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Coronavirus and social distancing have left many people dependent on delivery services

UK’s New Delivery Operations In Need of Goods Protection

May 2020

Coronavirus and social distancing have left many people dependent on delivery services – a situation that has seen not just an increase in the number of van-driving couriers on the road but also a rise in the number of deliveries being made by electric cargo bike.

London’s Pedal Me service, which initially lost all of its taxi trade and many of its delivery jobs when social distancing was introduced, now says it is busier than ever.  Its environmental service has been used to deliver Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where needed, to carry out around 240 drops of flowers daily, and 400 food drops per day in the Lambeth area alone.[1]

In the hills around Todmorden in the north, electro cargo bikes have been spending 3-4 hours per day delivering on behalf of Todmorden Indoor Market and a local wholefood shop.  In the first 11 days, the electro cargo bike service made 99 deliveries in 150 miles.[2]

The same-day delivery market in the UK was already said to be worth around £900m to the economy, with electric cargo bikes being just one type of transport being used by those delivering goods.[3]  This sector of the economy could grow further after the coronavirus pandemic, as hundreds of smaller food producers have taken their businesses online, to be able to continue to sell to customers.

Following the shutdown of farmers markets, the farming community has had to adapt and learn how to take online food orders.  Some have set up their own shops, whilst others have begun to sell online through networks such as the UK’s Open Food Network or the tried and tested digital farmers market movement, NeighbourFood.  The latter reports a 300-400% increase in sales from producers to their local communities, since the start of the coronavirus crisis.[4] Food and farming charity, The Soil Association, is creating an online selling discussion event in May 2020, recognising that its members are growing their businesses through technology.

With many more, smaller businesses taking their food out to customers, rather than expecting custom to come to their door, there is a danger that, in the rush to diversify and evolve, insurance has been overlooked.

By whatever means food, flowers and other goods are being delivered, it could be important that the goods loaded into the van or onto the electric cargo bike are protected by goods-in-transit insurance.

Some businesses may not realise just how valuable a van load of goods can be, until the worst happens.  Should that occur, and goods be uninsured, the supplier may suffer a hit to cash flow or even be unable to replace the goods affected in the short term.  That can mean a loss of goodwill and create a possibility of customers going elsewhere for the goods they need.

Alongside goods-in-transit protection, anyone who is now part of the UK’s delivery ‘army’ should also consider public liability insurance. If you need help getting the right package for your delivery arm or business, we have experts who can assist you. Please just use our ‘Find a Local Broker’ tool.







Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for COVID-19. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include COVID-19 coverage.

The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third party sources we consider to be reliable, however we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort, or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and changes are occurring frequently The information given in this publication is believed to be accurate at the date of publication shown at the top of this document. This information may have subsequently changed or have been superseded, and should not be relied upon to be accurate or suitable after this date.