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Restarting your business? Don't forget your insurances.

By Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers

The current stress on the entire travel industry has been so overwhelming. Many agencies have had to make very difficult decisions, re-look at their business models, and do whatever it took to plan to survive the insidious enemy that is COVID 19. Trying to plan without that magical crystal ball that we all so desperately need is very challenging.

As each day goes by in this crisis we are getting use to living with COVID as the new "normal" and although borders are starting to open, and there is talk about safe travel corridors there is still no clear time line.

Many of you now will be through a lot of the processing of credits, shifting dates but probably still waiting for refunds. THIS YEAR HAS BEEN A LOT. However, we will open up again, and you will need that opening plan, whether it be gradual or a longer wait and a full return.

What does your re-opening plan look like? Did it include checking that your insurances are returned to where they need to be? If this item is not on your list – put it on now, right now!

What Insurances will I need?


You should still have the major insurances in place:

  • Workers Compensation Insurance (if you have staff). This policy is compulsory by law.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance – this is a Claims Made Policy so it covers you for work you have done in the past
  • Public Liability Insurance – anyone running ANY business should have this as a basic fundamental, even if you have moved home or have an online travel agency

Many people who have now moved to a home office at least temporarily have questioned the need for Public Liability Insurance.

They have managed to save on the cost of leasing, which in many cases was a huge saving but I have observed and also been advised of situations where liability insurance for business conducted from the home residence has been lapsed or not effected, working on the understanding that the domestic insurance will provide indemnity for the unexpected accident / incident.

This perception is incorrect and to demonstrate I have detailed below extracts from some of the most popular home insurance company’s policies to clarify the situation.

Furthermore, we are often advised that home based consultants never have anyone come to the house, business is conducted over the phone and via email etc. etc. As part of the vibrant travel industry, you will again be able to attend Supplier and Industry functions – this will involve leaving the house. Often you may meet customers at their home or in a Café to discuss their upcoming travel plans. You may wish to organise a dinner or film night to promote your business. The home policy definitely will NOT help you here.

Home Liability Exclusions - Examples.

  • Policy 1- We will not cover any business, trade or profession other than the renting of your home for domestic use.
  • Policy 2 -Legal liability does not cover any trade, business, occupation or employment carried on by you or your family for reward other than baby sitting.
  • Policy 3 -We will not pay for liability arising out of the use of any part of your home or the site for business, trade, professional services, farming of any type.

It is obvious that the exclusions between the three insurance companies differ to some extent but the common denominator in all is BUSINESS.

As many would be well aware liability claims arise from injury to thirds parties (including customers) or damage to third parties’ property arising from the operation of your business. The injuries come from slips and falls, bumping someone accidentally, accidentally damaging the property of others etc. and these can arise from either the business office contained within the residence or away from the office in fulfilling the duties of your business. Should you be unfortunate enough to cause one of these incidents and you do not possess adequate liability insurance YOU will need to mount your own defense, often a costly exercise. Should you lose, any damages awarded to third parties will need to be funded from your own resources which may involve the selling of the family home if other resources are not available to you. This would not only mean the loss of a place to run your business from, but the loss of somewhere to live – a potential calamity.

This is a worrying exposure but the good news is that liability insurance on a home office is not expensive.

  • Business Insurance Policies – returning to an office or shop environment, you will need to cover your Property (everything from computers to printers to fit-out) and potentially glass / sign cover for the premises, depending on the lease requirements
  • Cyber & Privacy Protection Insurance – if you don’t already have at least a basic policy, it is important to investigate as during this Pandemic, Cyber Criminals have been working very hard to set up massive operations.
  • Management Liability Insurance – the responsibilities on directors in running a business, especially in relation to staff, are onerous and the risks are very real. As soon as you can, have this down as an insurance policy you need to discuss with your broker.

The above are by no means an extensive list of what is available, but it is a starting point. As part of your re-opening plan, make sure talking with your Insurance Broker is very high on your list of things to do. We are here to help.

If you would like further information, please feel free to contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Commercial Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

General Advice Warning – the information in the above article is intended as a guide only and should not be relied upon without consulting your relevant insurance policy wording and conditions or conversely seeking professional advice from either your insurance broker or insurer regarding a claim or potential loss. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in a denial of a claim or potential loss or a reduction in settlement of a claim or potential loss.