Insurance coverage and finance products often fail to adequately assess the risk profile of Armed Forces lifestyles and other services, according to a financial business set up by veterans.
Many of the financial challenges facing the Armed Forces community are also faced by other niche groups such as small businesses or start-ups - especially those set up by military spouses and partners.
The Services Family Limited (TSFL) was set up to support members of the Armed Forces, other services and their families and is offering advice on how to secure insurance for many niche groups such as those with a military background but also small businesses and start-ups which face similar ‘non-standard’ financial histories.
TSFL was founded to challenge the disadvantages suffered by the Armed Forces, veterans and Blue Light services and their families when trying to access financial products – due to their career paths and ‘non-standard lifestyles that might affect credit histories.
The firm supports a wide range of niche groups that had experienced similar disadvantages to the founding veterans, such as business start-ups, self-employed trades people, junior doctors, nurses, students, returning overseas works, immigrants and of course members of the Armed Forces among others.
The firm found that people in these groups, who move around the country or the globe, tend to have odd financial histories but that high street financial institutions often failed to adequately assess the risk profile of such customers.
This meant that many customers were often over-charged or refused the best, or automated products.
What TSFL Does
For small businesses and those who set up on their own things are never easy.
Even after taking every precaution … the unexpected can sometimes happen.
While the highest professional standards and care are always your best defence, one mistake, or a claim that you have made a mistake, can be a major stress and take a huge effort to resolve.
Insurance is never a silver bullet but having the financial security of a policy really helps.
The Services Family Limited can offer advice on an expanding range of services and policies for people setting up a small business, starting a new job or setting up on their own.
The Services Family Limited – About The Business
Founded by Veterans, The Services Family Limited provides financial products to actively support service personnel, those in Armed Forces Transition and the Blue-Light services, and their families.
As the business founders have experienced the same challenges its customers face, it really understands them and says it is driven to “change the game” and work on solutions from the customer up, not from the product down.
The TSFL Mission
The business wants to build a stronger even more resilient services family community.
It aims to help people understand financial matters - from insurance, to security (both personal and online), through to loans.
The business has teamed up with BFBS to help provide guidance and tips on subjects that matter most to financial customers.
Free Courses And Support
To help start-up businesses, the self employed and those aiming to transition to civilian life, the business has also launched FREE, plain-speaking online courses and online business support website.
For those concerned about security online and looking to ‘clean-up’ their social media channels, TSFL has built a social media profiler that tells people who they look from their social media profile and how this might affect their financial profile.
The company also has a focus on spouses and partners who might run a business from home. In February, it launched small business insurance which factors in that many of such business face specific and complex challenges - such as being run from home, or other 'non-standard' premises, by phone or by email.
In early 2020, the firm is planning to launch a Services Family Home Policy, which is designed exclusively for service family accommodation and single-living accommodation (SFA and SLA) – and aims to be affordable and fit for the service lifestyle.
What Should You Be Doing About Protecting Your Business With Insurance?
If you do not get the right policies and the right level of protection, then you could be breaking the law and/or carrying big financial risks.
So, what do you need and why?
- Employers Liability and Third-Party vehicle insurance: These are MANDATORY. Remember unless they are close family members (read this) all employees and volunteers must be covered.
All other business insurance is optional and a matter of risk judgement. Bear in mind, however, that contractors or customers will usually require you to have insurance in place before they give you work. The optional types of insurance you should consider, are:
- Public Liability (PL) - This covers financial lossif you or your team make a mistake causing loss or damage to a customer or member of the public and you are then sued.
- Professional Indemnity (PI) - PI is for businesses that give professional advice and can only cause financial loss. Firms with PI will usually take out PL as well, in case of “slips and trips” in the office.
- Product Liability: if you are making or even just selling other people’s goods then you need to have this cover in case your customer suffers an injury from using those goods.
- Property & Equipment: if you are working out of your home, check that this is allowed under your home insurance (and DIO rules). An office or a workshop/ storeroom may need special insurance and think about the cost to replace your tools of trade and office equipment.
- Cyber Protection & Customer Data Protection: Attacks against your web site – the loss of service or private information could hit you hard. There is also the risk of fines by the authorities and claims brought by the people affected. You may need insurance for that: BUT, no insurance payment will restore trust in your business, so do not skimp on IT security and use up to date anti-virus software as a minimum. Some firms offer online training and can also help protect your ‘small business’ systems (Veteran’s firm Cyber Security Associates for example)
- Personal Accident & Income Protection: If you are the main earner in your home then you need to consider how your rent, mortgage, bills and living expenses will be affected if you are not able to work. Many insurers offer protections and often have monthly payment plans.
- Directors & Officers Liability: A company with a board might offer this cover to the directors to protect against shareholder claims for mismanagement. Directors may also want protection against the risk of fines and legal costs.
- “Keyman” Insurance: If there are investors who are relying on either you or a key specialist in your team then there are policies that compensate (or pay for a replacement) should that key person be unable to work because of an accident or illness.
Read The Small Print
Reading the policy documents in detail can be a pain but it is important to make sure you are covered for all your needs.
For example, you may come across the phrase “Condition Precedent” (CP) in your policy - its important.
Why? A CP is stopper on a claim under the policy.
Basically, if you breach a CP “the insurers are simply not liable to pay your claim, as you have failed to establish the insurers’ liability”.
You need to carefully read your policy and the schedule to understand what is excluded and how they might impact your business partnerships both with suppliers and customers.
A CP may require your business to claim against suppliers – like the right to recover damages if their product is found to be defective. Be aware, a CP doesn’t need to have the words “conditions precedent” in its text. If in doubt, ask your insurer or broker.
How Much Insurance Do You Need?
That will depend - £1 million for PL and PI is usually seen as the minimum, especially if you might injure somebody and need PL protection.
For PI, it may depend more the size of the contracts and business you do with clients. You need to sit and think about what your business might need and what you want as protection to protect your finances.
How Does A Small Business Get The Best Deals?
Simple ... compare.
However, the best deals are not always on comparison sites. Why? Well, you only get to see the options that have signed up to and pay the comparison site.
Research has shown that customers who do not shop around will, over just a few years, over-pay to the tune of hundreds of pounds.
Shopping around and getting a feel for the wider market options always makes sense.
The Services Family Ltd have already developed a reputation for providing good solutions.
"I’ve just changed my business insurance to Services Family Ltd. They took time to understand my business and my needs and explained the important bits that I need to pay attention to. Got a better deal as a result. Highly recommend!!" – Nimble Babies Ltd, a retailer on Amazon and in Boots.
Remember, the Money Advice Service is a good start for free and impartial financial advice.
Website: The Services Family