Addressing the insurance needs of an employee engagement consultancy

Jane Sunley, CEO and founder of employee engagement consultancy Purple Cubed, discusses the key insurance cover she put in place.

I started my employee engagement consultancy business in 2001, the day before 9/11 in fact, which wasn’t the best timing. However I had a strong conviction that what we were doing – helping businesses to put people at the heart of their success – was something everyone would need. It turned out I was right.

Prior to this I’d had a corporate career as a leader within the hospitality industry and had latterly co-founded a specialist recruitment business, which I exited to start Purple Cubed. We provide expert advice and solutions (including technology) to any business wanting to harness the power of its people. My operational and recruitment/people experience turned out to be the perfect combination for providing a pragmatic, business-focused approach.

Our client base has grown dramatically and we are now an international, multi-million turnover organisation. Though I always wanted to keep the operation small so we only employ 18 people, based here in London. Our success comes from our people, being bold and honest in our approach and having great products. We’re not afraid to go out on a limb to do what’s right and I think people love that.

Getting the insurance basics in place

When we started, we made sure we had adequate insurance though nothing extra as cash was tight. This included employer’s liability, public liability, professional indemnity. Over the years we’ve added terrorism cover and insurance against cyber fraud. We’ve stayed away from key man cover though due to its high cost. In my experience as long as you can pay your premiums it’s possible to find the right insurance even for a small business. Many insurers will allow interest free monthly payments, which is helpful.

I was fortunate in that I had good contacts from my previous life, people I could trust to advise me well.

We’re fortunate in that we’ve never had to make a claim; though that hasn’t meant we’ve downgraded our level of insurance. There are always risks and the unexpected so it’s better to be over-covered than under. As a technology business, our greatest risk is linked to cyber data phishing and hacking; especially as we’re cloud based. We’ve therefore taken out specialist insurance to protect us against this situation; which a cover of £1 million per policy period. Other risks for us are the value of contents taken offsite, such as laptops and tablets. Our people are out and about daily, so insuring we have the right cover for loss, theft or damage is important. Finally, we like to take on work experience students, however some policies don’t cover young people while on-site. We’ve made sure we have a policy which does so that it doesn’t impact upon our ability to provide these opportunities.

Getting to grips with the cover you need

I would encourage appointing a specialist to help you decipher what you need and at what level. Especially with public liability, you need to know the minimum cover required for your industry as it does vary. Also, some clients expect a specific level of insurance to work with you so it’s important to check you meet these requirements.

I’d also say that cyber insurance is a must nowadays, and not just for tech business. The amount of data we can possess about our customers is vast and the risk of hacking is very real. It’s not overly expensive, around £2-3,000 per annum and is a definite worthwhile investment.

Jane Sunley is CEO and founder of Purple Cubed.

Further reading on business insurance

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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