Do you need coverage for temporary staff and should you get a broker?

James Morris owner of Marquee Hire a specialist marquee hire Surrey was interviewed for the Guardian, read what James has to say.

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1. Do you understand “the extras”?

Certain kinds of insurance are mandatory. These include employers’ liability insurance, covering claims brought by staff who suffer illness or injury as a result of their work, and professional indemnity insurance, covering losses incurred by clients as a result of mistakes or bad advice (although currently this only applies to solicitors seeking admission to their professional body).

When purchasing coverage for the first time, most small businesses tend to get these basics right, says Mark Sharman, a claims manager at Simply Business (which specialises in insurance coverage for SMEs). He says the problem is that they forget “the extras” – those non-mandatory policies that could make a big difference if something goes wrong.

“We conducted some research among our customers in 2013 and found that around 75% say insurance documents are hard to read and insurance websites hard to navigate,” says Sharman. “That means a lot of people probably don’t know much beyond the basics.”

One example of this, says Sharman, is “business interruption insurance” – also known as business continuity insurance. This covers a business’ losses if it unexpectedly has to stop trading for a long period of time, such as if equipment is stolen or premises are damaged.

Kevin Pratt, an insurance expert for the financial products comparison website MoneySuperMarket, agrees that there are less familiar types of insurance to consider. He cites “key person insurance” and “income protection insurance” as two examples. “The former would pay out if an important member of your team was off ill or seriously injured for a lengthy period of time, and your business lost money or had to recruit a replacement. Income protection insurance will cover a sole trader if they become sick or injured and cannot work. These are both important for small businesses because people (yourself included) are such a valuable asset.”

2. Do you need coverage for temporary staff?

Employers are legally responsible for the safety of their staff, and the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires they have coverage of at least £5m. But do you fully understand who might be classed as an employee? It’s not just full-time staff but freelancers, contractors, apprentices, volunteers or interns may require coverage too, says Sharman.

“Say you’re a builder and you bring in contractors for extra support on a job,” he explains. “Does your employers’ liability insurance need to extend to them? The answer to this question doesn’t depend on the amount of time they work for you, it’s about the nature of the relationship. What amount of control do you have over what they do? What are the terms and conditions of their contract? It may be that you need to cover them even for a few days’ work. HSE [Health and Safety Executive, an independent watchdog] has good guidelines about who needs to be classed as an employee.”

3. What coverage is your landlord providing, and do you need more?

If your business is based in a premises (such as an office or shop), then you should have insurance to cover your equipment and/or stock, as well as public liability insurance – which covers any injury to a member of the public.

With so many small businesses based in a co-working space or serviced office buildings, it is critical to understand what type of coverage is and is not provided by your landlord, otherwise you risk either not having enough coverage or – on the flip side – paying for coverage twice.

Pratt spent 20 years running his own company before joining MoneySuperMarket, and describes his experience: “When I rented, the landlord had insurance for common areas in the building and the stairwell, but anything I took into my office – such as computers – I had to insure myself.

“If you are renting, talk to the landlord and understand to what extent they cover,” he advises. “If the coverage stops at your front door, then you need to get your own. Likewise make sure that you’re not paying for certain types of insurance twice, because you might be covered for things like public liability under your landlord’s policy.”

4. Should you ditch the DIY approach and get a broker?

Entrepreneur James Morris is the founder and managing director of Trafalgar and JF Marquees, which delivers high profile marquee events in London and the south of England.

It all began in 2007 when Morris wanted to see if he could turn his student overdraft into a business. He drew up a budget on the back of a beer mat and bought his first marquee. From the outset, Morris understood that insurance would form the bulk of his budget and that getting the right coverage was going to be critical. He says trying to become an insurance expert yourself is a waste of time; instead, invest in finding the right broker.

“When you are growing you’ve got to work out what your time is worth, and where it’s best spent,” he says. “Why would I spend hours researching policies myself? It’s not worth trying to save a quid here and there because ultimately when something goes wrong I want to know I’ve got an expert who has handled it.”

However Sharman says: “Nowadays online brokers can generate dozens of quotes from dozens of insurers in minutes, so there’s no reason you can’t take a DIY approach. Our platform at Simply Business is built exclusively for small businesses and we specialise here, so chances we’ll be able to cover you even if your needs are niche”.

5. Are you factoring in growth?

Morris has been working with the same broker since he started out, and says it’s important to find an individual or a company that isn’t too niche. He advises looking for specialism but also broad knowledge and expertise, because (all going to plan) your business is likely to grow.

“If you are small you’ve got to be a giant-killer; you want to punch above your weight,” he says. “We therefore needed a broker who understood the whole events industry, not just marquees. I wanted to work with someone whose brain I could scan for tips and tricks.”

Sharman of Simply Business agrees that you should be “thinking about the future” when creating an insurance plan. “Consider how much work you are likely to be taking on in six months or a year’s time – this could impact on the amount of employer’s liability or public liability insurance you need. If you plan ahead then you save the hassle of having to play catch-up with your policy.”

Marquees are fabulous for all occasions especially winter marquees and wedding marquees as you can choose from Marquee Hire large selection. Winter marquee hire is a great option in cold weather as you can have heating to warm up the occasion.

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Your wedding is one of the best occasions of your life and one which you would need to trust the event co coordinators to ensure your dreams become a reality. Who better to trust than a company who has over 20 years’ experience in Marquee Hire Weddings and Corporate Marquee Hire and event planning.

Marquee Hire will ensure that your wedding day is a day to be remembered without any worries.  Whether you would like a winter wonderland wedding, traditional wedding or perhaps a picnic relaxed wedding, Marquee Hire will ensure you get what your heart desires whilst remaining within the budget given. The possibilities are endless. The Marquee can be as grand or simple as one would like.

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Why not book a site visit meeting with one of our dedicated team to discuss your requirements. Everything from a toddlers first birthday to a 100th birthday (yes, we have actually done one!). we can provide anything you want to make your party a really special occasion : entertainers, fireworks, magicians, fun fair rides.  Please contact us for further details.

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Marquee events are not just for summer!

Having a marquee event in winter is possible with our powerful heaters and hard flooring. Its extremely warm and comfortable inside. You can really enjoy a marquee party whatever the season.

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MARQUEE HIRE – Your wedding is one of the best days of your life. At Marquee Hire we pride ourselves at ensuring that it will be. We know how important the day is to you.

Read what our customers say about our Wedding Marquee Hire

A very belated thank you for all that you did to contribute to our wonderful wedding! We absolutely loved every second!
The marquee was quite amazing and we couldn’t believe how lovely it all looked. Thank you very much for all your efforts.


Dear Guy,

Please accept my sincere apologies for not writing to you before today to sincerely thank you and your team for all that you did on the occasion of our party on the 1st May.

The feedback we have had from just about everybody who came has been fantastic. Everybody thought the day went very well with an impressive marquee and great food. Our guests thought the girls did a great job but most of the comment was about the food which went down a storm !

Thank you for all that you did. It was a pleasure dealing with you and rest assured if we do it again we will be back in touch with you straight away.

With my thanks and best regards.


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