Maybe not the sexiest of topics, but a much-needed protection for your business: insurance. You will find below an overview of the mandatory and most common supplementary insurance policies. This should be a good start.
WHICH COVER SHOULD A STARTING ENTREPRENEUR CONSIDER?
There is no standard insurance package for starting self-employed professionals or entrepreneurs, because of the excessive complexity of possible scenarios and diversity of potential risks. For example, the insurance package of an independent landscaper will be quite different from that of an architectural firm. Should you rely solely on the goodwill and expertise of insurers to put together a balanced package? No, before you contact them, you should start by setting yourself some priorities that are financially viable.
THE COMPULSORY INSURANCES
- An occupational accident insurance if you employ people.
- A volunteers insurance for structured non-profit organisations.
- A civil liability insurance policy for vehicles to cover company vehicles.
- A civil liability insurance policy covering fire and explosion if you operate a publicly accessible business.
- A professional liability insurance for some liberal and intellectual professions.
THE OPTIONAL INSURANCES
- Personal protection:
Guaranteed income’ insurance, hospitalisation insurance, life insurance and pension insurance.
- Personnel protection:
Your employees should be covered by voluntary insurance, group insurance for supplementary pension and collective hospitalisation insurance.
- Property assets:
Fire insurance is at the top at number 1. You can supplement it with policies covering theft, business losses, machine failure or electronics.
- Business operations:
Avoid damage claims by taking out a business civil liability (CL) insurance, after delivery CL insurance, CL insurance for entrusted goods and legal assistance cover.
The (mini) comprehensive insurance, driver insurance, legal assistance, breakdown assistance and cargo insurance supplement the legally required car insurance.
You can use online tools to compare quotes from different insurers. For more information, you can also visit the website of Assuralia, the professional association for insurance companies.
AVOID BEING BLACKLISTED
Self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs who default on premium payments, submit false declarations or excessively high claims may end up on the blacklist. Insurers add to the list (a ‘special risks’ RSR file) the details of self-employed professionals or entrepreneurs who present a disproportionate risk.
Even though, in theory, insurers cannot refuse you cover, by imposing extremely high premiums in practice, they leave you exposed.
Dattasur, the economic partnership of insurance companies, updates the blacklist and is obliged to inform you if your name is listed.
CANCELLING INSURANCE POLICIES
If your insurance policies overlap or if you spotted a more interesting offer elsewhere, you cannot cancel your current insurance contract without notice. With most insurance policies, you are contractually bound for a year and you have to wait until the annual due date. By law, the exact date at which to send the cancellation should be stated on the first page of your contract, but that is not always the case. Most insurers simply mention that you have to send a registered letterthree months before the due date. Consequently, a contract due to expire on August 14th, will need to be cancelled by May 13th at the latest. Don’t be caught out. If you don’t cancel in time, your contract will automatically be renewed for a year.
Below are some organisations that can help you with this issue
Télé-barreau is a primary legal aid that helps obtain legal information or advice.
BECI (Brussels Entreprises Commerce and Industry) is an independent organisation that represents and defends the interests of Brussels companies.
Smart offers administrative, legal, fiscal and financial advice and tools to simplify and legalise professional activities in the creative industry.