One of the most significant business casualties of Covid-19 is high street retailing. The headlines announcing the latest brands to ‘shut up shop’ appear on what seems like a daily basis. Even over the last week, permanent ‘covid closures’ have included Dorothy Perkins; Burton and Wallis joining wider household names like Debenhams; Top Shop; Miss Selfridges and Oasis, to name just a few. All have sadly lost their high street presence. With a rapid switch to online retailing supporting industries have had to adapt, but what will the impact be for the insurance industry?
Opportunity amongst adversity
The demise of the town centre retailer was already in view but massively accelerated by Covid-19. As a result we’re seeing a change of use for some, underutilised shop units with premises becoming, or destined to become split retail / residential dwellings or a complete change of use to leisure or hospitality facilities. With relaxed planning permission laws also being introduced, work has already started on redeveloping some of these redundant sites.
Changing insurance needs
With encouraging signs that empty retail units are being redeveloped for wider or different purposes it’s important for landlords and owners to reassess their insurance needs. If the building is being used in a different way then it’s vital that the appropriate type of insurance and the correct levels of cover have been secured to accommodate the property’s new identity. With any change in circumstance, insurers and brokers have an added opportunity to engage with their customers and to work with them to secure the best insurance solution for their new situation.
In the case of big scale, former retail spaces now lying dormant a new role for the property is highly likely. In Debenhams’ case the total shop floor space spans 13.6 million square feet according to consultants Local Data Company and Altus, giving significant options for future development. The former Debenhams store in Leicester is potentially being transformed into more than 300 new, high-quality homes – just one example of where different insurance covers will be needed.
Cost of insurance
Such widespread change in a short space of time is unusual so detailed evaluation of changing insurance needs is a must and should form an immediate conversation between broker and customer. To lessen the burden of any increased costs or to meet payment of any ongoing insurance premiums, owners, landlords and potentially the new tenants renting this space may benefit from premium finance.
As many of you can confirm, premium finance is a convenient way for customers to pay for their insurance, no matter how much their requirement may have changed recently. Rather than having to find a large sum up front to cover the premium, especially when the amount payable has risen, your insurance customers can instead spread the cost in smaller, regular payments. As demand for this service illustrates, it can help buyers to budget more effectively in these tough trading conditions.
In these rapidly changing times premium finance provides customers with wider payment options giving access to the cover they need, when it’s needed, taking the pressure off their cash flow and releasing capital so it can be spent elsewhere.
As well as enhancing customer service options, brokers partnering with Premium Credit have the opportunity to develop a further, commission led income stream too.
If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of our award winning insurance premium finance options, please get in touch.