When renewal dates roll around, it can be tempting to simply extend your polices and be done with it, ticking off another item on your already extensive to-do list. However, in the rapidly evolving business landscape of the 21st century, it is more important than ever to ensure your cover meets the changing needs of your business. Renewing your policies without reviewing them can be problematic. You may be paying for cover that is no longer relevant, while neglecting the cover you do require. This can cripple a business at claims time, should they be knocked back due to underinsurance or having failed to inform their insurer of certain changes in the operations of their business.

Have your circumstances changed?

When some changes occur within your business, it is essential to inform your insurance company. You may be unaware of which changes, some seemingly minor, can affect your policies. Here are six questions to ask yourself before renewal, to assess whether you have anything to declare to your insurer:

  1. Is your business description on your policy still relevant? If your business activities have altered since the last time your insurance was reviewed, this needs to be updated, as insurers provide protection for the business activities documented on your policy.
  2. Has your business moved location? The physical location of your business is important information to your insurer and can affect your premiums, so it is essential to inform your insurer should you relocate.
  3. Have you purchased, sold or disposed of any assets? New assets may not be covered by your existing policy, and assets no longer associated with your business may result in higher payments than necessary.
  4. Have you renovated your building, office or retail store? Changes that increase the value of your premises can also make a difference to your premiums. If in doubt it is best to inform your insurer.
  5. Have you installed a new alarm system, security cameras or employed security guards? Added security can reduce your premiums, so if you have invested in anything of this nature it is certainly in your best interest to let your insurer know.
  6. Have you increased or decreased production, staff numbers, or have you begun exporting goods? These changes may seem minor when it comes to the day to day operations of your business but can make a big difference in the cover you require. If you are unsure, it is best to speak to your broker.

Other questions to consider:

Keeping your businesses details up to date reduces the uncertainty or declinatures at claims time, but there are other questions to consider when reviewing your cover, some examples are:

  1. Are the exclusions/limits in your policy suitable for your business today?
  2. Could it be beneficial to increase your excess to reduce your premiums?
  3. Is your payment schedule still convenient? 

Business owners should not underestimate the value a relationship with their insurance broker can bring to their business. A great broker will consider all of these points and more, taking the time to understand your business and utilise their industry expertise to ensure your cover is regularly reviewed and remains the best option for your business. Risk advice doesn’t begin and end at the purchase of your policies.

 Brokers can provide assistance on :

  • Purchase decisions – helping you understand the risk management impacts of new equipment
  • Locations decisions – checking to understand the risks and issues of choosing new sites for the business and how that affects your risk
  • Contracting decisions - with increasing demand for risk sharing to contractors, the need to involve risk management experts in the decision to contract to or contract out is common – and many businesses overlook this vital step.

Most importantly, you will have someone to expertly advocate for you in the event of a claim, obtaining the best possible result. This allows for peace of mind, so you can focus on what you do best, running your business.

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General Advice Warning

The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.

Insurance Advisernet New Zealand , March 06 2019

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