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Getting the best value out of your insurance cover

15 September 2022

As featured in Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s Business Direction Magazine.

If the events of the last two years have taught businesses anything at all, it is to ‘Expect the unexpected’ at work. But don’t think that new ways of working reduce your insurance liability and risk, advises Simeon Chapman, of Hazelton Mountford chartered insurance brokers.

“It’s never good practice to cut corners”, says Simeon, Director at the Worcester-based firm. “In fact, in the current business climate, it’s more vital than ever to have proper cover.”

Simeon sees business interruption insurance as a critical aspect, highlighting recent fires in the region which put businesses out of operation for some time.

“Obviously if you can’t trade, your customers will look elsewhere for services and goods, and it can be difficult to tempt them back. Cost savings are top of everyone’s agenda, but while it’s easy to replace a computer or a small piece of machinery, it’s much more difficult to replace customers and profit!

“Comprehensive cover can actually be a lot cheaper than people think, and good business interruption covers fixed costs, such as wages and other overheads that still have to be paid until you’re back on your feet.

“It’s tempting to say, ‘Oh we’ll scrimp on that’, but at the risk your business won’t be fully protected and you lose out in the long run.”

Simeon has seen a definite shift in focus since the rise of working from home. “Cybercrime is much more commonplace, particularly because remote training is challenging. In an office, someone might lean over and say ‘I’ve got this dodgy email, what should I do?’ But people working from home are more likely to click on junk mail and that exposes a whole new area of risk. Data protection is a similar problem.”

Simeon adds, “Conventional office costs have gone down, but liability hasn’t. We see a lot of claims for cyber-espionage – either manipulated invoices or a brute force attack, the data equivalent of a break-in. Criminals aren’t stealing your house contents, though, they’re stealing your data or adding a virus to your system.

“In a normal week, we deal with eight to 10 claims – last week, there were 28 claims! There’s also a rise in traditional claims now that roads are busier.”

Hazelton Mountford was launched in a small office above a Droitwich wine bar by Gordon Hazelton and Jake Mountford in 2008, with Simeon joining three years later.

Today the company is the only independent chartered insurance brokers in Worcester, no small achievement as only around five per cent of UK insurance brokers have the professional qualifications for this status.

“We started with nothing, and today have just over £11m Gross Written Premium, so we’ve done reasonably well,” Simeon says (with some understatement).

Hazelton Mountford’s core services are business insurance, private clients insurance and a tenant referencing service and they place great value on their tailor-made customer service. Simeon explains, “We spend a lot of time with our clients assessing and evaluating risks on-site. We then recommend the best terms and cover from an insurance perspective.

“Most covers are not compulsory, so it’s about making sure the business understands the risks and gets the best protection for their needs. You either take the risk or you pay a premium for someone else to take the risk.”

More growth is on the cards at Hazelton Mountford: they have a second office in Evesham and are actively recruiting. “We ran an open day for school leavers to take on an apprentice but were so impressed with the general attitude and willingness to learn that we ended up with two!”

Simeon concludes, “It’s very important to find a quality broker who understands your business and offers the right options. If things do go wrong, you need to be confident they can’ hold your hand’ through the claims process.

“From a cost angle, a business should have a strategy for marketing renewals. For example, going out to market every year with lots of brokers isn’t very efficient. You could have, say, five brokers going to an underwriter on your behalf with five different presentations and quotes. It could end up being time-consuming and confusing.

“It’s far better to narrow down to two quality brokers for the best terms. Hazelton Mountford makes sure you get the right deal – we’re not always the cheapest, but we find the cover you need.”

As seen online and in print on page 28 of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s BD Magazine.

Getting the best value out of your insurance cover