Man and woman eating pizza in restaurant

Important changes to our Restaurant Insurance

NBS Underwriting

2 February 2023

Providing restaurant insurance is important to NBS, but for us to continue to offer insurance to this market, we need to ensure the risks we cover meet the required standards and do not pose a high claim risk. We are fortunate to enjoy the benefit of long-term secure ‘A’ Rated capacity, but we can’t take this for granted and need to respond to trends found in our data to address poor performance.

Over the last few years, we have adjusted our underwriting criteria and rating to improve the performance of our restaurant scheme. These changes have seen improvements to the loss ratio; however, our analysis tells us we need to go further and introduce additional requirements to some of our restaurant policies deemed as ‘high risk’ to improve this to a satisfactory level.

Due to the quality of product specific data, we capture via our IT systems and in conjunction with our insurers, our approach will be targeted rather than broad brush. Our strategy is to offer competitive terms for well managed risks, whilst pushing away those that are creating problems. We will continue to ensure that ‘low risk’ restaurants are provided with the best possible terms at competitive prices, so please continue to add risks on the system.

Following a thorough review of our claims, alongside leading market intelligence, we have identified several trends and situations which contribute to an increase in claims frequency and costs. Our research has shown 73% of fire damage claims occur whilst the premises is unoccupied. 90% of these have no fire alarm, which accounts for 77% of costs with the average being 30% higher than occupied premises. Our goal is to not only reduce the frequency but to also reduce the extent of damage caused.

To address the issues, the following conditions will be applied on all ‘high-risk’ restaurants. These will include (but not limited to) risks where the cooking is predominately deep-fried, heavy usage of the cooking facilities, food served after 11pm or low food hygiene rating. Details of conditions that will apply on a policy will be provided in your client’s renewal or quotation documentation.


A P1 fire alarm must be in place.

A category P1 fire alarm system is designed to protect the entire building and offers the earliest possible fire warning. Detectors and alarms should be placed in all areas of a building so the moment a fire breaks out there is an indicator that a fire is in progress. This increases the probability that somebody will alert the fire and rescue service promptly, increasing their ability to stop the spread and minimise property damage. It is advisable for all restaurants to have a P1 fire alarm in place, however one must be in place for us to provide cover for high-risk restaurants.


Extraction ductwork to be cleaned to HVCA / TR19 standards by a professional.

The kitchen extraction system presents particular hazards due to the potential for the accumulation of grease. Accumulated grease within an extract system forms a hidden combustion load. Under certain circumstances flames or very high temperature within the duct can ignite the grease causing fire to spread rapidly through the duct.

The frequency for specialist cleaning of extract systems will depend on the level of usage of the cooking equipment, type of cooking, and quantity of cooking. Typical cleaning intervals are as shown below, and the frequency of cleaning required will be advised to clients at quotation or renewal.

Usage and Frequency of Cleaning:
Heavy Use – 3 monthly
Moderate Use – 6 monthly
Light Use  – 12 monthly


Businesses must have a scores on the door’s food hygiene rating.

Scores on the Doors is a hygiene rating system used by Local Authorities to determine how food outlets store, handle and prepare the food they distribute to the public.

Our review has revealed a high percentage of claims come from risks with low scores or that have ‘not yet been assessed’ by their local authority to give them a score.

We will now require a rating to be declared on all our food products for assessment. Our underwriters will only be able to provide cover for restaurants with a score of 3 or above. We are also unable to provide cover for restaurants deemed as ‘high risk’, which haven’t been assessed, unless they have other restaurants already insured with us that meet our requirements.


New Ventures

Experience is key. Where a business owner has knowledge of running a restaurant, they are generally more aware of the health and safety requirements and risks associated with managing a food establishment. We will not consider any new ventures for restaurants deemed as ‘high-risk’ as it has been proven that the probability of a claim reduces greatly when the proprietor in charge has a wealth of experience.


Our Risk Appetite – Getting the Most out of our Restaurant Insurance.

We will consider a wide range of establishments, but our restaurant insurance policy has been rated in favour of, and designed specially to, provide the most competitive and comprehensive cover for the following:

  • Full-service restaurants and bistros serving food in the daytime and evening,
  • Restaurants with a Scores on the Doors hygiene rating of 5,
  • Restaurants with an experienced proprietor in charge,
  • Fire risk protections commensurate to the risk, such as Ansul Fire Suppression, FEA’s to scale, fire blankets, etc,
  • Full-time Fire Brigade within 15 minutes travelling time,
  • Ducting cleaned more than once a year,
  • Fire risk assessments up to date and all actions completed,
  • EICR up to date and all actions completed.

And not:

  • Restaurants serving food after 11pm,
  • Restaurants where cooking is predominately deep fat fried,
  • Not yet assessed hygiene rating,
  • Cooking being done in non-standard constructed buildings / listed buildings,
  • Polystyrene Composite panels within the building,
  • Poor Financial History such as CCJ’s or Liquidations.

If you have a query on any aspect of our restaurant insurance, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Underwriters on TAWK or by calling 033 032 5000.

Click here for further information on our restaurant policy.