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  • Writer's pictureruth322

The F&B industry is adapting and evolving, so does its risks and coverages

In 2020, not only have we witnessed the grand scale of Covid-19 affecting our health globally, but also our way of life has been shaped to adjust to the changes at work, at home and even at the borders between countries.

Closer to home, the F&B scene in Singapore is one of the key industries that has had to change and adapt pretty much from Day 1 of Circuit Breaker to Phase 2 as we are in right now. During the Circuit Breaker, many restaurants and outlets made big adjustments steering towards food delivery in order to cater to the high stay-at-home demand and to survive the lack of dine-in options.

Restaurants that relied on dine-in guests had to develop new menus in order to maintain the quality and sustainability of the business. In our recent podcast interview with Rohit Roopchand from the F&B group The Dandy Collection about navigating Covid risks, Rohit talked about cooking every single item on their menu, putting it in the takeaway packaging and leaving it to sit on the counter for an hour before taste testing the food!

Along with a leaner team, tighter cash-flow and managing the business within ever changing Covid-19 regulations, these companies had to make quick and bold decisions, potentially exposing them to more business risks. For example, errors made in relief claims for furloughed workers could bring legal action from authorities. Employees may also sue for unfair redundancies or furloughs. The fact that decisions had to be made so quickly especially in the F&B industry heightens the risk for these companies.

Now while in Phase 2, unfortunately despite the Singapore government’s steps to make sure that this industry doesn’t collapse, we still see some businesses having to close down or reduce their portfolios. The lack of tourism and cost of overheads are the main cause.

However, not everything is on a negative note. Delivery food companies upped their services by providing more efficient and quality controlled island-wide delivery. As we dine at home, we get to experience delicious meals from high-end restaurants that we don’t normally get a reservation for months. Companies are starting to look into distressed ones that needed to be bought out; opportunities in great locations with slightly lower rental costs.

At Anapi, we are also experiencing more enquiries from F&B companies who want to take charge of their risks and exposures, and want to know which tailored coverages are best suited for them. Companies typically take up All Risks, Public Liability and Workers’ Injury Compensation insurance for their basic coverage. In the Covid-19 climate, we are seeing an increase in interest for Director & Officers insurance to protect management from employment practice related and other management liability claims. Also Medical Insurance is being sought after as a key coverage to F&B staff who are at the frontline in offering dining services to customers.

As F&B businesses look forward to Phase 3, they need to be prepared for further overnight changes in the government’s regulations and be prepared to face tough challenges due to the lack of influx of foreign workers, booking and cancellation etiquette of guests and more.

One thing is for sure, we all want to make sure the F&B scene is alive and well when all normality is back, eventually.

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