Insurance is vital for all businesses, says Noel Preston
Tell us who you are and what you do… I’m a local Brighton boy, with a career in the insurance industry spanning 25 years (I know sad, eh?!) The industry has been good to me, providing some fabulous experiences and a number of very good friends.
With all that experience under my belt and a passion for delivering professional and personal service, I decided about two years ago to start my own business – Preston Insurance Brokers – with the help of my business partner. I enjoy arranging competitively priced insurance programmes and looking after and protecting local businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The part of the job I like the most is getting to know the people and their businesses. Insurance broking is actually a lot more interesting than people may think and the opportunity to get right under the skin of how different people and businesses work is often quite fascinating.
We’ve exceeded the targets we set ourselves in the first couple of years and our team is growing to ensure we continue to deliver the service we are becoming renowned for in the local area. With a smile on my face, I am really looking forward to what the future brings.
What kind of businesses need insurance? In short, all businesses need insurance. The breadth of it is down to us to explain to clients, including all the covers available and how they can protect their business. With the experience I’ve gleamed from years in the industry we’re well positioned to advise pretty much any type or size of business and provide the range of protection required.
In my opinion insurance is not a crutch but more a risk transfer, to help keep a business going should the worse happen. I recognise each business is individual in what it does, how it manages itself and its attitude to risk. The insurance arranged should reflect this in addition to protecting just the pure asset values of the business.
There are of course the compulsory purchase insurances, such as employers’ liability and motor. Often contractually businesses also need to arrange certain insurances. Otherwise it’s all about the individual business’ attitude to risk and I only find out about that by asking the right questions and listening to what they have to say.
What kind of disasters can happen? Well, you have the well-publicised global issues such as hurricanes, tsunamis and terrorist activities. But more localised issues are wide-spread in their nature. Fires in certain industries such as chemical and waste recycling can have a massive impact to not only a business but also the immediate area and the environment.
The increase in the litigious nature of the world’s culture and the ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ mentality means injury and other liability claims are more prevalent in people’s minds.
This makes it even more important for us to help a business manage and protect itself correctly; prevention in the form of comprehensive risk management being the starting point, the insurance purely being the cure should all else fail. This approach will generally help in the pricing too – a good risk equals better rates!
What is the craziest claim you ever had? Good question, with a load to choose from, such as big fires, multiple vehicle accidents, sunken boats, wrongful advice, wading around in six feet of water and re-roofing clients’ premises during a storm!
Having looked after most industries during my 25 years of arranging commercial insurance, I can safely say there are some extremely amusing stories, some which really couldn’t go to print. As for the craziest claim, well, it involved an injury to a couple in the bedroom – I think we had better leave it at that!