Coronavirus has shaken up our work lives like never before. In the current crisis, adapting your work practices so you can continue to support your clients is likely to be at the forefront of your mind. In this short blog, our partners and EleVAte Sponsors PolicyBee share their insights into how COVID-19 is affecting the essential business insurance we have in place…

While you’re busy battling the stream of new challenges posed by the pandemic, it’s reassuring to know your VA business insurance is looking after you. To help it continue to do so, it’s worth reviewing your policies with a few post-COVID realities in mind.

Is now a good time to cancel your insurance?

Whether you’re working more, less, or not at all at the moment, it’s important to keep you PI (professional indemnity) insurance going, if you can afford to do so.

Tempting though it might be to trim down on your business costs, cancelling your policy leaves you vulnerable to claims relating to past work. PI is what’s known as ‘claims made’ insurance, meaning if you’re not insured both at the time the alleged mistake was made andwhen the claim is raised, you could find yourself without cover.

If you’re struggling to make payments, a quick chat with your insurer or broker might reveal ways to lower your premiums without cutting corners on your cover. Let’s face it, we all work better knowing we have a safety net. Worrying about forking out of your own pocket to fight a claim is probably the last thing you need in the current climate.

Is your equipment covered while you work from home?

Working from home is challenging at the best of times. But even if you’re used to your living space doubling up as your home office, having more members of your household about than usual automatically increases the likelihood of damage to your work equipment.

Relying on your home contents insurance to cover your stuff isn’t always the best way forward, as many policies exclude equipment used for business. There’s also usually a value limit for individual items, which could leave your IT kit without cover, while portables like laptops are often excluded. So you should comb through your policy wording carefully and maybe think about getting some business contents insurance.

If you already have business contents insurance, it’s worth double-checking your level of cover accommodates any expensive new purchases. Especially if you’ve splashed out on a fancy new laptop or a cutting-edge printer in the last year.

Coronavirus-related cybercrime is on the rise

Unfortunately, cybercriminals have been quick to cash in on the huge rise in remote working caused by coronavirus. E-mail phishing and fake websites (many peddling so-called ‘essential information’ on COVID-19) have surged – with the intention of crippling networks, stealing data and defrauding folks of their hard-earned cash.

If you haven’t already got cyber insurance, it’s protection well worth thinking about. If you get hit by a cyber-attack or data breach, it pays to fix the damage to your systems, retrieve your data and gets you back on your feet again quickly. If you’ve lost revenue, it’ll compensate you for that too, as well as dealing with claims relating to theft of personal data. It’s a win-win in times where every day of trading counts.

Make sure the people you work with are insured

While VAs have always been a collaborative bunch, the drive to rustle up more work means new partnerships are forged more quickly than usual. You might not have time to vet associates as thoroughly as you’d like, so it’s worth checking your PI insurance policy covers you for working with freelancers.

If it’s a new subcontractor you’re working with (i.e. someone doing something outside your area of expertise), it’s worth reminding them they need their own policy to cover them for their mistakes. That and some watertight Ts&Cs can’t hurt, too.

Keep your broker or insurer up to speed on changes to your business

For many, the lockdown has been a chance to pause and take stock of their business. Some VAs have chosen to train and pick up new skills, while others have seized the opportunity to innovate and make changes to the way they do things.

For your insurance to keep working the way it’s meant to, your broker or insurer needs to be fully informed of new events. If you’ve changed what you do, for example, or business has boomed and you’re seeing an increased turnover, they need to know about it, as it could affect your existing policy.

To talk about any aspect of your VA business insurance, you can call the PolicyBee team on 0345 222 5370. Or visit their website here.