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As a sole trader, a franchisee, or a director within a partnership, you are your business’ most valuable asset. Mark Todd, PMI team leader with Active Quote, looks at the benefits available to support self-employed workers within the construction sector who, alongside others nationwide, are still widely failing to protect their livelihoods against the threat of serious illness or injury.
Any tradesperson knows that a successful business is built on reputation, word of mouth and reliability. Fulfil these key attributes and you will build loyalty, a customer fan base and a great business. But what happens if something happens out of your control and you are too ill to turn up at that job or you can’t make that quote appointment?
Your reputation could be left in tatters and your business on the brink. As a long-standing sole trader working to customer demand, a week or two without work might not be a big deal to some, but what happens when it turns out to be a month or two - or longer?
Protecting yourself against professional damages, with a Personal Indemnity policy or similar, is a routine move for many when setting up as a sole trader. Much less common is the tendency to invest in your personal health and wellbeing. How many of us have truly considered what not being able to work through ill health or following an accident would mean for ourselves or the families we are working to support?
With 4.78 million self-employed individuals in the UK, accounting for 14.9% of the working population according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of self-employed workers is expected to further increase in 2018. Self-employment in the construction sector equates to more than the agriculture and production sectors combined, meanwhile, with the number of jobs provided by the construction industry also steadily increasing from 2011 onwards.
Despite this, a massive 93% of the UK’s self-employed workforce have no critical illness cover, according to research from Scottish Widows. Four in ten of those without insurance insist they don’t need critical illness cover or don’t see it as a financial priority, despite three-quarters of business owners or partners having no employees, and no-one else to cover for them should they fall ill and be unable to work themselves.
This is where private medical insurance can kick in and make a massive difference to your business. Critical illness insurance will cover your wages should you become ill, but it can’t protect your reputation or customer base – whereas as private medical cover can get you back on site and back in business.
Private medical insurers have made moves to provide sole traders and the self-employed a much-needed break when it comes to protecting their livelihoods. Schemes like that of not-for-profit organisation WPA (Western Provident Association), for example, have pledged to provide the self-employed with a flexible range of health policies at discounted rates.
A specialist health insurer with origins tracing back to 1901, where WPA began as the Reading Working Peoples’ Voluntary Hospital Contributory Fund, the organisation exists to make healthcare as affordable as possible through its family policies and corporate schemes. In this spirit anyone recognised by HMRC as actively self-employed, as a holder of a recognised franchise agreement, directors of private limited companies and partners within a partnership can access healthcare cover via the WPA at a 20% reduction in cost over other service users.
In addition, the discount not only applies to the policy holder (you) but family members too, with a 20% saving available up to the age of 55 and diminishing by 2% every year thereafter until the age of 65.
Overall, the support gives you access to a range of appropriate healthcare options as quickly as possible, so that you can get back to running your business and tending to your customers before the situation becomes too critical, physically or professionally.
ActiveQuote, as a leading UK comparison site for health insurance is pleased to see this discount in place from one of its insurers. Self-employment is widely attributed as a cornerstone of today’s economy, and from an industry perspective accessing affordable personal protection policies is more vital than ever for individuals who are their businesses - as many operating within the construction sector are.
We know many still don’t have a pension, for example, and that others simply cannot afford to take a day off work whatever time of year it may be. Bearing these figures in mind, the need for sole traders to safeguard their livelihoods against the complications ill health can bring about has perhaps never been greater. Thankfully, providers like the WPA mean securing cover doesn’t have to be as costly as you might think.
For more information about insurance for Self-employed workers, please visit www.activequote.com