Have you considered joining the ‘sharing economy’ and renting out your house or spare room on Airbnb?

According to The Telegraph, nearly 80,000 UK homeowners are using this popular online rental marketplace to rent all or part of their home for additional income, a number which has almost doubled year on year.

Airbnb is a community website that lets you rent your property or room for a small fee. Often catering to short-term renters, hosts advertise their property, or spare room, online via the website or app, and payments go straight through Airbnb, which takes a 3% commission. The site is heavily geared towards reviews, to help users weed out both unfriendly hosts and unruly guests.

According to a recent study — a collaboration between London economist Dr Margarethe Theseira and Airbnb — the site generated £502 million in economic activity in the UK last year alone. This research also revealed that 80% of hosts rent out their primary residence to supplement their income, meaning the site is supporting nearly 12,000 jobs.

What are the potential pitfalls?
If you don’t own your property outright, then it’s possible you may run into problems with your mortgage provider, as your mortgage agreement might prevent subletting. You could also run into issues if your activity means your property should be classified as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), as well as running the risk of invalidating your home insurance.

Although Airbnb does have a guarantee in place, it’s important to consider protection, such as landlord insurance, which would help cover against potential losses incurred.

What protection does Airbnb give?
Airbnb offers a guarantee covering up to £600,000 in damages, but it stresses that this isn’t an alternative to insurance.

Last year it also introduced a ‘Host Protection Policy’, which protects a host against claims against them — effectively a form of public liability insurance.  This has various limitations, and does not cover things such as: theft, pets, cash and valuables.

Despite this guarantee, Airbnb strongly recommends that you take out your own insurance.

The Airbnb website states: “The Host Guarantee is not insurance and should not be considered as a replacement or stand-in for home-owners or renters insurance. Hosts may want to consider independent insurance to cover valuable items like jewellery, artwork, or collectibles which are subject to limited protection under the Host Guarantee.”

You can read the full Airbnb policy here.

What level of cover do you need?
Landlord insurance covers a property owner from financial losses that might be associated with the act of renting the property. Policies tend to cover the building itself as well as any contents inside belonging to the landlord — useful if the property is furnished, for example. Different insurance policies tend to cover different things but usually this will include issues such as flood damage and theft, as well as public liability.

If you are reliant on income coming in from an Airbnb listing then, as part of your landlord insurance, you could purchase loss of booking income insurance for emergencies, such as a burst pipe. Some landlord insurance policies even provide alternative accommodation for the guest, in the event that something goes wrong.

Should you consider it?
If you own your property outright, then you may still risk invalidating your home insurance when you take an Airbnb guest in, as many providers consider this as using your house as an actual B&B. So, as well as landlord insurance, it might be worth considering upgrading your home insurance.

Whether your client is an Airbnb host because they want to meet more people or because they want to make a little income, it’s important that you help get them the right cover. For more information about the type of insurance that might be right for Airbnb landlords, please get in touch.

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit for all of your insurance needs.





From loss of business to regulatory fines, it’s hard to imagine that sticking a label on the wrong product could cause the business responsible so much bother. But it can, and it does. [NAME OF BROKER] have rounded up 5 common issues around labelling:

1. Misplacement
The same streamlined automated services that are designed to be helpful in the manufacturing and distribution industry can also be a hindrance. Products with the wrong label could be directed into the wrong place, causing inventory discrepancies, and missed deadlines. By the time the mistake has been corrected, money could have been lost and the product may not even be relevant anymore.

2. Penalties and loss of business
Compliance on labels is strict, and any glitches at this stage mean any products due to be shipped may be held back, and those already on their way to the end user can be recalled and the distributor or manufacturer fined for mislabelling.

It only takes one dissatisfactory experience for a customer to take their business elsewhere, and one major product recall to result in business closure following irreparable damage to reputation.

3. Holding back business
To meet demand, manufacturing businesses need to be fast-paced and efficient, and there are plenty of systems available to make this possible. If the labelling process is lagging behind due to redundant relabeling, for example, it’s going slow everything else down.

