John Leigh, director at IFM Insurance Brokers, says businesses must ensure commercial insurance is fit for purpose.
1. Check your policy wording. If an insurer repudiates a major claim on the basis of an unfulfilled warranty, an SME could face months of uncertainty. This can have a damaging affect and has potential for loss of income, clients and of reputation.
2. Seek the help of a broker who can negotiate the policy wordings which match your needs and knows how to properly fulfil them.
3. Identify someone in the business who can ensure that warranties and conditions are being complied with. For example areas such as site security, the removal of waste materials, traffic management, fire plans, etc.
4. Make sure your insurance cover satisfies the terms and conditions of any lease you may have on the property you occupy.
5. Report a claim to your insurer as soon as a possible. Insurers can issue “reservations of rights” letters where there is a possibility that their position has been prejudiced by late reporting.
6. Notify your broker and insurer as soon as a business property becomes unoccupied as conditions such as weekly inspections may still need to be complied with.
7. Inform your insurer immediately where for any reason your business premises cannot be protected by an alarm system.
8. Don’t leave keys in the car. If insurers can show keys were left in the vehicle a claim is likely to be repudiated.
9. Ensure more than one person visits the bank when paying in money into the business account. Insurers normally restrict money ( loss of cash claims) to a limit of £2500 per able bodied person taking the cash to/from the bank.
10. Your business cost face significant increases to premiums and more stringent policy wordings if you have a history of making claims