Archive for Small Business Insurance

Making Business Insurance Decisions Easy for Business Owners

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. If you are starting out in business or reviewing your initial company procedures and processes you will be faced by an endless choice of decisions to make.

Whilst the potential rewards of running a successful business drive them onwards, there are many challenges faced by small business owners, especially during the initial outset of the business when methods and procedures are being put in place. None more so when trying to navigate through the vagaries of business insurance risks and covers, which vary widely depending upon the type of business you engage in.

So where do you start to try to understand the risks that your business might face and the types of insurance that are available to protect your business from these risks?

Fortunately this has been recognised by specialist small business insurer, Hiscox who understands that business owners want to focus on what they do best – running their business.

So they have created a Business Insurance Decision Tree in the form of an infographic to help steer small business owners through the different types of insurance available to them.

The Hiscox Business Insurance Decision Tree looks at variables such as whether you work from home or in an office, how many employees you have and what type of property you own, suggesting applicable cover which best suits an SME’s (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises) needs.

So whether it is office contents insurance for damage to property, employers’ liability for those with employees, professional indemnity insurance when offering advice, or public liability insurance, the Business Insurance Decision Tree can help clarify which insurance is suitable.

The Business Insurance decision tree

The Business Insurance decision tree makes getting the right cover easy! Click to view

Hiscox SME Underwriting Manager, Deepak Soni, comments: “SMEs are experts in their area, but we don’t expect them to be experts in insurance, that’s what we are here for. No two businesses are the same, so the Business Insurance Decision Tree is a useful tool to help SMEs understand the risks they face and get the right cover in place.”

Tradesmans Insurance – What does it cover?

A Guide to Tradesmans Insurance Online

It’s the oldest online commercial insurance and the widest sold type of business insurance in the UK, but what exactly is Tradesmans Insurance?

If you own or manage a small business, you will require at least some type of liability insurance to protect your company against the various risks and possible claims, that your business will face.

Small businesses and tradesmen are required by law to have employers liability insurance at the very least in order to carry on business. Employer’s liability cover  protects the workforce and allows the business to pay any claims against it which may be brought by a worker who was injured carying out his or her duties.

Public liability insurance is essential if you work with members of the public who may pursue claims against you and motor insurance or van insurance is also likely to be a necessity.

If the business has plant or machinery which must have a periodical statutory inspection, it will be usual to arrange for this to be done by a specialist engineering insurer under the terms of an engineering inspection contract, with or without insurance.

Tradesman’s insurance is more often than not sold online as a small business insurance package policy. A package will include all elements of cover required by a small business or self employed trader such as basic employers liability and public liability covers and theft of tools. Trademans insurance quotation systems allow you to vary the levels of indemnity required for liability insurance in a typical range of between £1 million and £10 million. The higher the levels of indemnity required the higher the premium. Tools cover is usually rated on a replacement new for old, sum insured basis, where you define the value of your tools.

Most trades and small business will have premises that need protection against buildings perils such as fire and flood. Small commercial property insurance is available to cover all buildings insurance risks and is often sold as a package for a particular type of trade. For example Shops Insurance, Dentists and Surgeries or Builders Insurance Packages.

Trademan’s premises packages contain commercial contents insurance for business premises, which covers office and business equipment including files and data processing against the common perils. For companies and trademan that keep stock, this type of business contents insurance can be extended to cover risk such as deterioration and damage.

For the small tradesperson who works from home these covers are often available with strict limits of indemnity, as a bolt on to a standard home buildings and contents policy. This type of cover is often  only effective for self employed people with just a computer and a home office.

Other tradesman insurance covers

One of the largest problems faced by a small business or trades with premises is that of how to continue in business should a catastrophe happen, for example a fire that destroys the premises or machinery or stock. In order to deal with this Business Insurance companies have devised a cover called ‘Business Interruption Insurance’.

Premiums are based on your previous years annual turnover. BI covers your company against all losses caused by interruption to trading due to any of the perils mentioned on the policy and will pay out on a indemnified basis for the period of cover agreed in the policy. Most policies will also offer some type of alternative trading accommodation to enable you business to continue whilst the premises are being repaired.

Additional small business and trades insurance risks

Because commercial insurance is designed to cover all classes of business, there are many various trade or business specific covers available which can be added to a combined policy.

