Commercial Insurance Profile – November 2020

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What to Know About the FCA’s Business Interruption Case Ruling

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown has caused a number of major disruptions for organisations of sizes. Many employers have had to alter their direction, slow down operations or even shut down completely.

With that in mind, in May, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) initiated a test case pertaining to how business interruption insurance policies apply to disruptions stemming from the pandemic.

In September, the High Court ruled that a number of the 21 sample wordings included in the test case would in face allow for policyholders to recoup some of their losses related to the pandemic. But, policyholders, seeking relief should understand that each case may be treated individually based on specific wordings and clauses.

Policyholders should understand that it is possible they will be required to prove that effects of the pandemic occurred in their specific relevant policy area. It is worth noting that, in the test case, insurers acting as the defendants agreed that evidence such as reported cases and fatality data from the NHS and Office for National Statistics are capable of demonstrating the presence of COVID-19 in principle.

In October, the High Court granted parties involved in the test case the ability to bypass the Court of Appeals. As such, parties will be able to take their appeal regarding the ruling directly to the Supreme Court.

The ruling may result in insurers beginning to pay out previously denied claims. Still, policyholders should be aware of any pending appeals and stay appraised of their own situation in order to give themselves the best chance of recovering some of what the pandemic has cost them.

How Brexit Impacts Trademarks and Intellectual Property Rights

The Brexit transition period officially ends 31st December 2020. There are a great number of changes that must be accounted for ahead of 1st January 20201. Organisations in the UK should be aware of how this transition will affect all aspects of their operations, including trademarks and intellectual property.

Organisations will not have to take any action for UK-registered national trademarks, as these will be automatically cloned. These new UK versions will carry over the pre-existing priority and renewal dates from the EU originals.

As for pending applications, organisations should be aware of the necessary steps. EU trademark requests still pending at the end of the Brexit transition period will not cover the UK. To continue their application, organisations will have to extend the process by filing for a UK trademark. This new application must be submitted within the first nine months of 2021.

In order to protect their intellectual property, organisations should consider consulting legal experts for more information on this process and other aspects of the Brexit transition.

Health Risks Associated with DSE

With the UK in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, many employers are having to continue to utilise remote work for their workforce. Remote work may mean that extended use of display screen equipment (DSE) becomes more common. This can result in a number of health issues for employees, such as:

  • Eye issues – Staring at DSE for long periods of time can cause eye strain and even result in temporary vision problems.
  • Strains – While working with DSE, employees may find themselves sitting in the same position for an extended period of time. This can place stress on an employee’s body, including the neck, arms, wrists and hands.
  • Posture problems – Traditional work environments may have desks and chairs intended for professional use, but employees might not have equivalent equipment at home.
  • Fatigue – Extended use of DSE an result in feeling fatigued, loss of productivity and development of greater stress.

Even in a remote environment, employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers. With even more work now involving DSE, it is important to understand the potential risks.

For more information on these topics, contact your Konsileo broker today.

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