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09 March 2020

Support Issued To UK Small Businesses To Minimise Potential Disruption From Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak By FSB

• Small businesses given help to have an up to date business continuity plan (BCP)
• Just one in three small businesses has a BCP
• Package of advice and benefits on cashflow, insurance, legal, health and medical

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has today issued advice to small businesses and FSB members about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 alongside benefits and services that will help small businesses to prepare for and recover better from any disruption from an outbreak of COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said:
"Small businesses contribute £billions to the UK economy and are a major source of employment. I'm pleased that we're able to offer them practical advice and services to help them prepare and recover more quickly from a potential outbreak, including help with cashflow.

"At times like this, I think being a member of FSB really comes into its own. We're seeing increased calls to our contact centre and our legal advice line and it is good that we are able to offer small businesses a strong package of advice and services, along with support. Being prepared is key and we urge businesses to prepare a business continuity plan as FSB research showed that just one in three small businesses have one."

FSB says that small businesses should be informed of and follow official Government advice. In addition, it is offering them help to create a business continuity plan. Other advice and support include advice about business insurance should a business have to close due to an outbreak of the coronavirus; access to 24/7 legal advice line; a health and medical advice service; and help with cashflow.

Have an up to date business continuity plan (BCP)
Have a relevant business continuity plan (BCP) in place, FSB Insurance Service can help members with free templates and guidance. Make it specific to a potential virus-related situation – some of the issues you may need to think about are supply chains, employees, cashflow, travel. It is worth checking broadband speeds to assess ability for home working.

Business insurance – what happens if your business closes due to an outbreak of COVID-19?

Think about how your business insurance will work if your business closes due to an outbreak of the virus. Advice from FSB Insurance Service is:
Check your policy wording: Standard policies may not include any protection if your business suffers due to an outbreak of disease, regardless of circumstance. Firstly, you need to check your policy, or confer with your broker to see if you have Business Interruption cover in your commercial insurance policy. Business Interruption insurance covers the income that you lose after a disaster, and often comes up when discussing terrorism cover (for example, after the London Bridge attack, local businesses that were forced to close for a period of time would have been able to claim for revenue lost under this clause).

Once you have confirmed that you have Business Interruption cover, you will need to check whether you have an extension for "notifiable diseases". If you have this in your policy wording, you will need to reach out to your broker/insurer to confirm whether coronavirus is covered. As at 28 February, the UK Government has not declared COVID-19 as a notifiable disease. Holyrood has declared coronavirus as a notifiable disease in Scotland. If it isn't, you may be able to ask for it to be added by your insurer, but they are within their rights to refuse, or to ask for an increased premium.

Legal advice – frequently asked questions

Legal advice is from Markel Law, the service provider of FSB Legal.

Health and medical service for FSB members

FSB members have access to FSB Care, a health and medical advice service for any specific questions or concerns relating to any health or medical concerns including the coronavirus.

Health and Safety advice and legal advice for FSB members

FSB members have access to 24/7 legal advice and health and safety advice.

Help with cashflow for FSB members

FSB members are able to access the FSB cash advance service or apply for funding. Consider also having in place invoice insurance through FSB Insurance Service, if not already in place, which could help with cashflow or non-payment.

For up to date advice for small businesses on the coronavirus, please visit fsb.org.uk or follow FSB on social media.



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