Industry Leaders Forum: Darrin Barclay, Country Manager, BizCover NZ
How was 2021 for BizCover? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?
The year 2021 proved to be, like for many businesses, a challenging one for BizCover in New Zealand. The intermittent lockdowns and uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic drove most of the challenges. Being an online business, the transition to working from home for all staff was seamless.
Whilst there was a slight downturn in the forecasted number of businesses buying new policies, we had opportunity to assist existing customers with their impacted cashflows when negotiating extended credit terms with insurers. Overall, the positives attained from the challenges presented made it an enjoyable year in some ways.
What will be the immediate focus for BizCover in 2022?
Our immediate focus will be to continue to provide stable costs and broader coverage, quickly and conveniently for all our customers. We expect an upturn in business once the “new normal” of living with COVID-19 has been factored into all walks of life and business.
How will BizCover engage with the cleaning industry in 2022?
We will continue to provide affordable and quality products to our customers in the cleaning industry. We are extremely proud of the fact that hardly any of our insurer products have seen any increases in 10 years but the products continue to provide adequate protection for our customers at claim time.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for the cleaning industry in 2022?
The cleaning industry, especially commercial cleaning, has been seen as ‘more than’ an essential service during the pandemic. Where businesses have remained open or when businesses open up again, high standards of cleaning will be high up on the risk management checklist.
It is a good time to be in the cleaning business and those that provide reliable and affordable services, will most likely thrive. Retaining staff and maintaining good training will be a challenge, like any industry going through a growth spurt.
What do you see, as far as changes and adjustments, the cleaning industry must embrace post-COVID?
The cleaning industry will need to be aware of health risks and bring that awareness into training and knowledge for all staff. These risks and understanding will also need to be shared with customers.
Cleaning firms may employ different operating levels to cope with the varying rules and procedures that Health Orders might bring.
An increased knowledge of the pandemic implications on customers’ operations will be paramount for the top operators.
What long term changes do you think will need to be implemented to business processes as a result of the pandemic?
Businesses will be more aware of risk than in previous times. This may vary from health issues to asset and revenue protection issues. Those businesses that are aware of risk, its implications and the treatment of it might be more likely to thrive.
What additional advice do you have for the cleaning industry now and after the pandemic?
At BizCover, we know business insurance. We are experts in providing the small business owners in the cleaning industry with competitive products that protect them in their time of need.
It’s not for us to influence change in any particular industry other than our own. Rather, we want to help those in the industry to prepare and be protected from change.
What we’ve noticed is that cleaning and sanitation have become more prominent issues throughout the pandemic. This trend is likely to continue and has the potential to influence business processes in the cleaning industry.
If business circumstances have changed or you’ve got new employees or equipment, your business insurance may be outdated.
Many small businesses in the cleaning industry are now in a vastly different position than they were at the start of the pandemic. So now is a good time to take stock and review your insurance cover, to ensure you have adequate cover for your business.
Is there a message that you would like to share with the industry?
We want business owners in the cleaning industry to know that BizCover is here to help protect your business. Whether they’re small or large; whether they just need Public Liability insurance or whether they’re a bigger business that needs to cover portable tools and equipment; BizCover is here to make business insurance simple.
The second point that we want to get across is the importance of reviewing your insurance. Cleaning looks to be a growth industry, and with growth comes change.
As your business grows, ensure your risk protection grows with the new circumstances. Otherwise, you could be left in a sticky situation without the right cover.
Lastly, we would like to thank all the small business owners from the bottom of our hearts. It has been a tough couple of years but together we have seen that light at the end of the tunnel and emerged on the other side.
This first appeared in the February issue of INCLEAN NZ magazine.
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