4. Global shipping
If a business wants to ship to other countries, they need to meet their labelling standards, and these are becoming ever more complex. Understanding these standards and complying with government mandates to the country they’re supplying to means the manufacturers and distributors are not shut out of these markets.

5. The end user
Allergens in bold, sugar content – customers know what they want to see on the labels of the products they buy, and how it should be laid out for quick reading. Ignoring these requirements of the consumer, or failing to respond quickly enough, could see them take their business elsewhere. Depending on your product, this could result in a market share loss.

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The impact of technology in the manufacturing industry thanks to globalisation, complex systems and a drive for innovation, is vast.

The adoption of smart products and interconnectivity means that cyber risks are becoming more widespread and difficult to crack. This is nowhere more the case than in the manufacturing industry, where competition is fierce and the rapid drive for innovation provides an open door for equally sophisticated illicit strategies.

Inside operation

According to figures from a study by Deloitte & MAPI, only 52% of executives surveyed said they were confident that their assets were protected from the threat of cyber attacks – 4 out of 10 of which involved employees.

One of the executives interviewed by Deloitte and MAPI said, “In the last couple of years, our people have been one of our biggest exposures; whether the intent is malicious or not, it’s always the weakest link.”


Criminal superiority
The results from the survey show Intellectual Property Theft to be the biggest cyber threat currently facing manufacturing, and that many of the instances can be traced back to the shop floor. This is not only due to the disconnectivity of outdated systems and processes leading to a lack of or mis-information, but is also down to the fact that manufacturers are failing in large numbers to carry out the appropriate risk assessments in these areas, which would otherwise identify vulnerabilities.

Increasing sophistication of cyber crime is perceived to be one of the greatest challenges according to 42% of executives interviewed. One executive couldn’t believe that their method of communication to head office was exploited.

“We were building a facility in China five years ago, and they acquired local equipment, cameras to show leadership back at headquarters live progress of construction. They put a live feed on the internet, but did not realise this rendered us/it as a target. It was brutal.”


Competition breeds failure
In their haste to jump ahead of the competition, the marketing and product engineering departments have a keen focus on enabling connectivity anywhere they can in their products – even if it’s not really needed. Out of the companies surveyed, 7 in 10 transmit unique identifiers and other private information in their connected products.

“Our customers may not be asking for sensors in products; from our products; but we may feel the need to make our products capable of being connected even if not needed, but because our competitors are going there,” said one of the executives interviewed.

By having experienced cyber experts well-versed in the threats present throughout the development process, the product can be developed in light of considerations which will make any potential risks more manageable.

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It might be more expensive, but there are plenty of business owners and directors keen to keep their manufacturing operations in the UK. From Head of Sales and Marketing to Equipment Manufacturers – here are the reason given by just some of them:
Jon Usher – Head of Sales and Marketing, Glen Dimplex
“Our future as a business being based in the UK is very optimistic. Our research shows that caterers are more likely to choose equipment that is built in Britain, with a feeling that appliances manufactured in the UK offer something that is sought after.”


Neil Richards – MD, Metcalfe Catering Equipment
“By purchasing and supporting British made products, the catering equipment distributor network will be supporting and backing investment, education, skills, innovation, value and prosperity generation in our economy.”


Nic Banner – Sales Director, Induced Energy
“We have a client base that want to buy British designed and manufactured induction technology. Why would we want to leave the UK and manufacture abroad?”


David Smithson – CEO, Classeq
“The more products that are made and sold in the UK the more our economy will stabilise and continue to grow. So we would like to continue to keep our business roots firmly planted in British soil.”
Active Food Systems meanwhile make no promises about keeping their operations in the UK, as the future of the industry can’t be predicted. However, Operations Manager Morag Anderson said that it was that the company would strive for.

“Nothing can be guaranteed in the development of a business; however, it is our intention and passion to remain a ‘British’ company from top to bottom,” she said.

“Being based in Britain supports our cultural standards and British manufacturing underpins our economy.”


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Automated machines have been serving us at the bank counter and supermarket checkout for some time now – but how about robots working in offices and estate agents? It’s the stuff of sci-fi novels, but it’s a future which could be closer than first thought says a new report by think tank Reform.

