There are plenty of questions to answer when taking out a new business insurance policy, but your responsibilities don’t end once the policy is in place.
If your business is like most other successful businesses, it will be continually evolving as you look at ways to improve it.
Whilst some businesses might not change a lot from year to year, others are changing rapidly from month to month, or even day to day!
For this reason it is important to keep your insurance broker or company in the loop to ensure that you and your business are properly protected.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of only answering the questions when they are asked, but you are still required to update these details at each renewal and even in between renewals.
An ideal opportunity to review your business insurance needs it at renewal time, which will ensure that you are reviewing your cover at least annually.
It’s not simply a good idea to review your business and keep your broker updated. It is in fact part of your duty of disclosure to ensure that your insurer knows about any relevant information which could affect their risk.
Areas for Review
There are many things which can change within a business over time, and some of the most common ones include changes to:
- Business activities (both new activities and ceased activities)
- Annual turnover / revenue
- Staffing numbers
- Use of subcontractors or labour hire
- Working locations (particularly hazardous locations)
These aren’t the only changes that you need to make your insurer aware of, but they are certainly some of the more common changes which can impact upon your business insurance.
Whilst some of these changes may result in increased premiums, others can actually result in reduced premiums.
For example if your revenue and/or staff numbers have reduced, or you have ceased certain business activities, you may find that telling your insurer will result in a saving on your insurance.
The consequences of not reviewing your business insurance can be extremely serious.
If you need to make a claim on your policy, and it is found that you have not notified the insurer of a relevant change to your business, you may find that the claim will be declined.
For example let’s say you’re an electrician and you have recently started a new contract working on a mine site, but you have not notified your insurer of this work.
If you need to make a claim for work you have done on the mine site, the insurer will most likely deny the claim because you have not disclosed this work to them.
If the claim was for a few thousand dollars you might be able to pay it out of your own savings, but if the claim is for a few hundred thousand, or even a few million, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble which can impact upon both your business and your family.
Reviewing Your Business Insurance
At each annual renewal you should speak with your insurance broker about you cover and whether or not it is still suitable for your needs.
In between renewals you should also inform your insurance broker (or the insurer directly if you do not have a broker) of any changes to your business which could affect your cover.
Whilst in some cases your premiums could increase after a review, it is much better to know that you are properly covered rather than taking the risk of being underinsured.