Not unreasonably, it's common for customers and non-customers alike to ask is professional insurance worth it?
After all, you're not paying for a tangible object you can see or feel. And, let's face it, it's likely you'll probably never use it.
Worse, most insurers don't even send paper policy documents any more either – it's usually just an attachment on an email.
Unsurprisingly then, insurance can seem like a bit of an abstract concept. Is it really there? Does it actually work? Will it help me if I claim?
If you've ever wondered if you're just shelling out for thin air, prepare to be reassured.
So far in 2014 ...
This year, we've been contacted 127 times by customers with a business insurance claim. If you thought professional insurance claims were a 'once in a blue moon' occurrence, think again. It could happen! (Although, whisper it, it probably won't.)
There's also a bit of a myth going round the world of insurance that insurers try to avoid paying claims. Not so.
Of the 127 customers who notified us of a potential claim, 57 had their claim paid.
So far this year, the insurers we work with have paid out £289,405 in claim settlements. The largest single payout was £90,000 – for an engineer's professional indemnity claim.
Of the others, 59 were 'notified only'. This means our customer thought they had a claim, but the situation never actually developed into one. In simple terms, there wasn't a claim to pay.
This often happens with professional indemnity insurance. For example, a client might allege something's gone wrong when it hasn't. Or there might be a small, fixable problem you can sort yourself.
Either way, if it happens to you, you'd be wise to take a leaf out of those 59 customers' books and get in touch with us. If things get worse, at least then we're prepared.
And, more importantly, your insurer won't chuck out your claim for late notification.
We're not shy
Buying insurance is a bit like entering into a contract. If you pay your premium and keep your obligations, and the claim is valid of course, your insurer has to honour their side of the contract and pay up.
Of all the claims we've had this year, only 11 have actually been rejected by our insurers. Most of these were because the potential claim wasn't actually covered by the insurance. For example, we had a claim for something that happened in Barbados when the customer's policy was restricted to EU cover only.
But, a few were turned down because the policyholder hadn't stuck to the terms and conditions of their policy. Be in no doubt: if you mislead your insurer about your business activities or your property, they have no obligation to cover you.
Photographers, take note
Of the 127 claim notifications we had, a whopping 56 were from photographers and videographers.
Although a handful of these claims were professional indemnity, pretty much all were for portable equipment.
It's pretty clear that handheld bits and pieces (cameras, lenses, lights) are far too easy to drop, leave on a bus, or have stolen.
And when you rely on these things to do your job, you'd be surprised how debilitating it is not to have them. 'Time is money' is a hackneyed old cliche but there's a real element of truth about it. If you can't actually work, how do you earn a living?
Without wanting to sound too preachy here, our experience tells us that a couple of hundred quid a year spent on insurance can make all difference. Most of these guys were up and running again without much fuss, and far quicker than if they'd had to sort the problem themselves.
Money well spent
If nothing else, we hope this has given you a little glimpse into why business insurance is an important investment.
Not only do claims happen regularly, but a very large chunk of them are paid by the insurer. Customers are getting what they pay for. Which is as it should be, really.
Money can't buy you love (apparently), but it can get you peace of mind, and business security.claims