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AXA warns businesses to check their insurance is in order to cover any Christmas bulge

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With Small Business Saturday on 7 December and one of the busiest times of year approaching, many SMEs, and particularly those in retail businesses, will hold more stock. Meanwhile, many will also recruit additional staff to help manage the rush. But AXA warns businesses to check their insurance is in order to cover any Christmas bulge.

Research from AXA Business Insurance shows that over half of SMEs in the retail sector will hold additional stock during their busy periods and Christmas is clearly one of these. Additionally, 15 per cent of businesses will recruit extra staff to help cover the rush during busy periods.

AXA, as one of the UK’s largest insurers of SMEs, understands that business circumstances change at busy times of year and will automatically increase by 25 per cent the level of stock cover in the run up to Christmas. Other insurers will also offer increases but businesses are advised to check their insurance will cover them fully if they are expecting to hold additional stock.

And while a lack of cover for stock could leave businesses out of pocket if they made a claim, they should also be aware that if they recruit employees to help out with the Christmas rush they may well need to take out some Employer Liability insurance to avoid breaking the law. EL cover is a legal requirement for employers even if staff are recruited on a temporary basis. For businesses with EL already in place, they should still inform their insurer of any additional recruits as the level of cover required may need to be amended to accommodate more staff. If EL is not in place businesses can face a fine of up to £2,500 per day.

Darrell Sansom, managing director of AXA Business Insurance, says: “Christmas is a very busy time for many businesses and sorting out their insurance is all too easy to forget. But the consequences of not having the right cover in place could cause a lot of financial damage – certainly much more than any extra takings earned in the festive season.”

Tips from AXA for reducing risk in the run up to Christmas

Avoid keeping large amounts of cash on the premises – get takings to the bank or into a safe as regularly as possible and if possible split it between two or three people. And be aware of how much money your insurance policy will cover you for while on site, off site and during transit
Keep cash tills out of sight wherever possible – they are a magnet for thieves
Secure your premises thoroughly – window and door locks should be insurance approved. And an alarm will be a deterrent to would-be thieves
If you can, join forces with other local businesses to keep a look out for any suspicious behaviour. And get to know your local police officers
Take the time to check up on any additional staff you take on – get proper references and interview them properly
And reduce the risk of employee accidents by making sure your premises are safe for additional staff to work in
Finally, make sure you have the correct insurance in place to help out should the worst happen