, suspension, or closure, we will waive any stated Minimum and Retained premium due under the policy, except in the case of a seasonally exposed risk where the bulk of the exposure season has passed in which case the M&R shall stand. Return of premium shall be computed on a short-rate basis in accordance with the policy terms and conditions. We will waive M&R premium for both personal and commercial insurance for as long as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues.

8. What should I do if an insured has vacant or unoccupied property, or shut-down operations?
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, many businesses are having to cease operations and idle their facilities. This introduces a number of risks for which the otherwise operational coverage has not been underwritten. Vacant or unoccupied property, or shut-down operations are material changes in use and may limit or void coverage. Please notify us immediately if any insured has vacant or unoccupied property, or shut-down operations. Please advise us what is being done to protect the property from damage or loss? Please ensure best practices are followed in all cases and our permission for the change in exposure will not be reasonably withheld, although we may increase the deductible or change policy terms and conditions (such as adding a vacancy warranty).

Best practices for idle properties:

Click to read an important COVID-19 Loss Prevention notice

  • Conduct routine checks of the premises, as frequently as possible (daily is ideal).
  • Lock and secure all openings and ensure intrusion-alarm systems are active (if present).
  • Ensure all fire-protection (sprinklers and smoke/fire-detection) systems are active.
  • Maintain sufficient heating to prevent freezing damage.
  • Shut-off domestic water (not sprinklers) to prevent water damage.
  • Maintain security and fire protection inspection services normally present in the operation (if any). Notify us immediately if any of these services cannot be continued as normally scheduled.
  • Notify us immediately of sprinkler-impairments at the property (if any).
  • Review the insurance policy for warranty or exclusion conditions that may affect coverage due to the change in use.

For any idle construction projects:

Should a construction project undergo a temporary cessation of construction activities, the Insured must immediately advise their Broker/Cansure the effective date of cessation or shutdown of operations. There is no need to amend or endorse individual policies as we will automatically continue to cover COVID-19 suspended projects up to June 30, 2020, subject to adherence to the following guidelines & conditions:

  • Project shall be checked by a responsible adult person (interior and exterior) at least every 48 hours during the term of work cessation/shutdown.
  • If at lockup stage, the doors and windows shall be securely closed and locked at all times.
  • All Rubbish or debris must be removed from the premises.
  • Any outdoor combustible building materials must be kept a safe distance of least 10m from the building structure (s).
  • If water supply piping has been installed, the water supply (other than for the building’s sprinkler system) must be turned off and the water supply valve padlocked unless the Insured Project is a renovation project in a multitenant building and turning off the water would interfere with another tenant’s water.
  • the building envelope is protected sufficiently (e.g. membrane/foil and plywood) against storm and rain
  • All uninstalled machinery (other than machinery that is too heavy to be moved without a crane) or fixtures must be secured in a securely locked compartment or removed from the Insured Project Site in order to prevent their theft.
  • If the risk is equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system that is installed and operational, the Insured must notify Cansure immediately in the event of any known impairment to such system.

In addition to above, the Insured must maintain any previously existing site security (watchman patrol a/o monitored CCTV) and/or fire protection systems, if the policy already contains such warranties (i.e. high value projects).  The Insured must advise Cansure immediately if any of these services cannot be continued as normally scheduled.

Failure to comply with the above conditions may render the policy null and void.

In the event cessation of work on project continues beyond June 30th, 2020, it will be necessary for the Insured to apply to Cansure for a further extension.  Depending on circumstances, a re-evaluation coverage terms may be required by Underwriters (i.e. perils covered, higher deductibles etc.

9. Is Cansure allowing work-from-home and business use of personal premises?
Personal lines policies generally contain exclusions for business use of personal premises, unless specific coverage is granted. In support of our insureds who are working from home as a result of the COVID-19 public health recommendations, we are granting blanket permission across all our personal lines policies for unexpected work-from-home activities. This permission contemplates work normally done for a fully insured business operation outside the home, and not otherwise un-insured business operations or activities. We will not endorse each policy. This permissible use of property shall be read-in as long as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues + 30 days. If workers decide to work from home for the long-term following the emergency perior, please advise your Cansure underwriter.

10. Is Cansure providing coverage for company equipment at employee’s home offices?
For the term of the declaration of public health emergency due to COVID-19 and for 30 days thereafter, we will accommodate coverage of insured business personal property, subject to policy terms and conditions, at an off-site location due to COVID-19 related distributed work arrangements up to a maximum limit of $5,000 at any one location, or the insured value of the equipment, whichever is less.

11. Is Cansure adding a COVID-19 exclusion to new/renewal/extension policies?
Although standard liability and property wordings contain exclusions for pandemic related losses, or that risk falls beyond the insuring agreements, many carriers are choosing to add pandemic/contagion related exclusions to clarify that these are uninsured exposures. Lloyd’s Underwriters require new exclusions on policies incepting 4/15/2020 and later, as do some domestic insurers as well. When utilizing security that requires new exclusions, Cansure will apply LMA5391 to liability coverage and LMA5393 to property coverage, and/or other wordings as may be required by the insurer(s).

