Business continuity planning could reduce your insurance premiums

If the worst comes to the worst, having a thorough business continuity plan will save you a lot of heartache and reduce your business downtime.

By Lisa Clarkson, company director, West Craven Insurance

But few people realise that it can also save you money in the short term, by significantly reducing your business insurance premiums.

Basically a business continuity plan enables you to continue trading if your place of business is affected by a crisis. The first step is risk management - the process of identifying, quantifying, and managing the risks that your business faces. This will let you understand the required tasks to get you up and running and who in your business takes responsibility for each of them.

We advise all our business clients to formulate a plan and of course we have our own. We advise clients what they need to consider from an insurance perspective.

This came into sharp focus during December’s floods. The memory of those events may be fading, but there are many other types of crises that can afflict your business and it’s worth making provision long before you anticipate difficulties.

At the height of Storm Desmond, our claims we’re up by 80 per cent on the corresponding week the previous year. A mixture of office, warehouse and manufacturing businesses were affected and typically, damage claims were for stock, machinery and plant – with office based businesses claiming for carpets.

Albeit unscheduled, we decided to open on Boxing Day, so we could support our customers. We reported incidents immediately in order for them to be at the front of the queue for assessment and the total of our claims reached over £750,000.

If you formulate a business continuity plan, from an insurance perspective, in the event of a crisis you should consider the following basics:
  • Contact your insurer immediately there’s a problem for advice on what to do next. In some cases an inspection of possessions may not be necessary.
  • Dispose of stock – like rotting food, or any other items - that could present a health hazard.
  • Before throwing things away, take photos of damaged items.
  • As accurately as possible, make a list of damaged items.
  • Take a cutting from carpets or soft furnishings, as it may help your insurer in providing a similar replacement or cash payment.
Understandably, in a challenging economic climate you want to source the best price. However, your business continuity plan needs sound insurance advice – don’t just look online for the best deal. Price is important, but comes a distant second to having appropriate, comprehensive cover – without which your business could be trying to recover whilst facing huge costs. This is why you should talk to your local broker who knows your business and area.  It’s better to get a bespoke policy tailored to your needs, rather than an online off-the-peg policy that is found to be wanting in your hour of need.