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Bira CEO shares his thoughts on risk reduction

Andrew Goodacre focuses on how members can cut costs and reduce risk as part of their back to work plan.

Q1 – Towergate: The UK Government has emphasised that businesses must operate an environment that puts the safety of the public and employees as a priority. They have said that businesses will be subject to random audits by their local authority and Health & Safety Executive to ensure compliance with Health & Safety legislation. How can Bira help members comply?

A1 – Andrew: Compliance with Health & Safety law is nothing new. Businesses have always been required to provide a safe working environment and our members can get advice from the Bira Legal team, our re-opening guide and using our a risk assessment form from the resources available on the Bira website. The current Coronavirus situation creates a need for our members to become Covid-19 secure. Because of this we have updated our website to include advice on how members should assess and lay out their premises, apply rules for wearing of face masks and take such steps that are prudent to minimise the risk of COVID -19 to employees and the public at large. Additionally, Bira insurance automatically include free on-line Health & Safety advice for all our members who buy the Bira insurance scheme policy.


Q2Andrew: Speaking of insurance, do members need to contact their insurance provider when they start trading again?

A2  –Towergate:  Yes, if they told their insurance provider they had stopped trading. There are 3 reasons why. Firstly, if members told insurers their premises were unoccupied, they now need to confirm they are occupied to ensure that any cover restrictions are removed, and full cover is reinstated. Not all insurers applied cover restrictions for unoccupied property and any member who needs impartial advice about their own policy should contact Bira insurance on 0300 123 5939. It doesn’t matter whether a member is insured with Bira Insurance or not, all members can still benefit from advice if they scan their Schedule of insurance and email it to


Secondly, some members may have allowed their insurance policy to lapse. Their stock and contents assets are now at risk. It is vital that new cover is put in place to protect this and should include Employer’s Liability Insurance to meet legal requirements if they have employees. Again, Bira Insurance will give any member impartial advice about whether this is required if, for example, they are sole traders and the only employees are family.


Thirdly, I urge all Bira members to consider whether they are paying too much for their stock cover or too little for their fixtures and fittings. As with all insurance, Policyholders must insure contents for the current replacement values as new, including the cost of reinstatement by professional contractors. Members should not be tempted to reduce the sums insured simply to save premium as any claims made would be reduced in proportion to the amount of under insurance.  Bira Insurance will be delighted to explain this and guide members as to how they can accurately calculate their sums insured.


Stock cover is based on the cost price to the Policyholder, not the retail price at which the stock will be sold. It is common for stock values to fluctuate throughout the year. We recommend that members reassess their current values bearing in mind many Bira members may be carrying lower stock levels post-lockdown. They should advise their insurer if the stock value has decreased in order to benefit from lower premiums.


Q3 Andrew: Thank you for that Julian. What about temporary periods when the stock value increases e.g. prior to Christmas. Do members need to tell their insurance provider of these temporary increases?

A3  Towergate: Not all policies are the same. If it’s a Bira Insurance scheme policy this includes an automatic uplift in stock value at set times of the year. This is called a Seasonal Stock increase. The Bira Insurance team can help advise members, whether they are insured with Bira or not.


Q4 -Towergate: With the rise of zero hours contracts, part-time work and the new, and never to be forgotten word, Furlough, how has this affected staff Holiday entitlement?

A4 – Andrew: Holiday entitlement can be a complex area. In short, staff are entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday per year which is pro-rata on hours worked which includes Furlough. We have a guide that our members can download here. Members can also talk to our legal advice team on 0345 450 0937 or email with your membership number to hand.


Q5 -Towergate: Another issue that Bira members may be challenged with is mental well-being for themselves, their staff and their respective families. Is there any advice you can give?

A5 – Andrew: I am so glad you asked that question. Mental health can have a hidden and significant impact and, importantly, we have information on the Bira website on how to put mental health on your business agenda. The below graphic gives some great tips to help reduce anxiety.

This interview with Andrew Goodacre was conducted by Julian Palmer of Towergate insurance who design and deliver Bira Insurance.



If you have any questions, please call Towergate on 0300 123 5939 to talk to the Bira Insurance team


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This is a marketing article provided by Bira Insurance.
British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) are an Introducer Appointed Representative of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Bira Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered Address: Towergate House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Rd, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN. Registered in England with company number 4043759.

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