12. If a business starts delivering to customers, does it affect their NOA coverage?
Most CGL policies include an extension of coverage for non-owned auto (NOA) exposures such as rented vehicles and delivery operations. However, the policy may not have been underwritten to contemplate NOA exposure from delivery operations if they were not part of the original underwriting. This could occur, for example, when a dine-in restaurant starts delivering food to customers using employee-owned vehicles, as is occurring in some businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Normally, the underwriter will assess the number of vehicles, ensure driver suitability, and that primary insurance is in place, and an additional premium may be charged. The insured may also choose to carry a higher limit of liability where a delivery NOA exposure exists. If your insureds have begun delivery operations which were not present during underwriting of the policy, please contact your underwriter and provide full details of the NOA exposure, so decisions can be made and our file details are accurate.

13. Are you able to defer the need for client signatures on applications/warranties/etc.?
We will accept third-party verified e-signatures (such as DocuSign, eSign, etc.), and we will be as flexible as possible around binding subjectivities and signed forms. We understand these are not normal times, and we shall endeavor to maintain normal business practices to the fullest enablement of modern communications and technology.

14. Are you still conducting/requiring loss control inspections?
In person-inspections have been put on hold following public health safety guidance and will be resumed once public health guidelines permit.

 15. What can be done to protect systems from increased Cyber threats during COVID-19?
In these unprecedented times, we want to ensure that our businesses remain safe from threat actors hoping to take advantage of new working practices that many employers and employees are having to implement.

The following are a few suggestions that we hope will keep your systems and businesses safe:

  • Remain vigilant.
  • Use strong passwords consisting of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special and characters. Never use your birthday, hometown, school or common words.
  • Never click links or open attachments from an unusual source or containing unusual information.
  • Review the email address of the sender to ensure there are no hidden letters or numbers contained in it.
  • If the email appears to be from someone that you know and contains a link or attachment that you were not expecting, send them a separate email (or make a phone call) to check that the email is genuine.
  • Be aware that scam emails often contain dangerous links and information designed to scare you into clicking the link. In the COVID-19 reality, cyber security experts have seen an increase in emails from threat actors impersonating the World Health Organization (purporting to provide COVID-19 updates) along with the impersonation of airlines and travel companies (purporting to advise of potential COVID-19 exposure).
  • Be aware of fraudulent websites claiming to sell masks and other medical supplies and of fraudulent charitable donation campaigns.
  • Consider implementing security safeguards while your employees are working from wherever they are located, including:
    • Ensure antivirus software is up to date;
    • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows for an encrypted network connection;
    • For Remote Desk Protocol (RDP), enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible or utilize password manager;
    • Have employees communicate for business using IT equipment provided by the company rather than through use of personal devices that may not be secure; and,
    • Ensure network access is secure.

16. How can we help others?
Being well aware of social distancing recommendations, we want to let you know there are still ways to give back and help our communities. If you are in good health and have the means, here are some ways to help your community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Donate Blood – Expressing concern over a recent spike in appointment cancellations, Canadian Blood Services stressed that donating blood in the country continues to be safe.
  • Shop Local and Order In – Restaurants are expected to take a big hit due to people social-distancing. If you don’t feel like cooking, consider getting delivery.
  • Contact Your Family and Friends – Though gatherings of virtually all sizes are discouraged right now, you can make phone calls, Skype or FaceTime.
  • Donate to Food Banks and Local Charity Groups – Homeless advocacy organizations and food banks are on the front lines of this whole thing, struggling to feed and care for populations most at-risk during the outbreak.
  • Check on Vulnerable Family Members and Neighbours – Some people may not be able to leave their homes to get food because they are at risk. Call and make sure they’re alright. If needed, offer to shop for them / deliver food to their door. Remember to limit your contact with them, as well as your time in public.
  • Take Care of Yourself – There’s no way around it, this is awful. If you are able to help others during this time, please be sure to take proper care of yourself and follow these recommendations brought to you by the Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with Canadian public health experts.
  • Childcare – Provide childcare to those who need a helping hand.
  • Don’t Hoard – Sharing is caring.

Thank you
We work in an amazing industry filled with people who are wired to help other people. We are seeing the very best of our industry and our society as we all band together to help each other through this pandemic health emergency.

Thank you for supporting us in good times and working together with us through challenging times such as these. Please rest assured that we will do everything reasonable and within our control to help our brokers and insureds as we all face these challenges that we may not have a perfect plan for, but we are approaching reasonably and thoughtfully.

We will update this page periodically as we receive new questions and we develop guidelines in response.

Regards,

Cameron Copeland, MBA, CMA, CPA, FCIP, CRM
President
PO Box 10008 Pacific Center
Suite 1488 – 700 W Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1A1
T (604) 694-7641
E ccopeland@cansure.com