Quality advice is vital when insuring a business

11 June 2015

These days insurance cover is just a phone call or website click away, and the temptation to take short-cuts when arranging commercial insurance is always present. The reality is that seeking quality advice will assist a business in making sure that they purchase the correct commercial insurance solution for their business, says Standard Bank.

“Even though most reputable insurers have the facilities to offer business insurance over the phone or via the Internet, these services have their limits,” says Bryan Verpoort, Head of Corporate and Business Insurance at Standard Bank.

“If a business is the same as many others, as is the case with Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) for example, obtaining quotes this way can suffice.  The reason being that the cover required would not differ markedly from other QSR businesses. Insurance would then be of a ‘one policy fits all’ variety.”

“However, as soon as a business is unique, or operates in a defined niche, it is advisable to contact a professional advisor so that a detailed needs analysis can be undertaken. By taking out a generic policy only to find out that the business is either over or under- insured when lodging a claim could be costly at best, and disastrous for the business at worst.”

“The services of an accredited advisor offer a business owner or manager several other advantages,” says Mr Verpoort.

These can include:

 

  • Offering a thorough audit of a business, its equipment and assets. This ensures that an accurate value assessment is made and the replacement costs of machinery, equipment and assets are accurately documented. Premiums would then reflect the true value of replacing equipment.
  • The advisor’s needs analysis would become a part of the insurance company’s records. This reduces the possibility of disputes arising about the assets involved and their value if a claim is lodged.
  • The insurance company’s assessor will point out shortcomings in safety, security or fire prevention equipment, such as fire extinguishers that have not been checked or maintained. As these vital elements could impact on a claim, the business owner has an opportunity to rectify the situation and mitigate the risk before the policy is written. If not rectified within a stipulated period, the insurance company could either accept or reject the risk. Acceptance of the risk, in these cases generally means that the insured will pay a higher premium and excess until such time that the risk is mitigated
  • Advice can be extended to include insurance against specific risks, such as the possibility of business interruption caused by non-delivery of materials or components locally and internationally following an insured event.

In the case of importers and exporters, these interruptions could be caused by events beyond the control of the business owner.  Examples of this are fire in an international warehouse, damage or loss of key plant and machinery during transit, or aviation or maritime events resulting in a total loss.

In instances like these, the business owner could benefit from specific advice by the accredited advisor regarding expediting and shipping of emergency stock, or other mobility based solutions.

A business can obtain further value by asking their insurance provider to review the insurance and indemnity clauses of   contracts that are in place between the business and landlord, so that any potential ‘gaps’ in cover can be identified and continuously managed

“The question of public liability insurance should also be addressed. The levels of insurance required vary tremendously, as the level of exposure and risk depend on a company’s business activities. However, it is always prudent to purchase liability cover that extends beyond the manufacturing premises, especially if the business is manufacturing, selling or distributing products that have the potential to cause injury, harm or loss of or damage to property when being used by consumers. 

"As with all services and products offered by an insurance company, the quality of cover depends largely on the information provided by the client. The greater the level of information supplied the more relevant and appropriate the insurance coverage will be."

"It is therefore in the interests of the insured to disclose all relevant information about the premises and operational risks being insured. It is also important to divulge any information that could impact on the future relationship between the insurance provider and the insured."

"Insurance based on mutual understanding provides for quality insurance cover. This means that the business can operate confidently, knowing that in the event a claim arises it will be correctly assessed and acted on,"

says Mr Verpoort.


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