Picking a policy, part 2
OT poses a monthly scenario from a practitioner. This month, we look at practice insurance policies
Mark, AOP member
“As a new practice owner I have spent a long time considering the right insurance policy to protect my business. Before selecting one, I wanted to make sure that I took all the necessary measures required to minimise any claims that I may have to make. What are the recommended steps to take?’”
Judy Harris, commercial development manager at Lloyd & Whyte
Firstly, it’s great to hear that Mark is taking such a proactive approach in reducing the risk to his practice. When it comes to reducing the chance of making a claim, there are a number of possibilities to consider.
One of the most common claims we receive from optometry practices is theft and malicious damage. After all, having designer glasses openly displayed in shop windows can be enticing for thieves.
While we know it’s not feasible for practitioners to move their stock out of the window at the end of each day, we would suggest keeping them in secure display cabinets. Investing in key operated window locks and five lever mortice deadlocks on the exit doors also helps keep the practice contents secure. Mark may even want to consider other security measures such as alarms and/or CCTV.
While these may not completely deter thieves, they will go some way in preventing them gaining access and reducing the overall amount of the claim.
If Mark owns his building, he needs to ensure that risk of injury to others is reduced. Therefore paths, car parks or trees, for example, should be well maintained.
It’s also advantageous to keep maintenance logs to record things like electrical and fire extinguisher checks, as well as dates the property was last re-wired, for example. The installation of water shut-off devices will reduce the severity of escape of water claims, and it’s good risk management to carry our regular risk assessments.
It’s also a good idea for Mark to keep an inventory of items stored in each room should he suffer a loss to your contents, which will allow him to quickly identify what’s been affected. This will not reduce the risk, but will help speed up the claim process and help Mark to establish the adequacy of his sums insured.
Carrying out small steps in the practice can significantly reduce the risk of claims arising. Ensuring the areas that members of the public and Mark’s staff can access are clean and tidy can reduce the chances of slip and trip hazards. Equally, displaying cautionary signs can help customers stay safe.
Ensure handrails are properly secured, tiled or paved areas are level and any carpet or laminate within the practice is fitted correctly. Keeping a record provides proof that Mark has carried out checks to ensure that his practice is in good working order, should a claim arise.
"Every claim is different, and therefore, the course of action will vary. However, most start off the same - notifying an insurance company as soon as possible"
Given the severity of recent British winters, it’s worth having flood precautions in place. Mark can confirm his practice’s level of flood risk through the Environment Agency.
If the practice is in a high flood area, he can invest in sandbags to use when there are weather warnings – these can do a lot to prevent the impact of flooding. Mark should also ensure that his contents are stored off the ground if he has a basement.
Making a claim
Every claim is different and, therefore, the course of action will vary. However, most start off the same – notifying an insurance company as soon as possible. For any incidents involving criminal activity, contact the police first and make a note of the crime reference number.Initially, Mark will need to provide his insurer with the following information:
- Policyholder name
- Full address of where the incident occurred
- Date and time of the incident
- How did the incident occur and what has been damaged or lost
- The police crime reference for malicious incidents or theft
- Estimated costs of damage.
How can Lloyd & Whyte help?
As the AOP’s appointed provider of insurance and financial services, we understand your situation and individual needs. This also means that when it comes to making a claim, we’ve handled similar situations before.
For more information, simply call 01823 250 700. Alternatively you can visit the Lloyd & Whyte website.
Lloyd & Whyte Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England No. 03686765. Registered Office: Affinity House, Bindon Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 6AA.
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