Meet the supplier: Severn Bay


1. How has the pandemic impacted publishers in your field of work?

We have a varied client base that includes publishers, authors and other associated businesses and practitioners. Hardly any are throwing up their hands, chucking it all in and going on the dole. Most are simply trying to work out how they get through the next six months. Orders have taken a downturn, but many have back catalogues and retainers that continue to provide some income, just not at the level it has been in recent years. They can pay their bills and are looking forward to better times. A few lucky businesses and authors find their titles much in demand and with people stuck at home on furlough are selling more, not less. This appears to be a concurrent theme across many industries and business sectors at this time, so the publishing world is not unusual or out of step. When the economy revives, we expect to see the publishing sector do likewise.

2. Can you share any practical advice for IPG members as they respond to pandemic-related challenges?

In terms of commercial insurances, it’s more important than ever to renew insurances and understand three things.

  •  If you have physical assets including buildings, contents, stock, equipment or machinery, asset cover is critical. Without cover, no compensation is forthcoming—so if it all goes up in flames, you really have lost your business.
  •  If you have employees on the books, regardless of whether they are on furlough or not, employers’ liability cover is required by law. It also applies to limited companies with two or more directors and no other employees. Fines are currently £2,500 per day or up to six months in jail, so this is the biggie in insurance terms!
  • Your legal liability for everything you ever did does not disappear just because you are not doing anything now, or have failed to renew your public / products liability or professional indemnity.

Covers are on a ‘Claims Made’ basis. That means the policy that responds is the one that is in force when the claim arrives, not the one that was in force when the work was done. If you don’t have policies in place, you will face any legal costs and court award on your own.

3. What opportunities do you foresee for publishers over the next 12 months—and how can you help businesses capitalise on them?

In every situation where there are downsides, there are always opportunities. Valuable employees may be laid off by bigger firms and might be prepared to work for smaller firms that treat them more like individuals than cogs in a big machine. It’s possible to pick up good people who will contribute to your success in the future. It’s a cliché but it’s true: look after your staff and they will look after your customers. Some things, like working practices, probably won’t go back to how they were before Covid-19, so it’s a good chance to think about how you can embrace remote or home working. Good policies might be an incentive for good people to choose you over other employers.

Get out there and tell the world why it should be you and not someone else who gets their business. Build your brand and don’t go down market: 40 years in business has taught me that anyone can be cheap, but people always aspire to quality as soon as they can afford it.

Severn Bay’s fee-only model can save clients up to 30% on their insurance spend. There is no tax on professional fees whereas you pay insurance tax at 12% on other brokers’ commission, because it’s part of the premium. We can save clients substantial amounts of money and provide wider cover.

For more about Severn Bay’s services, click here.