The small business owner in Ireland has many things to deal with apart from the actual day to day running of their business. Whether you are a corner shop or a manufacturing plant, insurance is one of the key considerations to be watched very carefully because of the massive negative implications for the business if things go wrong and inadequate or no insurance cover is in place.
To solve the problem of whether you have all bases covered in relation to the many risks that are in any given business, your broker should be able to assemble a bundled package for you. The broker should evaluate your critical areas of risk. The obvious ones are public and employer liability, property and contents insurance. These should be simple exercises to calculate your needs, but even they are fraught with the danger of not, for example, covering enough of part time staff in a retail business.
The less obvious ones, such as cover for lack of trading because of damage or cover for payment of rent while recovering from flood or fire damage, need to be included in any decent policy. When filling out a proposal form, ensure you do it with your broker as they will have more experience of the possible risks you might overlook. Always be as accurate as possible in your valuations – err on the high side if necessary. However, in the event of a claim you will only get the exact value as calculated by a claims assessor. If you under-insure, you will be subject to what is known as "average settlement", a ratio of what you have claimed in relation to the value you stated on your proposal form.
A bundled package, or commercial combined insurance policy, as it is sometimes known, offers either one policy or a multiple of policies presented to you as an umbrella schedule by your broker. The reason for the multiple policies is that one underwriter might be more competitive than another in covering certain types of risk and as the brokers job is to get you the best possible deal in your interests, they should search the market for the best combined package. In fact, be wary of the broker who provides you with a quote for everything you need from the one underwriter – it may suggest that they are tied to a particular underwriter for better commission or are just too lazy to research the market on your behalf.
Before you renew your policy, it is worth imagining the worst case scenario for an event which would close your business and ensure that all possible liabilities are covered.