Supporting Schools Throughout the COVID-19 Emergency
by Noel O’Loughlin | 4 min read May 25th, 2020
The real test of friendship comes in a time of need and uncertainty. Some people will find a reason to stay away when the need is most, but true friends will find a reason to be there for you because that’s what matters most. Trust that Allianz is a true friend. We are here to support you now and we will still be here to support you when the better days return.
From the outset, Allianz have been determined to be proactive in our support for our school customers.
Allianz immediately put in place its contingency plan. By March 16th our staff were working on a rota basis in head office while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Thankfully, we were in a position to close the offices by March 19th. Within such a tight timeframe we were able to facilitate a high number of staff to work from home, with the change having minimal impact on our customer service across the company. As of April 15th, 95% of our staff are working from home, while the vast majority of our service level targets are back up to our pre-virus levels. Minimising the impact to our customers has been a central focus in our contingency plan.
Regular communications have been issued to all our school customers insured directly with us. These include our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions along with our updated contact details for all essential departments of Allianz.
Your Local Allianz Representatives’ main priority is still their schools. They will continue to be available to assist you and your school by phone and email. In addition, your Local Allianz Representative remains available to carry out remote reviews of sums insured using local authority online planning files and can still engage with you on health and safety issues and associated procedural documents such as safety statements.
Allianz has committed to refunding appropriate premiums on school policies where a reduction in liability exposure is evident. The return premium will be based on the liability element of your schools policy and will be finalised after the emergency measures are lifted. Your Allianz Custodian School Protection policy combines a variety of covers such as Property Damage, Employers Liability, Public Liability and Indemnity to Management covers such as Professional Indemnity. Some of these exposures will reduce, others may increase while some may remain unchanged. Schools who have claims during the emergency will have to be assessed based on their unique circumstances.
Improved Temporary Removal Of Contents Cover
Due to the current exceptional circumstances, schools have been requested to provide teachers, staff and pupils with laptops and tablets to use in their home in order continue to part-take in their work/schoolwork. Your Allianz Custodian School Protection policy provides property damage cover for school contents that are temporarily removed from the premises (up to a limit of €50,000) which is subject to the standard excess of €300 for each and every claim. To recognise the challenges schools are facing we have reduced the excess for loss or damage to laptops and tablets loaned to teachers and staff to €125 for the duration of this emergency period. The standard excess of €300 applies to laptops and tablets loaned to pupils.
Third Party Use Of School Buildings And Grounds
The HSE and An Garda Síochána have at various stages of the emergency, requested the use of school buildings and grounds to assist them in their COVID-19 related activities. Your Allianz Custodian School Protection policy can facilitate the use of your property by the HSE and An Garda Síochána.
It is imperative that your school are provided with an indemnity, normally from the State Claims Agency, to your Board of Management, Trustees and Patron for the use of your School by the HSE / An Garda Siochana, which must include legal liability in respect of COVID-19. Your Allianz Custodian Schools Protection policy will continue to cover property owners liability cover. This will protect your schools legal liability as property owner as you are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your school property i.e. property defects. COVID-19 will be specifically excluded while your building is being used by the state and this should be included within the state indemnity your receive. You should seek permission from your Trustees / Patron. It is important that your property is adequately cleaned before it is handed back to the school. This should be included in any agreement to hand over the school temporarily.
Suspension of School Bus Cover
While school buses are normally sure to avail of the well earned summer rest, they would now normally be entering a busy time for schools with college open days, school tours, competition finales etc. However, it is now very likely your bus won’t be used again until schools return in the autumn. Schools have always been able to avail of a “policy suspension” option, which would reduce cover for the period of suspension and allow a return premium to the policyholder. There is usually a requirement to suspend a motor policy for a minimum of 28 days before a return premium is provided. This requirement has been waived as a sign of goodwill during this difficult time. As such, in the event you require the cover to be re-activated within the 28 days, you will be allowed to do so, and still be entitled to the appropriate refund for the period. For more details please see our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
Online School Activities
We recognise that the level of online activity carried out by schools has increased. This includes activities such as online teaching and guidance counselling. These are seen as regular school activities albeit in a very differ format. Schools should review their appropriate procedures and liaise with the various staff to ensure they are aware and adhere to same. However, rest assured your Allianz Custodian School Protection policy extends to cover your legal liability arising from these activities.
Allianz will continue to monitor and engage with our schools on the challenges you are facing. We are determined to be flexible in our approach where possible and help find solutions to allow you to keep the show on the road. Allianz is committed to being a trusted support to our schools always and we encourage you to contact us, or your intermediary if insured through them, to discuss your challenges or concerns.
This guidance is for general information purposes only.