Tag Archives: BCRS business loans

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Insurance prices rises 2016 - 2021

How to avoid paying rocketing insurance premiums

How to avoid paying rocketing insurance premiums

What’s happening to insurance premiums?

It’s been an odd few years, to say the least. With politics, adverse weather and of course the Covid pandemic, very little seems stable at the moment.Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Insurance prices rises 2016 - 2021




To add to all of the other stressors in our lives and businesses, prices of many fundamental goods and services have been going up. Insurance is no exception. In fact in the last quarter alone, overall insurance premiums have increased on average by 35% in the UK and 18% globally.

This increase varies across different classes of insurance. Liability covers saw a 7% increase last quarter. Property went up 18% and financial lines (professional indemnity and directors and officers liability) rose by an average of 71%.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Professional indemnity price increases 2016 - 2021





Why are premiums rising?

The last four years have seen a perfect storm of legislative changes and national events that have severely affected the insurance market:

  • Ogden rate changes which came into affect in 2019 have significantly increased compensation pay-outs on liability claims
  • The Solvency II Directive has forced insurance companies to change the way they operate and has pushed underwriting costs up
  • The significant flooding in January/February 2020 has pushed up property premiums
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has lead to an additional £1.2 billion in business interruption claims, increasing cyber crime and fraudulent and exaggerated personal injury claims.
  • Investment income loss caused by the combined effect of Covid19 and the challenges around Brexit. This means that insurance pools are expected to be more profitable than in the past.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Ogden






What can you do to reduce your premiums?

Despite the challenges, some businesses are seeing increases below the average or are even saving money! The following is what we are advising our clients:

  • Start your renewal process early – the more time you give to your broker, the more likely they are to get you favourable terms. One of the other effects of the pandemic is insurer service levels are down meaning that quotes are taking several times longer to obtain than they did two years ago.
  • Volunteer lots of information – there seems to be a myth that you should only give insurers the minimum information that they request, but the opposite has always been true. The better an insurance underwriter understands your business and the risks it faces, the more comfortable they become and therefore the more open they will be to provide lower premiums and better terms. If an underwriter feels that they don’t understand what they are insuring, or feel you are holding information back, they will refuse to quote (limiting your options) or they will quote a higher premium.
  • Turn the negatives into positives – it may be that you have had past financial challenges like past business insolvencies, personal bankruptcies or CCJs, or you may have has past claims. Given the current environment that is becoming more likely. Rather than just giving the basic information about these events, explain the causes, any mistakes that were made and what you are doing differently now. A business that has faced challenges but come out stronger is a better prospect to an underwriter than one that might repeat the past.
  • Ask your broker how you can reduce risks – insurance underwriters like businesses that take risk seriously. It might be as simple as changing your health and safety or security practices, or adopting new contracts, but any examples you can provide that you are reducing risk could lead to cheaper premiums.
  • Use a Broker – there are over 250 underwriters offering insurance to business and only a small handful are available online. A good broker will know which insurers to approach to get you the right deal for your business and circumstances.

More about our guest blogger, Alastair Taylor

Alastair is a director at Wootton Taylor, an independent insurance broker providing advice and support in arranging a broad range of insurances for businesses and private individuals.

His approach is to make arranging insurance as simple as possible by cutting out the jargon. Wootton Taylors’  open, friendly and efficient service gives you the peace of mind to focus on what is important to you.

Alastair Taylor, director at Wootton Taylor Insurance brokers

To find out more visit the Wootton Taylor website or call 01905 349 430.

Grab a grant

Grab a grant

There are several new initiatives designed to support growth for West Midlands businesses, so we thought we would share some of the programmes. For more information please call us  on 01905 885 285 or use the contact details give for each fund.
West Midlands Manufacturing Growth Programme
The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) provides free advice and support to manufacturing SMEs to help:
•    Identify opportunities and create plans for growth and improvement
•    Work with the best external experts to implement those plans
•    cover 35% of the cost of implementing the plans through a growth/improvement grant
•    Connect to wider support to maximise opportunities for growth
What the MGP means for manufacturing SMEs If you are an SME manufacturer, the Manufacturing Growth programme provides many advantages for you, including:
An independent business review to identify opportunities for business improvement and growth
•    A detailed action plan guiding you through the process of improving your business
•    Access to matched industry experts to provide consultancy and/or coaching tailored to your needs
•    Access to grants to co-fund your growth/improvement project

How you can benefit By joining the Manufacturing Support Programme, you can benefit from:
•    Insight into the risks/issues and opportunities for your business, helping you better plan for the future
•    Understanding of what needs to be done to make improvements
•    Work with new expertise to make bring about real development
•    Reduced cost, helping you make the changes you need sooner

If you are a manufacturing SME interested in finding out more, please contact the Greater Birmingham Growth Hub on 0800 032 3488 or email info@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk.

