The changing face of SME: Is your insurance up to date?
I was working with a small business recently who were looking to add a new insurance plan to cover a new expansion to their business. However, when asked it became clear their cover all insurance plan that they had bought online 3 years earlier, was outdated and left a key part of their business uninsured.
They were insured, but they were underinsured.
If you have significantly under-insured your business, your insurer may have the right to pay only part of any loss because you've insured for only part of what it's worth. Insurance isn't something that you can set and forget if your business changes. Whether it's to add more staff, change your business location, or add a new service to your business it needs to be updated. However, not only do businesses change, but government legislation and policy are also regularly updated, as are the insurance plans on offer.
In the past few years the percentage of businesses that bought their insurance online has risen from 20% to 27%. While it may be convenient and cheap for the busy company owner, it may not be the best option in the long run. Buying online only offers you a handful of policies which may not cover you completely, like a raincoat with holes in it. You are mostly covered, but there are still holes where the water can come in and leave you unprotected. These holes can come from not fully understanding what you need to protect your business, or missing little details that may seem unimportant but are actually vital.
Taking out insurance can be confusing at the best of times and can often cause you to over insure, under insure or ignore your insurance altogether. However, utilising a professional insurance broker to help you evaluate and choose your coverage plan can help you keep track of the changes in your business and insurance needs.
As a broker, we can help navigate the changing landscape by:
1 - Keeping in touch with industries. Like everything else the SME industry is always changing, new policies come out regularly as does new legislation and regulations. Keeping our finger on the pulse keeps us in the know and allows us to provide the most up to date policy options for your company.
2 - Changes to the claiming process. It's something we hope we never have to do, but making a claim from your insurance is inevitable in some cases. It's not always as simple as just contacting your insurer though, as some companies have quite a few hoops that they make you jump through before they approve your claim. Even for those who have had to make a claim before, companies can change their claiming process at any time, making the process difficult. Buying insurance through a broker means that you get the most up-to-date information on the claiming process for each company, saving you time and money in the claims process.
3 - Business changes. Businesses are constantly changing, services and locations change, staff members come and go causing the business to grow and shrink with them. Your insurance cover, however, stays static and may leave your business unprotected if it's not updated to reflect your business. A broker can help you find the best policy for your new circumstances making it easy to keep your policy up to date and your business protected. As a business grows and changes so do their insurance needs, what met those needs last year, or even 6 months ago, may just not fit anymore.
Be sure to keep an eye on your insurance and update it yearly to make sure you are completely covered. Utilise a broker when looking for a new policy because they ask the right questions to make sure that your insurance is the best possible fit for you.
Brett Thiedeman is the Director at Thiedeman Insurance Solution. He can provide advice on what insurance will provide you with the best cover for your business and your budget. Contact Brett Thiedeman today.