Examples of these covers include loss of licence to trade, book debts, hauliers cover, warehouse cover, and plant inspection services. Various people protection policies are also available for businesses including Keyman insurance which provides cover against the loss of key people within your organisation. Business mortgage protection provides a monthly payment for business premises should you suffer and accident or sickness. Group ASU policies are also available to protect your staff and employees.

Buying Tradesman Insurance Policies

Commercial insurance and tradesman risks covers for tradesmans insurance are widely available online today and it is a simple process to find a website where you can compare trademans insurance quotes.

However, purchasing trademans liability insurance can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated small business owner  or tradesman just starting off in business, and unless the risks are straightforward and can be underwritten online, it is advisable for all companies to approach the services of a local or regional commercial insurance broker who deals with specific tradesman liability insurance and covers for risks in your particular trade.

Commercial Insurance Risks Explained

If you run a small or medium sized business you will need to understand the risks that your enterprise is exposed to in order to avoid financial loss. We asked our resident insurance expert to give us an overview of Commercial Insurance risks:

Understanding Commercial Insurance Risks and Business Insurance Covers

By Dave Healey

If you own or manage a business, either large or small, you will require some type of insurance to protect your company against the various risks and potential multitude of claims, that your business will face.

Commercial insurance or Business insurance as it is commonly known, is a complicated area of underwriting and because all businesses are different, and face different risks depending upon the nature of the company, various packages and combined policy covers have been introduced by insurance companies and commercial broker schemes, to make the process easier.

An example of a small business insurance package which is commonly sold online is the Tradesman’s insurance package, which includes all elements of cover required by a small business or self employed trader such as basic liability covers and theft of tools.

Other small business insurance packages that are trade specific and can often be obtained online are available for shopkeepers, offices, surgeries, hotels and guest houses, restaurants, public houses and builders.

Large companies will be offered what is known as a commercial combined policy which has many different elements of cover which can be combined to make a bespoke policy for the enterprise. Most large companies will require some degree of risk assessment before the policy is underwritten, which may often include a visit to the business premises or site, and for this reason these types of larger business usually employ the services of specialist commercial insurance brokers.

Business Risks

The largest risk that a business faces is from liability to others, and the potential costs and damages a company could face if a claim was made against it.

All companies are required by law to have in place liability cover, called Employers liability insurance or EL, to protect their staff against all potential risks and accidents while in the workplace.

Business liability insurance is usually sold as a package and will always include Public Liability, often just known as PL, which protects the company against claims from the public whilst on the business premises.

A further type of liability insurance called Product liability is also available to companies under a commercial liability policy which protects the company against claims made for design or manufacturing faults in the product.

Company directors can also protect themselves against liabilities with Directors and Officers insurance (D&O) cover.

Property Damage

Most business large and small will have premises that need protection against buildings perils such as fire and flood and commercial property insurance is available to cover all buildings insurance risks. Similarly commercial contents insurance for business premises is available which covers office and business equipment including files and data processing against the common perils. For companies that carry stock, this type of business contents insurance can be extended to cover risk such as deterioration and damage.

For the small businessman who works from home these covers are often available with strict limits of indemnity, as a bolt on to a standard home buildings and contents policy. This type of cover is often effective for self employed people with just a computer and a home office.

Business Contingency Cover

One of the largest problems faced by a business is that of how to continue in business should the worst occur, for example a fire that destroys the premises. In order to deal with this Insurance companies have devised a cover called ‘Business Interruption Insurance’. Based on your previous years annual turnover, this protection insurance covers your company against all losses caused by interruption to trading due to any of the perils mentioned on the policy and will pay out on a indemnified basis for the period of cover agreed in the policy. Most policies will also offer some type of alternative trading accommodation to enable you business to continue whilst the premises are being repaired.

Additional Commercial Risks

Because commercial insurance is designed to cover all classes of business, there are many various trade or business specific covers available which can be added to a combined policy. Examples of these covers include loss of licence to trade, glass cover, goods in transit cover, book debts, commercial vehicle insurance, hauliers cover, warehouse cover, engineering insurance and plant inspection services, and theft by employees.

Outside of most combined policies are additional risks more often sold under separate policy covers, that should be considered to protect your business against all eventualities.

