Covid-19: Are you a key worker?

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Biba's Graeme Trudgill outlines the relevant areas for brokers as the FCA tells firms how to identify key workers in financial services.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set out steps to help firms identify key workers in financial services.

Graeme Trudgill, executive director of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba), stated that the announcement covers various areas relevant to insurance brokers.

The FCA explained that a number of different types of roles may be considered as providing essential services.

Brokers
In a post on LinkedIn, Trudgill noted that out of the types specified by the regulator, the following could be of relevance to brokers:

  • Individuals essential in the overall management of the firm, such as individuals captured by the Senior Managers Regime.
  • Individuals essential in the running of online services and processing.
  • Individuals essential in the running of branches and providing essential customer services, such as those dealing with consumer queries (including via call centres), client money and client assets and those maintaining access to cash and other payment services.
  • Individuals essential to the functioning of payments processing.
  • Individuals essential in the processing of claims and renewal of insurance.
  • Individuals essential in the operation of trading venues and other critical elements of market infrastructure.
  • Risk management, compliance, audit and other functions necessary to ensure the firm meets its customers’ needs and its obligations under the regulatory system.
  • Any individual that provides essential support to allow the functioning of the above roles, such as finance and IT staff.

The FCA’s announcement comes as schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus response and cannot safely be cared for at home.

It explained that this includes parents who are needed for the provision of essential financial services.

The regulator said it expected a limited amount of people to be identified as being key financial workers.

Disruption
It advised firms to first identify the activities, services or operations which, if interrupted, are likely to lead to the disruption of essential services to the economy or financial stability, before identifying the people who need to support those functions.

The watchdog urged firms to continue to follow the government’s guidance closely and take the recommended steps.

Insurance Age reported ten days ago (13 March) that many brokers had moved staff on to remote working to prevent unnecessary travel into the office. Face-to-face meetings and external visits had also been discouraged.

Tasker Group added to this in an update on Friday (20 March) which highlighted it had initiated a whole of organisation work from home model. As of 17 March 2020, it closed its London office and on 18 March 2020, its other five offices were closed. Business travel has been banned and all staff are now working from home.

Last week, the FCA set out its expectations for general insurance firms during the coronavirus pandemic. It urged firms to be flexible and to treat customers fairly throughout the crisis.

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