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Business insurance needs a methodical approach

This blog is relevant for SMEs looking to save money on the following types of business insurance cover: 1) property insurance including (buildings, contents, stock, business interruption, money etc)
2) public / products liability and 3) employers liability.

How to get cheap business insurance. Essentially it comes down to 2 things:
1. Get quotes from as many insurers as possible.
2. Get the message across to the underwriter that your business is not likely to have any claims.

Get quotes from as many insurers as possible:
It may surprise you to know that the average Irish business owner will never have heard the name of some of the most competitive SME insurers currently active in the Irish market. The reality is that business insurance is dominated by brokers. So when an international insurance company such as Chartis PLC, QBE PLC or Amlin PLC decide that they want a piece of the Irish insurance market, they don’t take out newspaper, TV or radio adverts, they simply make their products available to a panel of brokers.

Different brokers have access to different insurers but we might as well blow our own trumpet and tell you that we believe that (as part of Martin Insurance Brokers – est 1980) have access to the widest panel of active Irish SME insurers – including Chartis, QBE, Amlin, Lloyds syndicates etc. we access 30+ insurers in all.

Get the message across to the insurers that your business is not likely to have any claims
The first step for a broker when arranging to provide quotations for your business insurance is to gather relevant information which will be incorporated into a ‘submission document’. This submission document will then be forwarded to an underwriter who is sitting at his/her desk in Dublin, Cork, Galway, London or wherever. You need as many of these underwriters to quote for your business as possible and when they are quoting you want them to give the cheapest price possible. They will only give the cheapest price if they are impressed by what they see in the submission document.

The submission document should contain the following:

An introduction including some information on the background of the company (or its directors if it is a start-up). How long has it been established. Any awards the company has received. A description of the premises/location and any other information which will help to familiarise the underwriter with the background and positive ethos of the company.

Property information
When considering the property section the underwriter is asking him/herself some questions including:

  • Is this place likely to burn? If so, will the whole place go up or just a part of it.
  • Is theft of stock or equipment likely to happen?
  • Is malicious damage to the buildings likely to occur?

So the submission document should answer these questions by containing as much positive information  as possible about the risk.
This information might include (every business is different – these are examples):

  • The buildings are modern, mass concrete with a cladding roof. Upper floors are concrete.
  • There is a sprinkler system in place or there are fire extinguishers and blankets throughout the premises or there is a central station linked fire alarm.
  • The buildings are split into 3 separate units.
  • The business operates from a busy industrial park with 24 hour security. The premises has a 24 hour monitored burglar alarm and/or security shutters. The buildings are modern mass concrete and steel and are surrounded by a security fence.

Public/products liability information
Again the underwriter is asking him/herself some questions including:

  • how likely is third party property damage or injuries likely to occur.
  • how likely are any of the products produced likely to cause third party property damage or injury.

So you should specify:

  • That visitors to the premises are contained to a certain area and are not allowed into manufacturing or other work areas (if applicable).
  • That there are strong management and recording systems in place to make sure that the premises are clean and tidy at all times and regularly cleaned so as to avoid claims from slips, trips and falls.
  • that any onsite work is carried out under the supervision of senior staff and that there are health and safety systems in place to avoid any third party property damage or injuries arising from activities away from your premises.
  • that you have quality control procedures in place to ensure that any products produced are of a high standard and are therefore unlikely to cause injury or damage (if applicable).

Employers Liability
Obviously the underwriter is considering how likely it is that your employees will be injured.

Some of the things that should be demonstrated to an underwriter are that:

  • you have a safety statement in place
  • you have provided relevant training to employees (and documented it)
  • employees are provided with and wear PPE
  • that machines are in good working order & guards or other safety features are fitted

There are other things that should be included in a submission document including an explanation of previous claims and measures the business has put in place to avoid similar claims happening. Sometimes it can be beneficial to give very detailed information about previous claims.

Our insurance professionals at will be happy to speak with you about your insurance requirements and how to get the best quote for your business. If you would like a quotation or have any other questions please complete our online enquiry form or send your question to the author of this blog –

Our clients include Hotels, Pubs, Nightclubs, Leisure Centres, Golf & Sports Clubs, All areas of Construction, Manufacturing, Professionals, IT, Quarries, Distribution & Haulage, Waste Management, Motor Trade, Security, Bus & PSV

Post by James Martin,

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