Looking out for small businesses

As small businesses continue to struggle, at least one insurance company has introduced a new package it says should help them to acquire and keep insurance coverage.

Sagicor General Insurance Inc. this week launched its small business insurance policy at the Hilton Barbados Resort –– a package, which targets small businesses based on the guidelines set out in the Small Business Development Act, and will allow them to get coverage for eight areas, which officials say was cheaper than if they were to buy each policy separately.

David Alleyne, president and chief executive officer Sagicor General Insurance, said his company was aware that businesses were finding it increasingly difficult to afford insurance, acknowledging that companies here were operating in “a very difficult economic environment”.

“The reality is that our populace and businesses, big and small, are under significant financial strain. All businesses are facing challenges in achieving revenue growth, compounded by cash flow receivable management issues. Times are hard and everyone is struggling, no more so than small businesses who often further face restrictions in credit terms and other onerous conditions with financial assistance,” said Alleyne.

He said the insurance industry therefore could not sit back and allow things to worsen.

“Inactivity in our profession will have a significant dampening effect on the economy. We cannot wait on or expect Government to take leading role in effecting vibrant economic activities. There is therefore a real role to be played by our industry through innovation in creating growth opportunities, and small and micro businesses in their industries have a very special part to play if we are to prosper again,” said Alleyne.

The insurance industry, he said, traditionally offered commercial policies that were geared toward large business, usually too complex to understand and too expensive, adding that “the small business is then often left to fend for itself”.

Alleyne later told Barbados TODAY the company had measures in place that would safeguard against delinquency when it came to premium payments.

He explained that the policy was designed so that the monthly premiums would be lower than usual and paid “over whatever period of time the client wants”.

And despite the current economic situation, Alleyne said he was expecting businesses to respond favourably.

“Seventy-seven per cent of businesses in Barbados are small businesses so this provides an opportunity and market to service that sector and allow a little ease in the economic conditions that are affecting all businesses,” he said.

This newspaper was unable to obtain how many small businesses currently had insurance.

Among others, areas covered under the policy include fire and other perils, accidental damage cover, employer’s liability insurance, loss of money insurance and public liability insurance.

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