Getting Small Business Insurance in the UK
by Jo Shaer, on October 19, 2012
Interesting video from Hiscox about insurance for small businesses in the UK
How do you know what you need? The most important questions are:
What's your turnover?
How many employees do you have?
What's the nature of your business?
SMB Insurance for the IT industry
One of the things I discovered when I tried to renew my insurance this year was that, knowing my business a lot better now, I was not insured in the right category. Despite the assurances of my previous broker that "everything was under control, I have agreed it with the underwriter", I also know enough about insurance to be aware that if it doesn't state in writing the areas your business covers on the front of the policy schedule, you are unlikely to be covered for them. It was time to seek out a new broker who had his finger on the pulse of my business.
Working in this industry, it is important to check your insurance to ascertain whether you are under the IT bracket or the marketing bracket? If you do more than just web hosting and design - like SEO or social media, you need to be in the marketing category if you want the correct cover.
Professional Indemnity Insurance for consulting businesses
If your business offers professional advice or consulting, then it's worth considering professional indemnity insurance just in case something you advise goes wrong - think Google or Facebook changing the rules the day after you advise a client to do something that will help them to rank better, only suddenly, their website drops like a stone in the listings as a result.
Public Liability Insurance for business owners
Public Liability Insurance covers you if you are sued after a client, contractor or member of the public has an accident at your premises or if one of your team causes damage when he is visiting a client. If it could be argued that you or someone working for you could be responsible, then you need to be covered. We have already come across jobs where the customer requires that all contractors have this type of insurance due to the litigious nature of today's society.
UK Employers Liability Insurance
This provides cover for your staff if they become ill as a result of their work. With the current glut of asbestosis claims decades after the original exposure, a very good reason for having this type of cover. Who knows what harm the materials and electronic tools of today could wreak on our bodies in the future? If you're a small business in the UK, the Law says that you have to have it.
Again, I would urge a word of caution - I ended up with a Certificate of Employers Liability which was signed by a broker in the name of the underwriter... but which later investigation seemed to reveal that the underwriter knew nothing about it. It's vitally important to get an insurance broker who understands your business and is able to act as a proper middle man between you and the underwriter, explaining the advantages and problems of the various types of cover - as well as some of the more jargon-filled paragraphs in the policy document. Understanding what it is that you are and are not covered for is so important but the insurance world does not always make that very easy for growing SMBs or individuals.
Office contents insurance
Office contents insurance is also a good buy, in case items are stolen by visitors or employees. The Hiscox video says that this is also available to those businesses which are run from home and my own experience is that most regular household contents insurance says that, if people regularly come to your home for business purposes, you are only covered for theft if there are visible signs of a break-in - forced entry. So it's a good idea to check out contents policies very carefully or invest in an office specific version.
Hiscox have actually won the award for the Best Business insurance provider. My only beef with them is the ridiculous amount of time it seems to take to get paperwork sorted out - even using my new super friendly local broker.