A complicated insurance claim

In the dynamic world of retail, every business venture comes with its unique set of challenges and opportunities. In this blog we share the complex journey, one of our clients experienced. What seemed like a promising location for Ken’s startup soon revealed layers of complications.  This included unconventional lease requirements to the unforeseen intricacies of insurance coverage. A complicated insurance claim is not what you expect.

Where it all started

Jason was introduced to Ken many years ago.  Ken was opening a retail premises with a couple of complications; 1) it was right next to the river Thames, and 2) it was a retail unit in a train station.  So, right from the start there were many requirements listed from the rail company. Whenever someone is letting property from them, they have slightly different requirements to a normal lease. They can be quite complicated and not all insurers want to accept them.

However, because it seemed complicated it was a perfect example of someone whose premises would benefit from an inspection from us.  We visit people’s premises whenever we can.  We can then see things that might not necessarily have been discussed on the phone or in a zoom call.

Visiting the premises

Almost as soon as we got there, we realised it was a much more complicated risk.  For example, there were huge amounts of plate glass. These were not only in the shop front, but also on the rear of the shop and both were exposed to people walking past.

When we discussed this with Ken, it became clear that the lease made Ken responsible for all the glass.  There was a huge cost for that glass because the pieces were so heavy and needed special equipment to erect them.

The landlord had no idea how much the individual panes of glass cost. It was all part of a massive project that they’d paid for.  But we did some research into exactly where the glass came from and how much the glass cost to replace.

We have experience of large pieces of glass needing to be imported and that takes longer and is subject to exchange rate fluctuations, so we wanted to get it right.

The Good and the Bad of a unique location

Ken had picked the premises because of the amount of footfall from people walking along the Thames and travellers attending the train station.  The good thing about increased footfall is that you get lots of people walking past your outlet who may be interested in your ware.  Unfortunately, from a cynic’s perspective, the bad thing about lots of footfall is you’re exposed to all of society’s ills.  The higher the number of people, the more of society’s ills you might drag in.  The chances of someone breaking the glass for no good reason were higher than if the premises had been in a shopping centre where people aren’t allowed to walk past late at night or early in the morning.

Apart from that, Ken was a start-up business in the retail sense and we had to help him estimate how much he should be insuring for.  There are ways to make sure a new business gets what it needs from an insurance policy, yet it has to be carefully assessed and compared with the policy wording to make sure the policy holder will get exactly what they need rather than discover that their broker hasn’t done a good assessment and the insurer hasn’t given them enough cover.

Act of vandalism

Fast forward a few months, Ken’s shop is doing well and the insurance has been in place for over a year.  Ken is then shocked to find that the rear window has been completely ruined by vandals.  With the glass being so expensive, one wondered how such strong glass was defeated.  Yet when people have more time on their hands they can overcome security and other protections, no matter how strong they are.

Given enough time anything can be broken into. Sometimes criminals work over a period of time.  They might loosen the screws on something on the Friday night and then on the Monday night they might loosen something else .  They come back on the Wednesday night and loosen something else.  So, when they eventually come back the following Friday night it is much easier to cart off their ill gotten gains.

Excuse my interruption

Ken was shocked to find the glass was broken and it dawned on him that the research on the glass was going to bear fruit.  We knew how much the glass was going to cost to replace.  We also knew the business was going to be interrupted for a period of time whilst the glass was installed.

Indeed, no customers could be present at the time of installation as it was not simply a case of moving a cracked pane of glass and installing a new one.  The display case and the way the products were displayed in the shop (albeit behind the glass) was beautiful, yet complicated.  So, it would take some considerable time to dismantle and remove the items and store them safely, before we could move on to the job of replacing the big glass.

Of course, everything had to be replaced carefully afterwards too.  And the shop wasn’t really big enough for all this to happen whilst customers were anywhere near the premises.  It was clear that there would be a loss of profit for the period that the premises was closed.  This would also form part of the claim.

The Claim was successful

Ken was delighted when he received his money, not only for the repair of the glass but also for the installation costs and the loss of business whilst it all happened.

However, Ken’s story didn’t end there, he got hit with another huge whammy when the pandemic hit.  Something that affected countless businesses.  We will let you know all about that in Part 2 of Ken’s story coming soon.



An assessment of what insurance a business needs should happen before the cover starts. If not, the insurance company will carry out an assessment when a claim has occurred. It is outrageous when insurance company’s do it that way around. Yet they make more profit when they do, so don’t expect it to change.


When buying protection for a business, insurers and some brokers will encourage you to buy the lowest price option. This is because that makes insurers more profitable and some brokers incomes are tied to insurers profitability. We recommend that businesses pay the same amount of attention to their own profits by insuring the correct amounts.


If there is anything else we can help with please get in contact or if you want to book a free insurance health check click here.