COMMERCIAL INSURANCE

  • Q: My premises are not secure, what can I do?
  • A: You have a duty to mitigate and prevent further losses from occurring.Make sure that your premises are secure. It’s OK to have emergency boarding-up done in the event of a break-in or vandalismYou do not have to wait until you’ve informed your insurers but ensure that you keep all costs to a minimum and that you:
    • Retain all receipts
    • Keep a photographic record
    • Report all malicious damage or thefts to the police and obtain a crime reference number
  • Q: What do you mean by minimum standard of security on my policy?
  • A: To provide theft cover your insurance company will require a minimum level of security on your premises, this will include for example:
    • Five lever mortise deadlocks complying with British Standard 3621 or five lever close shackled padlocks on all final exit doors.
    • All ground floor and accessible opening windows to be fitted with key operated locks, fixed shut or fitted with bars.

    Please refer to your policy wording for full details as the requirements can vary according to the type of door and windows you have. This will not apply to any door or window officially designated a fire exit by the Fire Authority.

  • Q: One of my employees has just had an accident at work, what should I do?
  • A: We recommend that you:
    • Report all accidents to us/your insurers immediately
    • Meet your legal obligation to record accidents in your Accident Book
    • Do not accept responsibility or agree to pay compensation even if you think it is obvious that it is your fault
    • Allow your Insurers to investigate and advise you of the best course of action to be taken.
    • If you accept liability before referral to your insurers then you could prejudice your, and your insurer’s, ability to deal with any claim made against you.
  • Q: Water has leaked into my premises from the flat upstairs. Do I need to advise my own Insurers or shall I just claim against the upstairs neighbours?
  • A: You should notify us of any damage to your property even if you think someone else may be responsible. Do not assume that just because the damage was caused by someone else that they are legally liable. The law allows for genuine and fortuitous events and also bear in mind that they might not be insured or in a financial position to pay for your damage.
  • Q: Should I take out a package policy or a combined policy?
  • A: Every business is different and ensuring you have the right policy can be a bit of a minefield.The simplest way to protect your livelihood is by taking out a package policy which has been specifically designed for certain classes of business known as Small Medium Enterprises (SME). Such a policy will have been tailored to the requirements of your business and will include certain covers on an ‘automatic basis’, such as standard business interruption, shop front glass &/or signage and liability as well as offering other aspects on a more specific basis, for example legal expenses and money insurance.Consider it a box of chocolates that have a bunch of covers pre-wrapped and ready to suit your business. A combined policy is designed for larger businesses and can be described more as a “pick & mix” whereby you have the box and you put what covers you need into it. The experts at Shearwater can help you in either case and give you the best advice as to what would be the best course of action to take based on your individual circumstances.
  • Q: What is public liability?
  • A: This type of insurance is designed to cover you for any claim made against you for any third party property damage and/or injury that may occur to a member of the public while you or an employee is going about your normal working activities. It will also cover you for any legal fees incurred in defending yourself against such a claim. It is not a legal requirement but highly recommended for any individual or company who has any direct contact with members of the public whether on your premises or otherwise.
  • Q: Do I need public liability cover?
  • A: It is highly recommended for any individual or company who has any direct contact with members of the public, whether on your premises or otherwise. Although claims are not common under this insurance when they are made they can run into many hundreds of thousands of pounds. The question is can you or your company afford not to take out this policy should the worst happen?
  • Q: What is property owners liability?
  • A: This type of insurance is designed to cover you for any claim made against you for any third party property damage and/or injury that may occur to a member of the public while they are in, on or around any property that you own and are responsible for the maintenance of.
  • Q: Do I need property owners liability (POL) cover?
  • A: Although not compulsory for many landlords and commercial property owners, policies will automatically include this cover. In instances where it is not included, it is highly recommended for any individual or company that owns land or property that may have members of the public accessing it to take out POL cover. Although claims are not common under this insurance when they are made they can run into many hundreds of thousands of pounds. The question is can you or your company afford not to take out this policy should the worst happen?
  • Q: What is employers’ liability and do I really need this?
  • A: This insurance is designed to cover you for any personal injury claims made against you by any employee, volunteer and/or helper. It will also cover you for any legal fees incurred in defending yourself against such a claim. It is a legal requirement for any employer whether their employees are paid or not. You are required to display your certificate of employers liability insurance at all times. If you keep your horses at home and there is no commercial aspect at all to your yard it may be possible to include any groom you employ as a domestic employee which would be covered by a standard household insurance. Shearwater offers specialist household policies for people who keep their horses at home so please do not hesitate to give us a call if you require this cover. Not all household policies would cover grooms so it’s essential that you check with the insurer involved and make sure you comply with the law. If there’s any commercial aspect to your yard at all (even if it is only one paying DIY livery) it will be necessary to have a separate policy in place.
  • Q: Why do you need my Employers Reference Number (ERN) and/or PAYE reference?
  • A: The Financial Conduct Authority – the financial sector’s regulatory body – has introduced new rules which mean that insurers and brokers will now ask for additional information when arranging employers’ liability insurance with you.This downloadable guide will help to explain what information you will need to have, where you can find it, why you are being asked for it and the benefits that this will have for your employees.
  • Q: I have made a mistake. Can my client claim under my public liability policy?
  • A: No, your policy does not provide cover for professional negligence. A Professional indemnity insurance policy would be required.
  • Q: Do I really need specific commercial insurance?
  • A: Sometimes unavoidable accidents happen and events occur beyond our control. The retail sector is often busy and frenetic and accidents can happen no matter how many precautions you take. If you are based in a shop or travel with stock on board, the risk of losses are real. People often look at commercial insurance as an unwanted expense when in fact it is an investment in your business. Insurance may cost you but if your stock was stolen or destroyed the payout you would have to make would be more than the cost of your premiums. By protecting your expensive stock you can rest assured that if something goes wrong in-store or on the road, it won’t be you picking up the bill.
