Office Risks Generate Frequent Claims for Smaller Businesses – But They Don’t Have To

Thu Mar 14 2024

Richard Harrison, Travelers

Richard Harrison, Head of Risk Control at Travelers, explains how brokers can help SME clients anticipate and manage office risks for their businesses.

Businesses in Ireland face a confluence of challenges in 2024: ongoing economic uncertainty, geopolitical instability and evolving cyber threats are just a few of the risks businesses must consider. In these conditions, it can be easy for a small- to medium-size enterprise (SME) to overlook – or simply lack the resources to manage – the everyday risks of running an office. However, if protecting against these risks falls down the priority list, meaningful disruptions and damage can result.

For instance, many SMEs own equipment such as laptops, high-definition printers, and high-value professional equipment – and the theft of any of these items could generate significant expense and interruption to a company’s day-to-day work and priorities. Almost any business can become an appealing target for thieves, whether it operates in a remote office park or simply has a steady stream of people passing through who can steal equipment left unattended. These problems can also come from within, particularly amid the strains of a cost of living crisis: one study found that cases of individuals stealing from their employer jumped 74% between 2022 and 2023.[1] And unfortunately, once a business is targeted, it is often targeted again.

Beyond theft of property, there are risks to an SME’s premises to consider. Water damage from a severed or leaking pipe, or from the response to a fire onsite, could disrupt and displace a business for months. If the business requires a professional location to conduct work and meet clients – and would need alternative space arranged as soon as possible in the event of displacement – that needs to be part of the discussion when considering risk management and insurance protection.

Tailored Planning Can Prevent a Pile-Up of Problems

All of these risks generate frequent small claims that can add up for an SME, but insurers and brokers can help clients assess their vulnerabilities to ensure they have adequate cover. Businesses face different risks, so cover can’t be one-size-fits-all. For example, a law firm might need business interruption cover based on billable hours, and they may also need cover for critical documents or valuables held in trust which other types of SME businesses may not need. The SME’s operating model needs to be considered too: if employees operate valuable business equipment in the office, at home and out in the field, those items must be insured accordingly.

For many SMEs, the office environment has been evolving, with more people and equipment moving in and out of the office on a regular basis. Insurance cover needs to shift along with such changes. Brokers and insurers can partner to make sure SME clients have appropriate office cover and aren’t surprised by disruptive problems that could have been prevented. When SMEs have the protection their office needs, they can focus on the larger challenges that need their attention day to day.

Find out more about Travelers SME Office insurance solution: https://www.travelers.ie/products/etrade-office

 

[1] https://www.thehrdirector.com/business-news/the-workplace/cases-employee-theft-rises-nearly-three-quarters/

 

 


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