I Run A Small Business – What Type Of Insurance Do I Need?

Komissa Burzlaff

BOTSWANA INSURANCE COMPANY Strategy Development & Marketing Manager

Let’s face it; weather patterns have been rather strange lately. In Botswana over the last 5 years we’ve experienced flooding, heat waves and even mild earthquakes. We’ve also seen an increase in construction, which has led to an increase in fires both in commercial and residential properties. No individual or business is immune to these natural disasters and everyone should be protected, the question is to what extent, and what are the right solutions especially if you’re cash strapped start-up, small business or aspiring entrepreneur?
Small businesses and in particular start ups are often extra cautious when it comes to spending. Operational costs are deliberately kept at a minimum with the intent for profit, after all that’s why an entrepreneur is in business.  Insurance which is often labelled as an intangible expense should be prioritised as one of the most important costs for a business, after all if anything happened to the business, the right policies should be in place to ensure that the business is protected and can continue operating.
So what is the most basic and important coverage required for a small business?  As your business grows so will your insurance needs, however every business should at least be protected for their assets, profit and people, that being your employees and your customers.
Protect your premises and office equipment with property insurance and office contents insurance, which covers anything from furniture, to IT equipment, telephones, machinery etc.
What if one of your customers got hurt or ill whilst on your premises? Customers are the driving force of any business, so make sure they are safe on your premises, by getting public liability insurance. Your employees on the other hand, are equally important as customers and add to the growth of your business. They too should be taken care of through Workmen’s compensation which will cover an employee while at work if they had to suffer from an illness, injury or even death.
If you are in the service business that offers advice, such as a consultant, financial adviser, architect then professional indemnity insurance is imperative for coverage in case of negligence, giving inadequate or poor advice.
Most businesses have a fleet of vehicles, imagine how productivity would be affected if one was stolen or got into an accident? Fleet cover is comprehensive and protects your vehicles if it’s been stolen or damaged by fire or any act of nature.  Speaking of vehicles, it is also important for small businesses to get goods in transit insurance as  it provides  financial protection against loss of or damage to goods or property owned by you or for which you are responsible for whilst being transported.
Finally, there can be a number of things that can interrupt your business flow over a period of time, and this can have a negative impact on your bottom line. Business interruption insurance protects your business by settling the operating costs in the event of a loss. It covers any financial losses incurred as a result of an interruption to the business caused by an insured peril such as fire, lightning, and explosion.
Now that you have an idea of the basic covers a small business should have, make sure that you work with the right company or individual who can assess your business, identify risks (these may vary as not all businesses are the same) and help you mitigate the potential risks by providing you with the right solution for your business.
One can either purchase insurance Direct, through an Agent or a Broker. Whatever your preference, it is advisable that you work with someone that has extensive experience in commercial insurance and who can guide you on the right policies for your business. Not getting the right covers can be disruptive for business continuation, affect your staff and lead to a loss of revenues. Insurance may seem to be an expense today, but it really is an investment into the future of your business, after all anything can happen!dd