It’s time for business to protect people
26 Mar 2021
With the Covid exhaust fumes likely to blow long after commencement of an exit strategy, the UK will look to entrepreneurs and SMEs to lead our economic rehab. This happened after catastrophes past, and it will again this time.
It’s time to recognise that this - right here, right now - is a uniquely precious opportunity for our industry to dial up efforts to protect the humans in business.
Insurance is damn good at covering the places and things - not so much the people. As a priority, we deal with buildings, contents and liabilities over here... and only if there’s sufficient knowledge on the part of the agent – and time to educate the customer – do we think about protecting the humans over there.
But now more than ever, protecting the individuals at the business-end of the economy - and our national recovery - is just about the only way to inject a modicum of security into people’s futures.
Let’s dwell a moment in an example scenario:
Imagine a company of 14 people. Its owner / founder has a sterling local reputation; she’s the face and key asset in landing new clients. Let’s imagine the company has a four-month runway of liquid funds, contracts and new business.
Let’s now take a hard left turn and imagine the owner dies suddenly.
Say there’s life insurance et al to cover her family and mortgage. That’s amazing in itself. But what of the business? What of 14 loyal employees; their families and commitments?
The logical next chapter of this bleak story would see the business distributed to the deceased owner’s family. But who’s to say they’re in the right frame-of-mind – or have sufficient business savvy – to take the reins?
Employees left in no-man’s-land. Leadership vacuum, grieving, minus a key company asset and bereft of a Plan B. Sure, some new talent could step up and lead the revival, or employees could use their four-short-months of certainty to scrape together sufficient funds for a buyout. Think positive and there’s a turnaround, think negative and the business tapers off to nothing.
Now pause. This is a world where business protection exists. All that turmoil and existential torture for employees and their families is wholly unnecessary. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Business protection lives for scenarios like this. It’s there if key people drop out of the game. It’s there to protect profits. It’s there to mitigate catastrophe via bounceback loans or to fund a logical transition of power. It’s there to buy time. It’s there to ensure stakeholders have breathing space to re-arrange business in a viable way. It’s there to secure new talent and pay overtime. It’s there to protect employee lifestyles, obligations and futures.
Better still, it’s not just about damage control. Business protection is also an asset and a lure for new talent; especially a wary workforce that's desperate for some stability, continuity and peace-of-mind in a climate like this.
Recovery, thy name is SME. BIBA have sent the mandate and experts like LifeSearch are here to independently advise industry and customers on the most logical and viable paths to protection. The infrastructure is built but the signposts are not.
As they’ve always been, entrepreneurs, ‘key people’ and business owners are the country's engine room. Enterprise will be a big part of pulling the country forward. Yet the more successful new businesses are, the more employees they need and the more they – and all those in their orbit – are exposed to the risk of a sudden act of chaos. No-one, not even business owners, gets a free pass on matters health, life and death.
Focus now, and we can weave business protection as a staple of best practice fit for the Covid recovery era. Let's convalesce the right way - it’s people, places and things.
What can I do?
Appraise your client’s financial resilience and how their business would fare following a death or illness. Think specifically about the impact a sudden curveball or catastrophe would have on your client’s income as well as on their employees and the company’s future.
Then signpost them to a business protection adviser.
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