Saturday, 10 November 2012

Do I Need Pub Insurance and Should I Get an Agent

Whether you own a retail store, a local 'watering hole', or a cozy bed and breakfast in the country, you need to have an insurance policy that will cover your business for a number of aspects. These include injury to employees or customers, damage to equipment, loss of earnings for a variety of reasons, and the usual as listed above, theft, flooding, fire, and the like.
For example, you own a pub and a customer carelessly discards their cigarette butt into the dry shrubbery outside. The bushes catch fire, and it spreads to the pub. Luckily nobody was seriously injured, but the smoke damage means you need to close until it is taken care of. Not only do you have the repair work to pay for, there is the loss of income for your business.

In another example, say somebody was injured, and sued you. Your pub insurance policy will cover you in this event. The same would be true with a bed and breakfast insurance policy, or with retail insurance. These policies often include a 'Business Interruption' policy, which includes the loss of income mentioned above such as flooding or fire, but also includes sickness or death, lack of public supply.

If you own a retail outlet, takeaway, or boutique, then you need retail insurance that will protect your business against potential damage or losses courtesy of third parties, such as customers. Similar to pub insurance, retail insurance will cover you for business interruption, including gas leaks or failure of electricity. Your buildings and contents cover will protect stock, machinery and equipment in relation to your business. You will also need a policy that includes public liability and employer's liability insurance to protect you in case somebody gets injured whilst on your property, or should an employee get injured whilst working for you.

So what should you look for in your chosen insurance policy? Whether you are looking or pub insurance, bed and breakfast insurance, or retail insurance, there are certain factors that you need to consider before selecting which product to purchase.

Firstly, identify the differences between an insurance agent and an insurance provider. Many businesses choose to purchase insurance products through a sales agent, as they will do a lot of the tedious sifting of information on your behalf. However, agents are often working on a commissioned incentive so may not be able to offer as economical an option as if you had gone directly to the insurance provider. Just as with hiring an employee, you are hiring the agent to work for your business. Would you hire an employee without an interview? Probably not. Here are the key ideas to find out from your potential insurance agent before doing business with them.

Find out how long the agent has been in business. A newly operating agent may not be as well established, but that doesn't mean you should rule them out right away. Ask things like how they are compensated, which companies they work with, and which carrier they do the most business with. Another important clue on selecting an agent would be finding out how much sway they have in a hard-hitting claim, or in the event of a coverage dispute. You need to know your agent will help you out when you need it most.

Ask which companies offer a specialized policy for your type of business, they all vary a little. And what if your insurance agent makes a mistake? Check that they have something called 'errors and omissions coverage'. You don't want to pay for their blunder. Discover which trade divisions they work for, and who the top clients are. It may be possible to get a reference, although this is not usually necessary. The agent should also be able to provide information such as the individual insurance company's financial rating, market standing, reputation for claim payment, and other specific offerings.

Although having an agent may help you in your decision making process when buying pub insurance or bed and breakfast insurance, remember to do what you feel is the best option for your business. If your business has a retail element to it remember that you may need specialised retail insurance.