In this guest blog, our partners and EleVAte Sponsors PolicyBee share answers to some of the questions they were asked at our EleVAte 2020 Conference.

Last month, as roundtable hosts at EleVAte, we had our insurance expert Mark talk to a panel of VAs about all things VA insurance-related. Here’s a round-up of what was discussed.

Why does VA insurance vary in price?

Insurers base their prices on two things: risk and claims. In other words, how likely something is to go wrong and what that thing going wrong will cost to fix.  

For example, professional indemnity (PI) and public liability (PL) insurance are relatively inexpensive. Online at least, they’ve been around for about 15 years so insurers have a good understanding of the type and cost of claims the policies need to cover. The insurance has evolved and policies have broader, more consistent cover across the market.

Cyber insurance, on the other hand, is where you’ll probably see the biggest fluctuations in price. It’s a relatively new kid on the block so, when it comes to working out pricing and understanding the risk, insurers have less info to go on.

What levels of cover are needed for PI, PL and cyber?

Unlike some professions, there’s no industry-set minimum of cover for VAs. So what we often ask our customers is: what’s the most expensive mistake you’re likely to make?

That’s not always an easy question to answer so, really, it’s best to get as much cover as you can afford. This might seem like a cop out but, for example, PI doesn’t actually change much in price as you go up the limits. From £100k (the minimum level of cover for PI) to £1 million, you might be looking at only £10 or £20 extra a year.

PL insurance is a bit easier. It starts at £1 million cover, up to a limit of £10 million. Most VAs buy £1 million. Those who buy more, have usually been asked to by their client.

For cyber insurance, insurers are now restricting the amount of cover you can buy because of worries about cybercrime. Buying £100k-£250k of cover could be enough but – as always – it’s worth carefully checking the policy wording to see exactly what’s covered.

At what point does my cover need to change?

There are two likely scenarios: if you change what you do, or when you grow as a business.

Let’s say you take on the marketing for a famous brand. Or you win a string of new clients, resulting in an uptick in turnover. Either way, you could be taking on more risk than your existing cover allows.

At that point, it’s worth having a quick chat with your insurer or broker, so they can look into your policy and make sure you’re still covered.

If you’re offering standard PA services and not making any recommendations or advice, would you need much cover?

It depends. If you’re accessing clients’ systems and emails remotely, there might be a cyber risk. There’s also the ‘duty of care’ you owe to your client, and the onus to put things right if you don’t deliver.

For complete peace of mind, we recommend PI, PL and cyber for VAs. If you’re not sure you need all three, you can call up one of our friendly experts. They’ll run through the risks with you and help you decide what you do – or crucially, don’t – need.

How does cyber insurance help if you have an attack?

Cyber-attacks have the potential to be both worrying and damaging to your business, especially in sticky situations where you’re up against a deadline, or your client’s data gets stolen.

Cyber insurance works in two ways. It covers your direct losses (eg, the cost of repairing, replacing or restoring your systems, data or website), plus any third-party compensation you have to pay (eg, if your client sues you for unauthorised data collection).

In other words, it does whatever it takes to get you back up and running again, quickly. Specialist advice? Check. Tech support from a team of IT wizards? Check. It’ll even pay for a replacement laptop, while yours is out of action, so you don’t lose out on business.

Do I need PL if I don’t go to my client’s office?

Essentially, PL follows you as a business. So, if all your work is done remotely then chances are you won’t need it. But if you do visit other peoples’ offices, or have them over to yours, it’s worth looking into.

Some venues, like hotels, ask you to have PL while you’re on-site. So if you’re a PA to wedding planner, for example, and you often run errands with them, you might need to set up a policy before you visit.

How quickly can I set up a policy?

You can get a quote online in as quick as two minutes and buy within five. After that you’ll be covered immediately, with your documents emailed straight away too.

We hope we’ve managed to answer all of your burning VA insurance-related questions. If you have more, talk to an expert on 0345 222 5370 or email [email protected].

For a quote visit www.policybee.co.uk/APVA. APVA members get up to 10% off professional indemnity and public liability insurance, and up to 5% off cyber insurance.