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Carrying Out Risk Assessments Under Lockdown and During Travel Restrictions

Six months ago, countries around the world went into lockdown in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Since then, we have all worked with a number of measures including working from home, social distancing and travel restrictions.

These necessary restrictions and limitations have presented a number of new challenges that stakeholders in all different industries never had to face before, including the challenge of carrying out insurance risk assessments under the circumstances.

Although it might not always be possible to carry out a risk survey in person due to lockdown procedures and travel restrictions, proper engineering reviews are still necessary to accurately understand the nature of the risk and exposures.

In our discussions with underwriters, many have reported either extending coverage for a period of time with the intention of renewing policies when it is possible to conduct a risk assessment. Where this is not possible or not appropriate, and as insures and other are bracing for a second wave that can force more lockdowns, different options of assessing engineering risk must be considered.

One of options available is to carry out a desktop risk review using virtual technology while working closely with the insured to complete a risk survey report.

Since the lockdown was implemented in a number of countries, we have carried out a number of surveys utilising available technologies, producing very detailed reports which captured very closely conditions on the ground, identified different hazards and provided accurate assessment of engineering risks on site.  

The process is slightly different than a typical risk survey as it involves additional steps. The process also involves securing involvement from the insured staff who are on site.  

Through a combination of interviews with management/technical teams on site and review of documents and photographs of the plant, our experts have been able to evaluate the risk exposures and the management and control programmes in place. For example, during a survey of a number of communication centres in Erbil, Iraq, our experts arranged for a number of virtual meetings with the insured teams (both in management and technical operations). During these meetings, we asked specific question and provided detailed instructions on how to provide photographs of critical sites within the property.

Once the information from the insured was received, we proceeded with detailed analysis and then arranged for follow-up meetings with specific individuals who were responsible for different systems. For example, electrical engineers were tasked with providing details about the standby power generator sets and the battery rooms used to provide backup power to critical communication racks in the data centre.

We have also gone through the specific details in drawings and specifications and provided follow-up questions that would allow us to carry out a detailed risk analysis of all systems and more importantly, the management and control programmes on site.

Though we were unable to attend the site, we were able to come up a list of observations and recommendations that we offered to enhance the risk profile of the property.

For more information on desktop risk surveys, please contact Ms. Rashidah Tarif at

For more information or to contact one of our experts please call us on +44 (0)20 86141444