I was lucky enough to attend a recent Estrella Damm UK Top 50 Gastropub dinner at the wonderful Marksman pub in Hackney, east London. It was a cracking meal and a lovely evening (please go – its reputation and its accolades are well deserved).
Over dinner, I was surprised to find out how many in our industry do not consider insurance to be a priority – it’s an issue that, for some, appears to be well down in the pecking order of what’s important to running a successful business.
I do understand why, for at least some, particularly independent operators, insurance is not at the top of their agenda. It’s ‘boring’. It’s expensive. It’s not easy to understand all the complexities. Too often it can also be a case of ‘disasters are few and far between and happen to others, not to me’ and ‘most probably I will never need to call on my insurance policy to pay out’.
I suggest looking at insurance with a very differing perspective however and ask yourself the uncomfortable but necessary question: ‘How do you know it won’t be you that faces a fire that closes your business’?
Because that is exactly what happened to me at the Unruly Pig.
Too many make the mistake of ‘going cheap’ and underestimating the amount of cover they need to reduce the insurance premium.
As someone who has had cause to be thankful to insurers, I would earnestly encourage all of us in hospitality not to consider insurance as a regrettable expense but rather as peace-of-mind business protection. Be realistic and be generous when it comes to deciding the level of cover you need.
It’s again a case of getting what you pay for. When I opened the Unruly Pig, it was effectively a new business. It was a new name, new look, new food and new position in the market. I had no previous experience in hospitality, so I had to 'guesstimate' what my turnover would be (and thus business interruption cover I needed).
I looked at my business plan and best income projection and then doubled it. Thank goodness I did because disaster did strike. Only 12 weeks after the Unruly Pig had first opened, we suffered a catastrophic fire in which we lost 40% of the building.
My message therefore is an obvious one: being properly insured is critical to running a successful business (and for your own peace of mind). Don’t skimp or you may end up paying a heavy price. Paying less is not more. Get generous cover. Get peace of mind.