The following blog post is a guest post by Laurie Joyce.

As we all know, running a business is complicated. There are so many aspects of your business to consider: getting the clients, doing the job, keeping track of costs… the list just goes on. One more thing you certainly don’t want to add to your long list is a Public Liability claim.

This itself brings its own long list, so it’s important to run your business efficiently, well, and above all consider the risks that may be involved so you can plan to reduce this from the get-go. 

Taking adequate safety measures

Sounds simple but it’s not unusual to get caught up in the daily processes of your business and skip some of the other aspects – especially when these aspects don’t necessarily earn your business money. In fact, they may cost your business money to implement.

Be sure to look at all angles and put in place safety measures to adequately protect your business from an incident or accident that may cause property damage or bodily injury to others. For example, if you are working on a construction site, there are many safety aspects to consider – workers, pedestrians, equipment and so on.

In order to reduce an accident, you may need temporary fencing to section off a specific area from public access.  This simple yet very effective measure can reduce your risk significantly saving you money in the long run.

Having appropriate insurance coverage

Not all insurance coverage is created equal.

You may know someone who runs a similar business, or a completely different business, and think their insurance coverage would be the right fit for you. Some things you need to consider include reviewing your business description and what your occupation entails. What you do and how you operate your business plays a significant role in the Public Liability risks this can create.

There are also exclusions which differ from one policy to the next. Although you may save $200 by going with a cheaper option, don’t forget to do a comparison of what’s included and excluded to ensure you are paying for the right covers.

There is nothing worse than having an incident and making a claim just to find out you’re actually not insured for that particular event. You have in fact cost your business money by paying for a cheaper policy that is not actually covering you and then being up for the claim costs made against you. Yikes!

Seeking the right professional advice

If you don’t have a great deal of business experience and are unsure of how to reduce risk, speak to a professional and get the right advice.

An insurance broker for example has access to policies and information that you may not be aware of. As they deal with businesses and claims on a daily basis, they also have a good insight as to what policies would be a best fit for you and some things you can do to reduce risk one that certainly does not fit all when it comes to business.

Having assistance to point you in the right direction and tailor your coverage to your needs is a must do. If at any stage you don’t understand the information being provided, don’t just sit there – be sure to ask as many questions as needed so you have a complete understanding of all facets of your business. Professional advice can come with a price tag, so make the most of that time and take advantage of the information being given to you.

Learning from the mistakes of others

You aren’t the first person to be in business and you certainly won’t be the last. A good way to review possible risks is to learn from other businesses and what they may not have done correctly which resulted in a Public Liability claim.

Perhaps you run an agricultural business on a large property and are unsure of what aspects of your business could result in a Public Liability claim. A great way to learn about this is by speaking with other members of the same industry at town meetings or gatherings and having a chat about risk management procedures others have implemented or wish they had implemented before having a claim.

Be smart, not complacent

Don’t sit there and think “it won’t happen to me.” Complacency is not going to be your friend once an incident or accident has occurred. By that stage it’s too late to think of what you could have done to stop it from happening. It can happen, to anyone – even those who have taken considerable measures to reduce risk.

You may have reviewed your safety procedures 12 months ago and checked off the items on your list. But each time there is a change in your business like new staff members or a new procedure this is a timely reminder to review that list again. 

Being a business owner can be hard work, but the benefits of being your own boss certainly make it worthwhile. If you equip yourself with the right knowledge and advice and ask questions when you are unsure, this can certainly pay off in the long run. Always keep an open mind and review your business on a regular basis. A profitable and well running company not only benefits you as the owner but it also benefits your employees, shareholders and associated businesses.

Laurie Joyce of Fortress Fencing has extensive business experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. 

ClearRisk's Claims, Incident, and Risk Management System allows you to identify the appropriate safety measures and implement smart mitigation choices. Want more information? Learn more below. 

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