Examples of these are, Commercial Legal Expenses insurance cover which protects the company against claims made by employees for unfair dismissal and allows you to bring cases against suppliers.

Various protection policies are also available for businesses including Keyman insurance which provides cover against the loss of key people within your organisation. Business mortgage protection provides a monthly payment for business premises should you suffer and accident or sickness. Group ASU policies are also available to protect your staff and employees.

Purchasing Business Cover

Purchasing commercial risks insurance can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated small business owner and unless the risks are straightforward and can be underwritten online, it is advisable for all companies to approach the services of a local or regional commercial insurance broker. Insurance Brokers will not only be able to assess the complete range of risks that your business is exposed to, and provide the correct levels of cover, they will more often than not have a unique local knowledge of the risks involved and will be able to negotiate premiums that reflect the nature of the risks. Furthermore, in the event of a claim, and as most businesses will be faced with claims at some point in their trading life-cycle, the broker will handle all the settlement negotiations with the insuring company and allow you to continue what you do best – running your business.

Commercial insurance and tradesman risks covers for small business insurance are widely available online today. For larger commercial enterprises it is strongly advisable to visit commercial insurance brokers for a detailed assessment of the risks your particular business is exposed to.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dave_Healey

Recession still to bottom out as UK Insurance Industry Suffers

The pundits in the housing markets often seem to be singing from a different songsheet when it comes to what’s really happening in the UK economy. One minute we hear that repossessions have dropped in comparison to the first quarter of 2009, and that house prices are rising, but this is surely industry sales talk.
Fact of the matter is house prices haven’t reached anything like the levels needed to stimulate a National recovery and movement in the market. Mortgages are very difficult to come by and often require up to a thirty percent deposit. Those lucky ones on tracker mortgages are praying every month that the Bank of England doesn’t put up interest rates, otherwise many of them would be joining the ranks of the repossessed!
Credit in general is non-existent, particularly in the Car Finance sector, and the credit card companies with their extortionate rates are only interested in recuperating lending and tightening the national screw further!

Unemployment is rising and you only have to drive a short distance to see hundreds of towns that relied upon local industries that have gone to the wall, with the ranks of unemployed growing on a daily basis!

We as a Nation are in the proverbial big time, the good news is so is everybody else!

Insurance in the UK is suffering big time in many ways too. Households are cutting back on items seen as luxuries and Insurance is often perceived this way. In particular home insurance and personal finance insurances such as income protection have seen their markets decimated.
As no mortgages are being given away and the recent furore over miselling, mortgage protection insurance has virtually disappeared as a product to be replaced by a more encompassing lifestyle protection insurance policy.

Car insurance is in trouble too, despite the fact that it is compulsory. Many underwriters have been asking for rate rises for nearly two years but the prices have been artificially kept down by the levels of competition brought in by the Internet insurance comparison sites or aggregators as they are known. Many major players have made substantial losses in the Motor market over the last few years and many have had to cut deeply into their reserves. This cannot go on ad infinitum, and prices must harden. This will inevitably lead to many suppliers leaving the market.
As for the car scrappage scheme – did that generate demand? Yeah for a couple of thousand Hyundais built in India and imported into the UK – Sheer and utter madness!

New Cars rotting away unsold in the UK

Commercial Insurance is the one area which has obviously taken a massive reduction in premium volumes as businesses go to the wall and very few new startups enter the market.

One thing we can be sure of it’s going to be a long cold winter, a change of UK Government won’t make the slightest bit of difference and by the noises coming out on ABC and CBS News recently it is going to kick off Stateside long before it does here!

Small Business Commercial Insurance Forum

Are you a small business owner? Do you feel that your voice seldom gets heard?
If so we know how frustrating that can be especially if you feel passionate about your business or trade.

Any way the good news is you can now do something about it – well you can shout loud and will get listened to!
UK Commercial Insurance Ltd the Uk’s largest online small business commercial insurance provider, has asked us to point out to you a forum run by the Federation of Small Businesses where you can exchange passionate views with members not just of your own trade but issues which affect all small businesses including small business insurance

You can find the forum at the Federations website http://www.fsb.org.uk
You will need to register to participate, which is a simple process, but the posts make very interesting reading alone.