Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for Brecon & Radnorshire, has called on insurance companies to do more to protect their small business customers impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and lockdown.
The AM took action having received contact from many businesses in her constituency who have had their claims for business interruption insurance denied by their insurers.
She raised the issue as an urgent matter with the UK Government, Financial Conduct Authority, and First Minister Mark Drakeford, prompting a letter from the First Minister to the Association of British Insurers formally expressing the Welsh Government’s concern at the “moral question of the extent to which the industry is prepared to help shoulder some of the enormous financial cost of the pandemic.”
Commenting, Kirsty Williams said:
“If the global coronavirus pandemic isn’t an unforeseen business interruption then I don’t know what is. As well as the painful impact of this terrible virus in terms of lives lost, many are finding themselves in sudden economic insecurity, facing furlough, redundancy or worried about the viability of their business.
“A disproportionately high number of Brecon & Radnorshire workers are self-employed business owners or work for small businesses, or in the hospitality or tourism sectors. Social distancing measures mean it is impossible for them to continue providing their services. These are people who have done the right thing, paid insurance premia, been loyal customers, in the belief that their insurer would step up to support them in a time of crisis.
“I will continue to pursue this issue and provide updates on any progress I make.”
Business Wales can be contacted on 03000 6 03000.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs:
HMRC has a dedicated helpline businesses concerned about being unable to tax due to COVID-19. Call 0800 0159 559.
ACAS provides workplace advice for employers and employees. The webpage linked above is being updated daily and they are also providing a helpline. Call 0300 123 1100.