Thanks to the thief

Thanks to the thief

Towards the end of my first full year of business in York I arrived at my office one Monday morning to find the whole place had been ransacked. Cables were ripped out walls, paper was strewn over the floor and my beloved computer was gone.

As I swore and cursed loudly, the landlord eased his balding head around the half-hinged, half-broken door. Being a counsellor (in training) he advised and encouraged further ranting so I could “let it all out”. I happily obliged; only for the exorcism to grow louder as I realised all my work on the computer hadn’t been backed-up for a few months. My first year as a start-up hit a real low point that day.

Fortunately, I was insured for the theft and damage and a payout of £1,000 meant I was able to reinvest the money in a new machine a couple of weeks later. But the ‘consequences’ of my loss were not covered and as a result it was several months before the business was back on its feet again.

Hard lessons learnt

That theft episode taught me some hard lessons, not least that it is the consequence of a loss rather than the loss itself that can really hurt a business. So from that point onwards I always opted for the additional ‘consequential loss’ when buying office insurance cover.

Several years later the same York-based business had grown substantially and now had several offices near the city centre. Unfortunately, the offices were also close to the Ouse river which was discovering a growing penchant for flooding. The infamous wet autumn of 1999 caused chaos and for days we had over a foot of water in our car park and ground floor office space.

Thankfully, the insurance company and loss adjuster were on our case very quickly and a sizeable cheque was handed over to cover the asset damage. However, since we were covered for consequential loss the company was also able to claim against all the issues arising as a result of the flood. The final cheque for consequential loss was 10 times the size of the one for asset damage.

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