Dave Thornton, founder of Thornton & Lowe, discusses how he put PI insurance in place for his bid consultancy business.
What is your business, when did you start it, and why?
Thornton & Lowe is a bid writing, management and bid consultancy business. I started the company as a sole trader in 2009, while working full time in the housing association sector. I worked in procurement and I noticed a lot of good local suppliers and contractors were not winning tenders as they did not understand the process, and were not set up to respond to formal and quite demanding tenders. With approval, I started to support a few of my suppliers with consultancy as a sole trader. This worked well and within 12 months I went full time providing bid and tender support to local SMEs.
At what point did you consider insurance measures?
I am naturally risk averse, so as soon as I had the request from one of my suppliers to see if I could help them as a consultant, I went online and found some PI insurance. It was £500,000 of cover at a really reasonable cost, so a no brainer for me. As the business and company formed I sought out a professional broker who would meet with me and assess all potential risks, keeping in mind the business and nature of our clients.
How did you learn about your requirements?
I sat down with a broker and described the service I was providing and what I thought I would be providing within that year. He guided me through and seven years on we still meet annually to reassess any changes in risk.
What policies did you put in place after that?
We have employers, public and professional indemnity. At the time, I did a lot of networking and met several insurance brokers. I had several discussions and decided on a broker I thought would provide us the personal service I wanted, they were local, happy to meet and detail exactly what we do and then identify where our potential risks were.
Can you sum up how important these policies are to your company?
Though we have never had to made a claim – it provides us with the reassurance that we have a set of policies to suit or developing needs. I would not have a company without it.
Have you had to claim?
No. touch wood we won’t have to but it’s in place should we need it.