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Schools: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 30th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with insurance companies about whether independent schools, particularly small independent schools, are able to obtain compensation for business interruption as a result of the COVID-19 emergency measures.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton Minister of State (HM Treasury), Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation. It is also working closely with these educational institutions to understand the financial implications of COVID-19 and to provide financial support where it is needed and is appropriate.

For those businesses and charities which have an appropriate policy that covers pandemics and unspecified notifiable diseases, including independent schools, the Government’s social distancing advice of both 16 and 20 March is sufficient to allow them to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. However, most businesses and charities have not purchased insurance that covers losses from COVID-19.

The Government recognises that businesses and charities who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, they should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March.

As the Chancellor announced on Tuesday 17 March, the Government will do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of COVID-19.

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