AXA Commercial Customers – Reminder on cover for businesses or premises that are unoccupied due to local, regional or national Covid-19 regulations.
On Monday 4 January 2021, the UK Government announced a further National lockdown in England, commencing immediately for an unspecified time period, which sits alongside similar further tightening of rules and regulations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
We therefore feel it’s important to remind our customers of the impact this situation has on property insurances and of the support and guidance we can offer in the management of unoccupied buildings.
AXA have stated:
All of our customers who have a property insurance element to their policy have a minimum 30-day definition of unoccupancy/empty (some customers may have longer periods specified in their policy, in which case the longer period applies).
If a building is unoccupied for longer than 30 days (or longer if specified) we ask that our customers notify AXA as soon as practically possible via their normal contact point.
This is potentially a greater issue than under previous
lockdowns due to:
the mixture of the original national lockdowns,
regional / local lockdowns and the English UK
tiered system mean that many (if not most) affected
businesses will have already been closed and
therefore have either reached the 30 day limit or will
be approaching it.
the move into the coldest part of the year when
“freezes” and bad weather significantly increase the
risk of damage to property.
In normal circumstances AXA would charge additional
premiums as well as restricting or limiting cover to
reflect the increased risk of unoccupied buildings,
but during this challenging time we are committed to
supporting our customers where we can. Consequently,
we are renewing our commitment not to charge any customer additional premium due to a building being unoccupied solely as a result of Government lockdown
or furloughing of staff due to Covid-19.
In addition, we will not normally restrict the perils
insured or increase the excess unless there are
specific concerns regarding the risk in question, the
previous loss experience or the ability to comply with
standard risk management precautions. Similarly, we
will only specify additional security requirements in
exceptional circumstances where there are specific
risk-based concerns.
Upon notification to us our local teams will advise what
requirements should be put in place to protect the
unoccupied building(s). This will generally be as follows:
1. The building should be inspected internally and
externally at least once per week.
2. That refuse, waste and any mail is regularly removed
from the building.
3. The building is fully secured using all protective
locking devices available, setting any alarms and
activating any CCTV available.
4. Ensure that gas and electricity supplies are turned off at the mains – except any electricity required to
maintain essential building services, alarms or to run
computer servers etc. whilst working from home.
5. Any empty building or empty part of the building has
its water supply isolated at the mains. For extended
empty periods that water and heating systems are
fully drained-down – this is particularly important
for protection of our customers buildings during this
time of year
If for any reason — such as ‘shielding’ — the customer
is not able to comply with the above requirements in
person please advise us and we will recommend third party contractors who will be able to assist, or we may be able to propose alternative solutions.
These five key risk management requirements are
fundamental for the preservation of property during
this challenging period. If a customer can’t meet these
requirements in full please advise your local AXA
contact immediately and we will discuss potential
alternative solutions.
Please note that these benefits only apply to buildings
which are unoccupied due to Government lockdown.
Buildings which are long-term unoccupied, where a
tenancy has ended, or the occupier has formally
ceased trading, will be subject to our standard
underwriting approach.
We appreciate that the current situation can be
confusing for customers with so many full, partial
and regional lockdowns so we would like to make
the following clarifications:
If a building is occupied/trading for at least
seven consecutive working days a fresh 30-day
unoccupancy waiver period is provided.
Customers do not need to notify us that the
building is unoccupied until the 30 days is exceeded.
If a building was unoccupied prior to the
announcement on 4 January, the 30-day
period starts from the date the building
became unoccupied and not the 4 January.
If a building is partially occupied, such as a
restaurant undertaking take-away business or
a retailer undertaking click and collect business,
we do not regard it as unoccupied and there is no
need to notify AXA.
Larger buildings which are partially occupied
are not regarded as unoccupied, provided that
approximately 50% of the floor space is occupied
(e.g. at least three floors of a six-storey building).
Please do contact us if you are unsure of any matter by visiting

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