What to do if you can’t find insurance coverage for your small business
The last year and half has not been easy for small business owners.
Lockdowns and government mandates, concerns around employees and staffing, pivoting operations to the new realities of the pandemic, maintaining cash flow and financial viability… the woes go on and on.
It has been a stressful time for so many and we’ve all seen how businesses in our neighbourhoods and across the globe have been crippled, and unfortunately even taken down, by the repercussions of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, on top of all of this, business insurance has also become a problem for many operations. As we talked about here, insurance premiums have risen and in some cases, commercial coverage has even been difficult to procure.
We did a post about a year ago on business insurance and the pandemic, specifically looking at rising costs, so we thought it would be a good time to do a little update on where things stand now.
So let’s take a look at what you can do if you’ve having trouble getting your small business insured.
To start off with, let’s give an update on costs. In short, they continue to go up. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), 70% of small businesses are reporting that their premiums have gone up since the start of 2021 (source: Canadian Underwriter). Hospitality and transportation were the hardest hit.
And the reality is, for some small businesses, even though there is insurance coverage available, rates have risen so steeply, they are not in a position to afford it.
No coverage available
Rising rates are one thing. No coverage available at all is another. And unfortunately some small businesses are finding themselves in this boat.
In some cases what is happening is that certain insurance companies are pulling out of certain industries. Your insurer may no longer be operating in your sector. Or the insurance company may have pulled out of Canada.
The whole business insurance industry has been facing turmoil and upheaval. So more leg work and research is needed to find viable options.
What you can do to get access to the business insurance you need
So whether you can’t afford it, or it’s simply not available, what can you do if business insurance coverage is out of reach?
We had mentioned in that previous post that the IBC was stepping up to support businesses and that has continued and even expanded.
As we mentioned, one of the first things IBC did was to set up a Business Insurance Action Team to help businesses in the hospitality sector. That is still going strong. If you run a hospitality business in Ontario and you’re struggling with insurance, visit their website to learn more and get support: https://businessinsurancehelp.ca/business-insurance-action-team/
A new initiative from the IBC is the business insurance helpline. Reach them by phone 1-844-2ask-IBC or by email at email@example.com. Often times there are coverage options, they just may be harder to find in the current climate.
The IBC has also brought a team of risk managers on board to help businesses and brokers navigate the process of finding coverage.
The Ontario government did also pass Bill 218 last year offering businesses CIVD-19 liability protection. Click here to learn more.
As a business owner, it’s important that you fully understand your coverage – talk to your broker or provider if anything is unclear. And also keep the lines of communication open and provide updates to your insurer. Any changes to your operations, such as number of employees, services offered, or revenues for example, should be shared as they can have repercussions on the type of coverage you need.
We are also here to help your business navigate these challenging times. Reach out to us to connect with one of our business insurance professionals – submit your online inquire here or give us a call at 416-346-2814.
Small businesses continue to be hard-hit by rising premiums this year, CFIB reports – Canadian Underwriter
Business Insurance Action Team – from the Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance is becoming a major cost constraint for small businesses – The Globe and Mail
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Image source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Stuart Miles