WATERLOO, ON, May 1, 2020 — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Canadians, Economical Insurance has been supporting businesses across Canada with tailored and effective relief options. In recognition of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on small- and medium-sized businesses, Economical prioritized the importance of providing flexible options that will maintain the insurance coverage necessary for business continuity. Commercial customers of Economical should connect with their broker to review their policy and discuss individual options.
“Throughout this truly unprecedented time for Canadian businesses, Economical has been supporting our commercial customers by providing extensive options for their insurance needs,” said Fabian Richenberger, EVP, Commercial Insurance at Economical. “We recognize that many businesses have had to pivot or shut their doors, so Economical has adapted our practices to support the need for alternative insurance solutions and be there for our customers when they need us most.”
Options for businesses adapting
Some businesses have been able to adapt to changing restrictions and state of emergency orders. For those that have changed their operations to support COVID-19 relief efforts, Economical has flexible options to maintain insurance coverage.
As an example, one customer of Economical is a distillery that shifted their manufacturing to hand sanitizer to support the need in their community. After informing their Economical broker of this re-tooling, their coverage was adapted to appropriately cover their new manufacturing.
Other business customers have not changed what they offer, but have changed to a delivery model that respects physical distancing. For businesses that now offer delivery as a result of COVID-19, Economical is working with brokers to extend coverage to protect their business against claims arising from the use of non-owned delivery vehicles.
More commonly, companies have had to shift workforces to remote work. In this case, Economical has added $5,000 coverage at no extra cost to cover equipment that employees need to take home such as computers or monitors.
“From the onset of the pandemic we proactively considered the ways that we, alongside our broker partners, could provide relevant relief to businesses that would support their changing needs in this time,” said Obaid Rahman, VP, Commercial Insurance, Economical. “It’s important that businesses inform their broker of any changes in operation so that we can continue proper insurance coverage that will protect them now and in the future.”
Options for closed businesses
Some businesses do not have the option to adapt but have had to close in response to provincial states of emergency or other lockdown measures. For businesses that have seen a drop of 30% or more in revenue, Economical will now adjust these business policies mid-term, allowing for a reduction in premium to support the tough circumstances these business customers face.
Further, Economical customers can rest assured that if their business is closed because of COVID-19, but they keep enough non-perishable stock or inventory on site to conduct regular business and they visit the premises at least once a week, their business will not be considered vacant or unoccupied and the insurance coverage will continue.
Temporarily closed businesses may experience unique challenges to protect both people and property as there is an increased risk for unauthorized access, theft, or vandalism. In order to keep a property secure, there are some steps businesses can take, such as:
- Physical security: ensure all possible entrances are locked and secure, store valuable materials away from windows, and activate a security system alarm if possible
- Lighting: good exterior lighting is a deterrent to many trespassers, while interior lighting indicates a presence on the property
- Fire alarms and sprinkler systems: ensure all systems have been properly maintained and are functioning properly
Policy extensions and rate relief
In addition to the options above, Economical has committed to its commercial property customers that no policy will be cancelled during the state of emergency, unless a customer has violated policy conditions. When requested by the broker, businesses will be granted an extension until the state of emergency is over.
Further, in recognition of the enormous economic strain businesses across Canada are experiencing, Economical has amended its rating strategy to provide financial relief on insurance. Under normal circumstances, rates are adjusted periodically to reflect inflation, the cost of claims, and other factors, but during the COVID-19 pandemic these changes will be capped and restricted to provide affordable insurance solutions to Canadian businesses.
Another measure of relief is for any personal use vehicles insured under commercial policies, which will receive a discount for lower driving mileage and capped rates during the pandemic.
Commercial customers should connect with their broker
Economical has been providing these relief measures to commercial customers since the onset of COVID-19 and remains committed to offering tailored solutions through our valued broker partners.
About Economical Insurance
Economical Mutual Insurance Company (“Economical” or “Economical Insurance”, which includes its subsidiaries where the context so requires) is a leading property and casualty insurer in Canada, with $2.5 billion in gross written premiums and approximately $6.0 billion in assets as at December 31, 2019. Economical is a Canadian-owned and operated company that services the insurance needs of more than one million customers.