A minute on me - Susan Paterson, Business Insurance Group

With a background in banking, Susan has established an enviable reputation as a financial planner who specialises in insurance services and risk management for medium to large companies. 

We spoke to Susan on current considerations for business insurance and the tools she uses to manage her client base. 

What is the best part about being a financial adviser?

Being in the insurance side of the business, it can be heartbreaking to hear the stories from clients on why they need to lodge a claim. But seeing that claim paid, especially when it may not have been paid our in other circumstances provides me and the team with a great sense of pride in how good we are in claims positioning. 

How did you get involved in working with business clients?

I was a BDM at a bank, and then became a lending manager, so I dealt with a lot of business clients. I have always had a love of dealing with business clients.

I love being self-employed myself and having the flexibility of the hours that I was working to ensure that I could manage my family commitments. 

What are some of the things a business needs to consider?

For any business, it’s essential to understand the risks they face. People assume that public liability will cover everything, but there are other risks that should be factored in as well.

Also, as a business grows, the business owner needs to have a really good understanding of how the risks will increase. That’s our role. We show them how to best cover off those risks and offer advice to ensure that they are not putting undue stress on themselves with premiums. Knowing the business cash flow cycle and when premiums are due can enable a business to plan better.

How do business insurance considerations change based on the size of the business? What suggestions do you have for start-ups about managing business insurance as they grow?

There is definitely increased risk and considerations from a buy/sell perspective, and this impacts the risks associated with increased shareholding and capital raising.

The scenarios we usually work through with smaller companies are to identify the key people in their business and what the impact to the business would be if anything happened to them. For many smaller businesses this can be a huge impact as it’s usually only one or two people driving the business forward. 

So being able to identify the risks and then planning for impacts – for example if loans are called in – can help provide the business with confidence to expand.

What are some of the issues you are facing at the moment?

Generally, our business clients feel that they themselves are overly legislated, so they understand the increased cost of working. We haven’t had any real negative feedback. 

Because we are insurance based, we are faced with some grandfathering issues. We are working on a project to hand back to the manufacturers in tranches, but this will take another year or so to complete. 

What are some of the tools you have in place to plan your week?

We use a system called Monday.com and we have a CRM – one for general and one for life insurance. Monday.com provides an easy workflow system which means that in our weekly meeting we can just go through the clients one by one and bring to light any issues or challenges.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I have a few that I draw inspiration from:

  • Celebrate the successes because there are enough of the hard times. 
  • Take yourself offsite when you need to put thoughts into running a business and give yourself time to look down at the business and consider your options going forward
  • Even when is tight, reinvest in the business. Spend more on people that are better than you and who can help you make the tough decisions.