  • Q: Can I protect myself when placing orders with suppliers?
  • A: If a large outlay has been made on stock and it doesn’t turn up, is faulty, or your supplier goes out of business, you could end up making a loss which is why we advise filtering any new customers to check that they are a reputable and reliable company. In the event that damage occurs to stock that you have already invested in through an insurable peril, whilst still in the hands of your supplier, you could be able to claim for business interruption for the sales you are losing out on but this is often an add on to the policy so check your details carefully.
  • Q: How can I protect myself against theft?
  • A: Unfortunately thieves are at work in all areas, in all industries, and with tack shops often holding vast quantities of expensive and desirable stock, they are often an easy target. From an insurance point of view theft is generally a standard peril included with all commercial combined or shop policies – unless it has been specifically excluded. Theft may be excluded until you adhere to a particular term or condition of the policy. Don’t just assume you are protected – always check with your insurance company or broker. Theft tends to be opportunistic, therefore as a business it is important to put certain financial protections in place such as insurance to ensure full compensation in the event of a break in. It’s also very important to apply physical protections to reduce the chances of a thief seeing the opportunity in the first place. In some cases an insurance company may exclude theft until certain protective measures are put in to place, such as an alarm.
  • Q: Is there a limit to the amount I can claim for in the event of theft?
  • A: It’s become more and more common for insurers to put a limit on theft. They do this by stipulating that in order for theft to be covered there must be signs of a violent and/or forcible entry or exit of the premises. This has historically been applied to premises that are at higher risk and have poor physical security. However with the increase of problems occurring, it is becoming more commonplace to be applied to conventional policies. Sometimes getting the cheapest policy does not mean you are getting the best cover In fact when it comes down to commercial insurance, it is often false economy to pay a lower premium because it can reflect the quality of your cover, this is why it is imperative that you check your policy wording carefully.
  • Q: Are there any security measures I need to take out to ensure I am fully protected in the event of a theft?
  • A: Having good physical security will help reduce chances of a break-in occurring and potentially get you a discount in premium. Most insurers insist on minimum security requirement of 5 lever mortice deadlocks on all external doors and key locks on all windows, and may require higher levels of security such as police response alarms in the case of high sums insured. There are, however, some exceptions and some insurers will take into account additional security measures in place should a client fail to comply with the minimum requirements such as metal roller shutters and/or alarms etc.
  • Q: Is there anything that is not covered in a standard policy when it comes to theft?
  • A: Petty pilfering can be covered on your insurance, however it should be noted that an excess of between £100- £500 would apply so depending on the item stolen it may not be worth claiming for. This is not always automatically covered so always check your policy wording. There are ways you can minimise the risk of petty pilfering or shoplifting such as positioning more expensive items in view of staff, keeping a close eye on customers visiting the shop and installing additional security measures such as CCTV cameras. There are also optional extensions to cover theft by employees, known as fidelity guarantee, though this will be at an additional premium.
  • Q: Am I automatically covered when at shows and events?
  • A: Depending on the insurer, cover can be extended for fairs and exhibitions under the shop policy but each case is looked at on a case-by-case basis. This would extend the public liability and employers’ liability for fairs and exhibitions, as well as stock cover subject to an underwriter’s agreement. There wouldn’t necessarily be any security measures required as such, as the underwriter will make a judgment call based the information provided by the client and limits of cover required.
  • Q: If something happens that is totally out of my control am I covered?
  • A: Both a Package Policy and a Commercial Combined Policy will cover you for fire, loss of documents, water damage and storm damage, etc and should pay out provided the loss has occurred due to an insurable peril. In the case of situations associated with weather such as the heavy snowfall experienced at the end of 2010, generally if you cannot gain access to your shop or premises and therefore cannot trade, this is not covered under a either policy type. However, should a long period of snow result in pipes freezing and therefore cause an escape of water claim, the resultant damage would be covered including tracing and accessing where the leak is coming from. Should you be unable to trade for that reason then business interruption will also come into effect. Another example would be should the weight of snow cause the roof to collapse this would be covered as it would be considered storm damage.
  • Q: Is my stock covered when I am at a show?
  • A: When taking out a specific policy to cover yourself at shows it is important to bear in mind that your stock will only be covered during the event and when in transit to and from the event and this can be limited to a certain number of days. At all other times your stock should be covered under comprehensive business insurance. The value of your stock is based on cost price to the insured. You should always notify your insurer of the length of time you will be away. These policies will also be subject to full details of security at the event. If you are a regular exhibitor at a number of shows throughout the year – more than three – it is worth taking out a multiple events policy which will save you a lot of money and administration.
  • Q: What happens if someone is injured on my exhibition stand at a show?
  • A: Public liability provides you with a cover for your legal liability to pay any damages, claimants costs and expenses which could arise as a result of a third party incident, for example, an accident to a member of the public on your stand. It is also vital that you have employers’ liability which would provide cover for any incident occurring to anyone you employ at an event. This needs to include anyone and everyone who could be helping out – even if it is voluntary.
  • Q: I only do a couple of shows a year and hire the equipment, will my policy cover me?
  • A: If you are hiring or borrowing equipment for your show you can add on an element to your cover which insures you against any damage or theft. Event equipment cover will insure you for the loss of, or damage to any equipment you are responsible for during the event. This will not protect you if damage occurs due to defective erection or dismantle of stands and marquees or through theft from an unattended vehicle. If you own the equipment be careful to ensure your insurance covers you for this as some companies would require you specify a replacement value for it on the policy.

For equestrian claims: Call 01992 707318

For all other claims: Call 01992 707155

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