The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Guest Blog: The Pitfalls of Property Insurance



By David Whitby, Commercial Insurance Specialist at Cottons


After working with landlords on a daily basis for a number of years, common traits regarding their attitude towards insurance become noticeable. Naturally not all property landlords are the same, however it is alarming how little many landlords know about the type of insurance cover they have in force. Most will buy insurance over the internet believing their property assets are fully covered, which is not always the case. 
 

The general attitude of insurance is one of  ‘I don’t want to spend my money on something that potentially won’t happen’. As insurance is a non-tangible product, it is human nature to have this attitude. When you spend several hundred, or thousands of pounds, you are expecting to receive more than some pieces of paper and a policy booklet. You only see the benefits of your purchase in the event of a claim, and even then, you aren’t sure as to the level of service you will receive. It is in the event of a claim where you will find out whether you are covered correctly and whether the money you have spent on your insurance policy was justified.

The most common landlords’ insurance policy sold is your basic ‘no frills’ Buildings cover with Property Owners’ Liability. Generally, this would cover the building only in the event of the following perils: Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Aircraft, Earthquake, Riot & Civil Commotion, Theft or Attempted Theft, Storm, Flood.

Note that the above does not include any mention of Accidental Damage or Malicious Damage. These covers are not written into every property insurance contract, so if it is something that you require,  then it is advised that you request them.

Your buildings will be covered based on the rebuild value of your property. This shouldn’t be confused with the price you purchased the property. You do not want to be paying more than you should for an insurance policy by being over-insured, but also, should you be underinsured, insurance companies will apply the condition of ‘average’ and you will not receive the full amount for your claim. For example if you were to insure a building for £100,000 but the rebuild value was £120,000 and there was a fire causing £20,000 worth of damage, insurers would only pay you £16,666.67. Should you have any queries relating to the rebuild cost of your property, please use the link below which will forward you to the Association of British Insurers ‘Rebuild Calculator’: http://abi.bcis.co.uk/

The area of contents cover should also be highlighted as different insurance companies will have differing definitions of what constitutes contents cover. The main culprit with the differing definitions is that of carpet. Some insurers classify carpets within the buildings cover, whereas others include it within contents. 

Another scenario that you should consider is financial loss - imagine your property were to suffer from a fire which caused £20,000 worth of damage to the buildings and contents, whilst also rendering your property uninhabitable. You would expect your insurance to pay out this amount to get your property back into the same state it was in prior to the loss. But what about the impact with regard to your tenants? Where would they live whilst the property was uninhabitable? Who would be paying you rent? You can include Rent Receivable and Alternate Accommodation into your policy to cover your financial loss as a landlord if this were to happen.

Other claims that can arise are those of a legal nature. All landlord insurance policies include a basic cover of £2 million Property Owners Liability – more commonly known as Public Liability. Should a tenant or person(s) visiting the property suffer an injury due to any defects in the property, this will indemnify you for any costs incurred. Other legal add-ons you may wish to consider are Employers’ Liability and Legal Expenses. For example, should you employ any person(s) to look after the upkeep of your property, it would be advisable to include this within your cover in case of injury whilst working for you. Legal Expenses will indemnify you for any legal fees such as Property Disputes, Repair & Renovation Disputes and Health & Safety Prosecutions. Indemnity limits and cover provided are subject to which insurance company you choose. Legal Expenses can be expanded to include Rent Indemnity, whereby should a tenant default on their rent, you will be indemnified accordingly.

If you are require any further information with regards to the topic of this blog or Commercial Insurance please do not hesitate to contact David.whitby@cottonsfp.com or call 0161 216 4020.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Are you getting the most out of LinkedIn? – Part 2


By Hakeem Adebiyi - Director, Hands Associates Ltd



As we discussed in part 1 of this series (see my Chamber blog post from 8th November), LinkedIn is probably one of the best professional marketing platforms available. However not that many people use it effectively. This series aims to help small businesses to started using LinkedIn effectively.

Just in case you’re not convinced that LinkedIn is the best social network for your business...

For those of you who don’t like graphs this basically tells us that : LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, almost 3 times higher (277%) than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%).

LinkedIn's conversion rate also outranked social media as a channel overall. In other words, of all the traffic that came to these business' websites via social media, .98% of that traffic converted into leads, compared to LinkedIn's 2.74%.
(1)


Good news is that these stats include a lot of people who don’t use LinkedIn effectively, so if you follow my simple tips you will be ahead of 90% of people on LinkedIn.


In Part 2 of this series I will focus on completing the rest of your profile, setting the right preferences and then how to connect to the right people.

Completing your profile

We have previously discussed general profile details and summary so let’s move on to experience

Experience



This is a simple area to complete yet it is often neglected. It is obviously really important as it supports the summary and tells people what relevant experience you have.

What we recommend here is just to have your current job unless there is another job which specifically shows specialist experience that your current job doesn’t. The main point is that there is no need to show all your jobs as people aren’t really going to utilize your goods or services based on what you did 15 years ago.

Again, use your keywords, add your logo and also any relevant links, files or videos. Once you have completed that speak to your clients and ask them to recommend you so that it’s not just you saying how good you are but you also have independent verification from your clients. Being successful online is about building that “know”, “like” and “trust” factor, recommendations ensure that this is achieved.

Don’t worry LinkedIn will tell you when your profile is done and once it is completed it’s time to move on to connecting to the right people.

Connecting to the right people

If you want to generate business on LinkedIn then you need to be connected but you need to be connected to the right people. The good news,  it’s easy when you know how.

Follow this simple stepwise approach (this is for local business but you use a similar methodology for any business.

Step 1 – go to your profile and click on your location (gives you all your contacts in and around your area)


Step 2 – click on the 2nd connections in the relationship box ( these are people who are connected to your connections)

Step 3 – Click on the shared connections and identify who you know

Step 4 – Connect to this 2nd connection and tell them that you are both connected to X and you would love to connect to them. Obviously you only connect to people who are relevant to your business.

Using this simple methodology you will be able to connect to a lot of relevant people quickly.

Once you have done this then you need to move onto what I consider to be the most powerful area of LinkedIn and that is groups.

Groups

We will talk about how to get the most out of groups in our third and final part of this series – Engaging the audience. For now I will just quickly show you how to join targeted groups for your business area. Again a simple process.

Step 1 -  Go to interests on the navigation bar and click groups


Step 2 - Enter  your target market into the search bar e.g. small business etc.

Step 3 – Check the types of people in the group, the number of people in the group and then click join.

You are now ready to start profiting from LinkedIn.

In the third and final part of the LinkedIn articles I will discuss:

Engaging groups and how to profit from them
How to make £20,000 from one status update

In the meantime if you wish to know any more about marketing your business on LinkedIn please feel free to contact me on 07786535550 or email support@trainingforlocalbusiness.com

References: 1 - LinkedIn 277% More Effective for Lead Generation Than Facebook & Twitter [New Data] by Rebecca Corliss.