I was a student at the university of Manchester in 2010 when my friend from school in South Africa, David, reached out to let me know he had been running a successful diamond wholesale business out of South Africa and was now looking for a partner to expand into the retail space. At the time I was looking for an engagement ring for my girlfriend, so it was generally good timing to be chatting with him about diamond rings. I was involved in several digital and e-commerce projects and felt like taking this product online would deliver a much better experience to customers around the world, in terms of price, choice and transparency.
Initially, we did not even know we needed some kinds of basic insurance. It was my first business in the UK and I was new to some of the compliance parts of running a business here. It was only once we hired our first person, a young lady in Manchester, that we found out we now had to have insurance for employers and general liability.
A rough start
I went online, and going through a few of those insurance aggregators I was initially declined. It was only a year later that I found out it was because we were trading as a jeweller that we were being declined. At the time we held no stock, so the fact that we were a jeweller did not have any real effect on how much risk an insurer would be exposed to, but I guess that’s the problem with dealing directly with a generic insurance provider, over a specialist, for your industry.
Eventually, we started thinking, what are other jewellery firms doing, surely they are getting their insurance cover somewhere? So we asked around and found out there were a few specialist block insurers who could cover us for all of our needs in one go.
At the time we had also started trading, so we needed cover to protect our stock and offices from theft too. Because, in the end, we were only able to get quoted from one company, it made price comparing quite difficult, and we felt like we had to go ahead with them. However, I did not find the cost to be excessive, given that in one go, we’re getting all our insurance needs covered.
Their requirements for what level of security we needed to maintain our cover were helpful too, as it got us to go the extra mile in securing our premises.
A confidence in the right cover
We only had to file a claim once, and in the end, we did not even have to go through with the claim, as it ended up being resolved internally. However, what was reassuring is that when we did file the claim, we felt confident that we would be covered. As it was my first experiencing going through a claim, I was a bit sceptical about whether they would pay us out.
There is a lot of value in working with an insurer that ‘gets’ your specific industry. When they share with you their requirements, don’t seem them as inconvenience hurdles you need to get through to get insured, rather as free advice on how to get your business following best practices that will be helpful in the long term.
Nikolay Pirankov is co-founder of Taylor & Hart.