How Zensurance Helps Canadian Retailers and Business Owners with Necessary Operational Insurance: Interview

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Online insurance brokerage Zensurance is helping Canadian business owners save time and money by providing a convenient and affordable way to buy business insurance. 

It has become increasingly important for businesses these days to have liability insurance to protect them from the costs associated with third-party liability lawsuits or claims on issues such as property damage or bodily injury.

Matt Jardine, a Zensurance broker and team lead for Property and Hospitality, said the risks a business owner is exposed to will vary based on the size of their operation, industry, or profession. 

How Zensurance Helps Canadian Retailers and Business Owners with Necessary Operational Insurance: Interview

In general, business liability insurance provides coverage for another’s bodily injury, property damage, or financial loss (professional liability) due to a company’s operations. Regardless of fault, the liability insurance may cover the costs of legal defence, out-of-court settlements, and third-party medical expenses.

“When you’re a small business you often feel like ‘where’s the risk?’ Just because you’re small, you’re not invisible when you’re small, you’re still vulnerable and you’re still susceptible to the same losses anybody else is,” said Jardine.

Jardine said Zensurance is a brokerage that is focused on providing the easiest path to getting insurance for Canada’s small business owners. 

“It’s not saying that we only exclusively work with small business owners but what we try to do is have the most precise and concise way of them accessing the insurance they need in a format that is user-friendly, purposeful, often able to provide a price the moment that they are going on to get a quote,” said Jardine. 

“There’s savings because of the unique relationships we have on the dollars and cents side but there’s also savings in terms of the time it takes to acquire a quote and to get an insurance policy. We try to really reduce that usual wait window that exists in the marketplace from multiple days to over a week down to sometimes multiple hours, the same day, with some things that we have.”

Image: Zensurance

Jardine said Zensurance currently has more than 100,000 business clients. 

“We focus on the people I find that are not usually focused on by the marketing and the advertising and the direction of brokerages. Everyone’s going on to the biggest fish in the sea where we’re trying to swim with the small guys to help them out and guide them,” said Jardine.

For many e-retailers expanding into customer facing events, they need to be aware of new risks they face and their general liability exposure. More and more small businesses are venturing out into the realm of pop up events, farmers’ markets and other in-person events.

“General liability covers property damage and bodily injury. Think about these in-person events, there’s little things that can happen, there’s big things that can happen. You might be putting on a presentation, have your computer plugged in and think nothing of it, and someone trips over your laptop cord and falls down. All of a sudden they’ve broken their wrist. What happens if the person that broke their wrist is a hair stylist and now they’re going to be out of work for a number of months,” said Jardine.

“These can become issues for small business people.”

By taking a business out from e-commerce or a home and into the market in physical places, small businesses now have the liability that goes with being in those premises as well. 

Jardine said businesses also need to have coverage if they are operating out of their homes or online. For example, what if a customer has a severe allergic reaction to a product they have purchased. Liability insurance policies are there to respond to allegations as well as the potential loss that has been triggered. A policy will cover legal representation including a statement of claim made against a business.

“When you think of the value, that’s tremendous,” said Jardine. “We want to subtly remind people that we are there to safeguard yourself without getting in your way or taking time out of your day really.

“Our whole business is about helping people take risks, in making sure they don’t fall down if it goes south on them. I think for small businesses they often overlook the need and value in having an insurance policy.”

The backup support is also there for cyber liability when traditional retailers pivot to more aggressive online strategies with apps, delivery and online sales as well as those businesses who launch strictly an e-commerce business.

“When you’re selling online I think it’s really easy to make mistakes that can come back and hurt your business. If there was no human error, there would almost be no cyber events. So cyber events are seldom successful without human error,” said Jardine. “The majority of things that happen is people become susceptible to a phishing attack or a ransomware attack or a malware attack.

“Those are all preventable. There are many coverages that are first-party coverage and that means that the insured, if they suffer let’s just say a malware attack and it happens to destroy their computer, there’s reimbursements for that. That’s why this policy is so valuable. Not only can it address the issue of the attack . . . but you’re vulnerable when you’re busy and you’re online. Small businesses don’t always have the financial resources to invest in the tools that pick up these threats. They have to rely on the people they have to identify, recognize and pick up these threats.

Having a policy to safeguard against these exposures and threats is recommended as one of the strategies a business can have to respond to the potential perils they face.

“The cyberspace impacts small businesses as much as it impacts large businesses because they’re far more vulnerable and it’s very easy to make a request for ransom. And some of those costs and damages are covered by the policy.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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