Is a specialist worth it?

We all want to manage our costs, but it’s taking a chance to not use a specialist insurer for your nursery business, says Jackie Hyde.

It can be challenging to choose an insurance policy that suits your business needs. From our experience, the insurance industry has changed considerably over the years, with new risks to assess,  more competitive pricing and insurers wanting to add conditions to policies to reduce their exposure.

There are lots of excellent insurance advisors, so why choose a specialist insurer for early years rather than a general insurance broker? Granted it is not uncommon for a nursery to be insured on a general insurance policy that could be used for any business. But there are risks to these types of policies: loss of revenue as the result of the closure of the school feeding the out-of-school club,  wages costs resulting from the suspension of a member of staff following an abuse allegation and so on – these are generally not included. This is because the wider needs of a nursery are not fully understood.

The wording

In addition, a general insurance policy may include impracticable conditions you have to meet, for instance, that the nursery should comply with their Ofsted ratio requirements at all times. In  contrast, there are a number of specialist insurance products that have been specifically designed for nurseries and can be adapted to suit the changing early years world.

Informed advice

Specialist nursery insurance providers have a wealth of knowledge, which equips them to advise clients on what is a realistic sum to be insured and the right cover. It’s essential that you have adequate cover for your contents, and they will understand that, if you nursery has community play equipment or a commercial kitchen, the contents cover will be higher than the norm.

Choosing the right indemnity period for business interruption is challenging, but a specialist will know that it can take a long time to recover customers should your nursery be closed for a long  period – and they will guide you towards much longer periods of cover.

Support services

Specialist insurers often have a team of suppliers they can call on to provide wider business support, including solicitors with expert knowledge on safeguarding, HR regulations and health and safety. So, should the unexpected happen, you will have access to a specialist who knows what is required to resolve the issue.

Equally, if there’s water damage, a specialist insurer will understand that a nursery may need to dispose of some contents to prevent infection and that repairs may need to be conducted out of hours to reduce disruption to the nursery – and speedily so the nursery is up and running promptly to minimise the risk of losing customers.

Sharing knowledge

We have many years of experience of looking after the nursery industry and clients who have managed the unexpected with our support. Our clients share their difficulties and look for help from us. The knowledge we gain we then share with the wider nursery community, which, hopefully, prevents other businesses from falling foul of a similar situation – there is so much we can all learn  from each other.

So, there are major benefits to working with specialist insurance advisors, but it is still essential that every business owner understands their insurance. So, do read your policy schedules and documents and tell your advisor if – and how – your business is changing so the insurance can be adapted to your business needs. Clients don’t always appreciate their obligation to understand their cover and that insurance will never be right if you don’t work with your advisors.