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Updated 8th June, 2020

CHAIRMANS UPDATE JUNE 2020

Dear Clients and Friends

Much has happened since our last website update. We have been working hard to maintain our service to you, as well as continually behind the scenes being your advocate to the insurers, who are doggedly at present maintaining their position on Business Interruption Claims. I wanted therefore to keep you up to speed with what is happening in our world and to give a few personal observations.

To begin with, I must mention and publicly thank all our magnificent staff and managers, who have been working against all odds to keep up a cheerful and supportive service to our clients. The number of positive mentions and thank you’s to our staff on Facebook and other platforms is truly heart-warming to read and hear about. We are all so grateful to them. My senior colleagues, Bob, Shelley, Lucy, Claire, Katie, Tom, Pamela, Liza plus my fellow directors Pat, Joe and Josh have all been working all sorts of odd hours to deal with situations as quickly and efficiently as they can. Bless them all! As a business we know we are not perfect and we are always look for ways to improve, but we have always tried to keep our ethics and values intact throughout all of this and our people embody this every day.

I am busier than ever with my various Health Charities Trustee work which plugs me in to the bigger picture. As we didn’t get to do our CPD Event on Mental Health at the NEC in May, please indulge this old geezer with his latest ramblings, personal opinions and observations! I will keep them brief.

I am not in the business of being adversarial, nor am I representing political views, but our current mainstream health systems were already truly struggling in a number of respects pre-Covid. I know this from Doctors and other professionals on the inside, and I am sure many of you are as frustrated as I am when I think that so many of you could really help and support more suffering, stressed clients and many who are not clients yet, whether outside or inside the Conventional Health Service. There are also those suffering from the various issues lockdown has created- it may have affected their mental health and wellbeing. There will be and are, many recovering from the virus, with little resources or self-care knowledge to help optimise their recovery, restore mental or emotional well-being and rebuild their immune systems.

Not much has changed from my previous message to you, all during which time we have all been frozen into restricted space and contact for months- in principle, a quite necessary process. Although on a positive note, I have heard a number of success stories where clients have modified their practices to work distantly to very good effect, and the creativity and resilience of our sector shows that it is in good heart and health, and I am sure over time will be seen to be so more and more. During my 50 or so years of interest and involvement in the movement, I have seen a much wider acceptance and inclusion of holistic principles into the mainstream. There has been a significant growth in the skill, experience, professionalism, and commercial success of our sector (no doubt fuelling the sceptic movement’s behaviour) In any event, we stand or fall by our values, our intentions and the quality of our care, our dignity and efficacy especially in face of a suffering humanity who many of you see day in, day out. You are not locked in a remote intellectual bubble! Er.. well maybe until lockdown ends…

Instead of focussing so strongly on the statistics of the ill people, infection curves and the unfortunate dead, wouldn’t it be great if they also researched more thoroughly why people recovered from bad bouts, why some people only suffered mildly and what sort of factors or maybe positive lifestyles they had which may have contributed to their immunity or recovery? Vaccines can’t be the only answer, but it seems to be the main hope… Oh, Well.

Anyway, as I was saying earlier, much has been going on in our Insurance World! Here’s a brief update…

1. Covea Claims Situation Business Interruption (BI) Claims

Most of our focus on challenging insurers has been of necessity with Covea. Clients with Hiscox policies will have a specific answer for them by the end of the FCA review which should be finalised in July. In brief, Covea’s original stance – officially given to us in March – was that no cover applied in any circumstances under the Bridge policies, and they declined all claims. To validate our views, we invested in our own independent legal advice via Wynterhills, a specialist firm, on behalf of our clients. Having received this, we felt that the ethical and moral thing to do was to challenge to Covea on behalf of our policyholders, requesting that Covea reconsider their position and provide an adequately detailed rationale for the conclusions. Covea’s comprehensive response in our view fairly addresses many of our questions, but we have responded back to say that we still do not totally agree with their conclusions. For a more detailed update on the situation regarding BI Claims, please click on this link: https://www.balens.co.uk/covid/covid-bi.aspx .

2. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Legal Review BI Claims

The FCA have got heavily involved, as this is an industry-wide problem, and we have contributed on your behalf to the debate pre the court hearing. We feel we have done everything in our power as Brokers to represent your interests, in what has been a very challenging climate. The Court determination of the chosen example wordings is expected by the end of July. The link for all the FCA info is again on our BI page : https://www.balens.co.uk/covid/covid-bi.aspx

3. Covea / Hiscox Claims- what next?

Considering the FCA process, and after further communication with our Lawyers, we have decided to wait for the outcome of the FCA action before making any further formal representations to Covea or Hiscox. We believe that the FCA process will bring things to a conclusion far more quickly than any individual action commenced against any individual Insurer.

4. Getting back to work

I have been doing a number of CPD webinars for various Professional Bodies on Insurance, practice and risk management issues, during which, a number of you were asking me (and regularly our office people) what the Insurance requires you to do once you are back in practice. The short answer to this is that we are not qualified (nor is it our place) to give you specific advice in this regard, and neither we, as your brokers, nor the insurers are making any specific new requirements or changes to the malpractice/liability policy the majority of you have at the present time.

There are however certain common-sense things to consider from a risk management point of view. You must observe your common law duty to mitigate any potential losses. In addition, your policies have general terms and conditions, which should chime with your professional codes of conduct and ethics in requiring you to do whatever you can to reasonably reduce the risk of harm, loss or injury to others.

To this end, we would expect you to follow the guidelines of your professional body if you have one, or your school if you are still a student, in concert with any guidelines issued by the government as part of any back to work protocols. Common Sense dictates that this may include the use of masks, wise use of space and social distancing in waiting rooms and queueing strategies. Sanitisation of the space according to the type of practice you have will be obligatory, as well as personal hygiene. I am sure you will have ample Government and Professional Practice information available as things unfold. This link may also help: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

A large group of associations representing the majority of Dutch CAM therapists got together and worked out some protocols for the Netherlands, and I thought that as these are very thorough they may be of interest to some of you. The Dutch went back to work on May 11th and it seems to be working OK. If you are interested- they are happy to share this with us. You might also want to adopt some sort of pre client session screening questionnaire, where you can ask them Covid-specific questions before they arrive. The Dutch have shared their version with us. Please write to Claire@balens.co.uk. If you want to see it. Obviously this should be adapted for use in the UK, but it will give you a steer. Many UK Professional Bodies have also issued guidelines already.

Certainly, your role as a health and wellbeing mentor can shine forth here, encouraging your clients with ways they can improve their resilience. If this is not your thing, there are many good health and wellbeing mentoring organisations/individuals out there- one example would be those trained by Dr Rosy Daniel. She was very well received as one of our Guest Speakers at previous Balen CPD events and I have known and respected Rosy a long time. She is working with me and the team on the (currently stalled due to lockdown). Hawthorn Research Project. https://www.healthcreation.co.uk/training/

Don’t forget as before mentioned on our website, any business premises left unoccupied for more than two months may have certain restrictions https://www.balens.co.uk/covid/covid-unoccupied.aspx

5. Endpiece

Those of you who are still reading this (and awake!)- thank you! I hope it may, in conjunction with the other linked pages mentioned, help bring some clarity in these uncertain times. I thank you for being our valued clients, for all the good work you have done and for all the good positive stuff you will bring to society once you are back doing what you love.

DAVID BALEN
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
BALENS

PS For those of you that kindly keep asking when the music on hold (and my other music stuff) will be available, I am still finishing off my Double CD despite interruptions, so the studio is getting a lot of solitary use in lockdown! Who knows? By the Autumn it should be out, if not sooner. We are keeping a list of those people expressing an interest and we will let you know then! Thank you.