Why professional insurance is a friend indeed for SMEs

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Q&A with Kerri-Ann Hockley head of customer service at online professional insurance broker PolicyBee

What kind of professional insurance should SMEs have?

One size doesn’t fit all. It depends on your line of business and what kinds of risk you face.

Professional indemnity (PI) is a good place to start, and most businesses have it. It covers you if someone – usually a client – says your professional services aren’t up to scratch, and they’ve suffered financial harm because of it.

Remember, even if the claim seems unjustified, you’ll still have to deal with it. PI pays for legal expertise to fight your corner and picks up the tab for any damages awarded against you.

If you have any employees, you’ll need employer’s liability insurance. It’s the law.

Plus, you’ll probably want to cover your IT and business equipment with office insurance, and your mobile kit including smartphones and laptops with portable equipment insurance.

Business interruption insurance can be worth its weight in gold. It helps if something like a fire or flood stops you from trading normally. It covers your lost revenue and pays to set you up temporarily elsewhere.

Apart from your legal obligation to cover your employees, there are no ‘rules’ and what insurance you get is up to you. The tricky bit is deciding how much cover you need – this guide might help.

Do SMEs need public liability insurance?

Again, horses for courses. It’s a good idea to have public liability insurance if you go out and about visiting clients – or if they come to your place. It covers you if they somehow get injured in the process, or if their property’s damaged, and they allege it’s your fault. Say they trip over a trailing cable in your office and fall, breaking their hip. Or you spill water over their office IT equipment and blow their electrics. Public liability stumps up for all your legal fees and compensation costs if a claim comes in. 

What’s cyber insurance all about?

It’s a product of our digital age and helps businesses recover quickly when a cyber-attack hits. That can mean anything from a ransom demand, to a hacked website or data theft. A swift response is vital to avoid losing both revenue and customers. Plus, all the research points to the fact attacks are on the rise, with SMEs firmly in the line of fire.

Cyber insurance helps by paying for IT forensics to identify and stop the attack, and repair your systems and websites. It also pays for stand-in kit so your business can keep running in the meantime.

If necessary, it pays for the expertise to handle ransom demands and data breaches (including dealing with regulators and informing customers), and covers legal costs and damages if you’re sued for compensation. Importantly, your business’s lost revenue while you’re unable to trade normally is covered too, as is your reputation – cyber insurance pays for crisis management and PR.

Will GDPR have an impact on my SME?

If you handle personal data for customers or staff, within the EU, the answer is ‘yes’. And you can forget about Brexit, because the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force on 25 May 2018, applies regardless.

GDPR sets out specific ways in which sensitive information can be collected, handled, stored and protected. And the responsibility lies with individual companies to put suitable policies, processes and staff training in place.

Businesses not playing by the rules, and those who suffer a data breach, can be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office using this (whichever’s greater) formula:
▪ Up to 4% of annual revenue
▪ Up to €20m

That makes it well worth taking seriously. Read more about GDPR here. 

How does being digital make PolicyBee different?

Think ‘insurance broker’ and odds-on you picture a bloke with a briefcase in an office crammed with dusty files. Not us though. We’re all about efficient digital processes and buying at the click of a button…with as little insurance jargon as possible. It means we take a modern approach to professional insurance. We know it’s not the most exciting subject, but it’s a necessary one – so we make buying it as swift and painless as possible.

Our website lets you identify which policies are best for you quickly and easily (although you can chat with someone online or in person if you need to). Then we email your policy documents and it’s job done – leaving you free to get on with running your business.

Click here for a no-nonsense quote, or phone 0345 222 5370 to speak to a friendly expert.