Birmingham LEP Business Growth Programme
The new £33 million Business Growth Programme (BGP) has launched. Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, this package of business support is designed to strengthen supply chains, stimulate innovation and grow existing Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Stoke and Staffordshire and The Marches Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
European Regional Development Fund Property Investment Programme
Grants of up to €200,000 for SME’s in the GBSLEP area
Following a successful bid to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Birmingham City Council is pleased to announce the launch of a new grant programme to encourage the improvement and development of key vacant, derelict or underused properties and sites for economic use, the grant programme will operate in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) area, see plan opposite. The grant is designed to help businesses to improve their commercial premises by providing financial support towards the cost of building improvement works. The primary purpose of the scheme is to increase and/or improve business accommodation and to help create new employment opportunities.
Funding is targeted at eligible Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s) located in GBSLEP area and delivering activities within the B1 and B2 planning categories (manufacturing and processing, office uses, business-to-business activities).
Eligible works include: for example, works which lead to increased commercial floor space and new jobs.
Please note that retail, housing, education, leisure uses and general property ‘uplift’ are NOT eligible.
All funding is discretionary and is managed by Birmingham City Council in accordance with ERDF guidelines.
Grants will be payable at up to 40% of eligible project development costs, subject to a maximum of €200,000, approximately £170,000.
Applications are invited on a first-come-first-served basis.
Further Information Please contact the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub to obtain an application pack or to discuss your project. This can be done through one of the following:
Email: info@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk
Call: 0800 032 3488

Within Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire
The Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP) will help small- and medium-sized businesses to lower running costs, by reducing energy consumption and also help the environment by cutting carbon emissions.
•    Funding is now available to help lower running costs for energy efficient businesses.
Worcestershire County Council along with its partners Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, Herefordshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council and the Worcestershire Districts have been awarded £1.45 million funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s European Regional Development Fund to help small- and medium-sized businesses.

Businesses on the programme will receive a free energy efficiency assessment review which will help businesses understand their energy usage and provide advice and recommendations on how to make improvements. This technical appraisal is equivalent of two days of business support.
Grants from £2,000 to £20,000 (maximum 40% of project costs) will also be available to help businesses undertake energy efficiency improvements such as lighting, heating, variable speed drives and compressors, energy efficient equipment, refrigeration, renewable technologies, behavioural change programmes, feasibility studies and more.
There will also be a series of energy efficiency events working alongside local partners to provide further support and learning opportunities to businesses.

Worcestershire  Skils training – fully funded training courses for employees. Includes leadership & management and technical skills. Priority sectors are advanced manufacturing. Contact Worcestershire Business central on 01905 677 888 to find out more.
Worcestershire County Council Proof of Concept grant funding programme can support SMEs to investigate, advance, commercialise and protect early stage innovative business ideas, through a partnership with the Central Technology Belt (CTB).
The Proof of Concept fund will provide grants of up to 50% of the total cost of a project (to a maximum contribution of £30,000) for businesses to prove that their innovations have significant economic potential.
Benefits to the companies
The grant can fund:
•    New machinery – Hardware and Equipment
•    Market Research and Assessment
•    IPR Protection
•    Accreditations
•    Prototyping
•    Marketing/Events/Demonstrations
•    Building works
Please note only external expenditure can be funded; internal costs such as staff salaries cannot be funded. The business would receive support from CTB Business Manager to get draft applications appraisal ready. Purpose: The grant encourages businesses to bring new products to market and introduce new products to the business, which will result in increased economic benefit and job creation in Worcestershire.
To qualify, your business must:
•    Be situated in and trading from Worcestershire, and
•    Employ fewer than 250 employees, and
•    Have a turnover of less than the equivalent of 50 million Euros per annum or an balance sheet of less than 43 million Euros
•    Applicants must demonstrate that they can match fund the remaining 50% of the project costs.
Please note some industries such as primary agriculture and retail are not eligible. Other activities excluded are social welfare and education facilities, banking and insurance.
For more information and details of how apply please contact the team on 01905 677 888 or email info@business-central.co.uk.

Women2Web is designed to support female entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs in Worcestershire.
In June 2014, Worcestershire County Council successfully applied to the Government Equality Office’s Superfast Broadband Challenge fund to support the project.
The fund was set up on the back of the Women’s Business Councils findings on enterprise, they found that:
•    There could be an extra one million female entrepreneurs if women started businesses at the same rate as men; and
•    There are over 2.4 million women who are not in work but want to work, and over 1.3 million women who want to work more hours.
The programme has supported over 500 women since it started, and Worcestershire County Council has committed to support the scheme until December 2016.
To have a look at some of our women’s case studies please read more here.
Good news, we have more courses!
Whether you’re a growing business or a budding entrepreneur, we have something for you, with our funded places offering:
•    Digital Training
•    Hands on IT Sessions
•    Group Mentoring
•    Networking
Women2Web is open to any female business owner, or aspiring business owner who lives or has a trading address within the County.
If you’re interested in joining our female business network, please contact the team on 01905 677 888 or email info@business-central.co.uk.
West Midlands – BCRS provides business loans ranging from £10,000 to £150,000.
Our loan fund has been especially designed to meet the needs of West Midlands based businesses that are unable to get loans from traditional sources such as banks. We understand that getting business finance can sometimes be a problem. Lack of track record, unreasonable security arrangements, past financial problems or simply not meeting conventional credit scoring methods may be hindering the process.
Our sole purpose is to provide access to finance to enable businesses to grow and prosper.
We don’t use impersonal computerised credit scoring and you will be able to talk to and meet one of our Business Development Managers to develop your loan application.
We offer loans to businesses making a positive contribution to the social, environmental or economic well-being of the West Midlands. We lend to most market sectors including construction, engineering, IT services, manufacturing, service providers and wholesalers.
A BCRS loan can be used for a wide range of projects including working capital, purchasing equipment, start-ups, recruitment and marketing.
If you are interested in a BCRS business loan please click onto the enquiry form icon and fill out the required information from their website www.bcrs.org.uk