As more small businesses across the UK reopen and begin trading once more, there’s lots to consider when also operating in line with COVID-19 safety regulations. FSB Insurance Service share their advice for checking your business insurance and ensuring that you have the appropriate cover in place, so you can focus on what you do best.
1. Talk to your insurer and let them know you’re back in operation
Let your insurer know when you are back on the premises, so that they don’t mistakenly think you’re exceeding any unoccupancy clause in the policy wording.
“You may have downgraded or stopped your insurance cover in lockdown,” says David Perry, FSB Insurance Service. “You should ensure this is back in place before you resume trading.”
Whether you’re a policyholder or not, FSB members can call FSB Insurance Service’s advice line for expert guidance.
2. Has your business model changed during the lockdown?
Any changes to how your business operates, such as deliveries or additional stock for online orders, will need to be brought to your insurer’s attention.
3. Continually review your business practices
It will take a while for things to get fully back to normal, so FSB Insurance Service recommends continually reviewing your business practices and policies as things pick up.
Some businesses will have to do a gradual return to full trading capacity, so check with Government regulation and guidance to ensure you comply with all requirements. Many insurers are taking sympathetic views to mid-term adjustments and changes in cover, so if necessary, you may be able to slowly increase your cover back to normal as required by your business.
4. Review your safety measures
In your emergency planning procedures, you should make sure there is appropriate cover in line with your assessments. This includes:
- Your site and facilities layout (this may need to change due to social distancing rules).
- Your risk assessments – do they reflect your new way of operating? This should include your fire risk assessment, general assessments, manual handling, DSE, PPE, COSHH, RIDDOR etc.
- Business travel and site visit policies and procedures.
- If you’re working on-site or in people’s home, this will require vastly different considerations.
5. Check any insurance warranties or conditions to ensure you comply
- Alarm and other security conditions – is your alarm company able to monitor and respond to your alarm system?
- Unattended machinery or processes conditions – do you have enough staff to operate machinery correctly, or are they operating unattended?
- Heat Application Warranties – are you able to revisit sites to check that use of heat has not caused an issue?
- Waste Removal Warranties – are contractors able to remove waste from your site?
6. Planning a return to events?
There are various things to consider if you’re taking your retail or crafting business to a local event, such as:
- Public Liability insurance - lots of event organisers have a minimum required public liability limit in their contracts. Even if it isn’t required, Public Liability cover is important as it protects your business against any claims made against you for injury or damage to a third party.
- If you have employees, you are legally obligated to hold Employers’ Liability cover for them, even if they have only been hired on a temporary basis (i.e., to help out at a summer fair or to cover you while you’re away).
- Driving yourself and your stock to the event? Your private motor policy may not cover using your vehicle for work, so check your policy documents or confirm with your insurer whether you need additional cover.
7. Looking to the future
Above all, the top priority is to stay safe as the UK begins to reopen. You may decide to:
- change your sickness policy to ensure you don’t see any outbreaks within your business.
- revisit your business continuity plan to help keep your business running if a future event causes issues.
- discuss your insurance options with an expert from FSB Insurance Service.
FSB Insurance Service provide a free Business Continuity Planning kit for registered FSB members.
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