Based on a study by Carl Frey, co-director of the Oxford Martin programme on technology and employment at Oxford University, Reform suggests higher earning jobs are likely to disappear, with robots replacing around 250,000 UK public sector jobs by 2030, including admin roles.

Carl Frey said: “Low-skilled jobs are most exposed to automation over the forthcoming decades, but a substantial number of middle-income jobs are equally at risk.”

Examining office jobs that pay £40,000 annually or more, 35% UK jobs analysed were found to be at risk.

Top of the list are insurance workers and estate agents, who have more than 97% chance of becoming automated, with credit analysts close behind.

Postal service workers have a 95% change of being replaced by robots, whilst accountants, auditors and tube/tram drivers have a 93% chance of being computerised. Lab technicians also appear on the list with an 89% chance of automation by 2030.

The report suggests using artificial intelligence and automated systems could save public sector bodies thousands of pounds a year, giving the example of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which has reduced its admin staff from 96,000 to 60,000 in the last 10 years by providing more online services.

“Whitehall, the NHS and police can reduce headcount significantly”, it predicts, explaining: “Across public services, workforces have been designed around workers: they are hierarchical, too large and unresponsive to user needs”.

But it’s not all bad news. The report states that replacing workers with technology just because it is possible, does not mean it should happen without thought. “Cutting numbers should not be seen as an end in itself; technology should replace jobs where it can deliver a better service, as well as a more cost-efficient one,” it says.

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Unless a customer has their heart set on something that you alone supply, the chances of them waiting around for one of your products to come back in stock or production are slim. Not only will you have lost a sale, but you’ll have potentially lost that customer forever if they’ve found what they’re looking for with another supplier.

So the answer is to always make sure you have plenty of stock, right? Wrong. You need to make sure you have an adequate amount of stock waiting in wings, as a surplus can lead to other problems.

If you have a backroom brimming with stock, you will have additional hazards on your hands – fires and falling boxes, for example. Your once on trend item could quickly become obsolete as consumers change their view, or it could be left to spoil. All the while there is more stock to be damaged or stolen – merchandise or materials that are tying up your capital, and threatening never to give it back.

The answer? A coherent inventory
A control system that allows you to see what’s been sold or used, while tracking sales activity to monitor what stock needs ordering when, means you can be fully prepared for your customers with just the right amount of stock. This could be complete sellable items, or the raw materials used in the finished article if you’re a manufacturer. It can prevent delays, lost customers, increased risk and locked down capital.


Inventory style
An inventory can be as simple as a notepad with pencilled-in columns filled with detailed stock and transaction information. However you can make life easier on yourself and your employees by using money saved on stock bloopers and investing in inventory software. Automation lowers the chances of human error, reduces paperwork, and means essential information is easy to share.


Backing up with insurance
An inventory is going to be incredibly useful if you’re trying to work out what level of insurance protection you need for your stock. Instead of rifling through boxes and counting crates, you’ll simply be able to check a figure on your list. This means you’ll avoid underinsuring your stock, or paying more than necessary.

Shop insurance policies cover stock alongside contents, and often have allowances for seasonal stock increase. If you’re a manufacturer or construction company, those raw materials used towards the finished product can be covered with a dedicated policy too.

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The number of people working from home has increased by a fifth in the last 10 years, reaching over 1.5million. With so many businesses offering the flexible option of remote working, and with the number of self-employed individuals bigger than ever, many are wondering what the secret to staying on-task – whilst surrounded by home comforts. Setting up a dedicated home workspace which will keep you focused and wanting to work. Here are our top tips…

  1. Sweetness and light

The right lighting is key to productivity and concentration. Natural light is best, with neuroscience research showing that exposure to natural light improves workplace performance, whereas windowless working can induce disrupted sleep patterns and daytime dysfunctions.

If you don’t have a suitable window to work by, you work later in the day, or live somewhere without much sunlight (we’re looking at you, Britain), consider investing in a daylight-mimicking lamp, or at the very least make sure you have enough light to avoid straining your eyes.


  1. To desk or not to desk?

You don’t have to have a ‘normal’ set-up if something different works for you. Depending on the kind of work you are doing, a traditional desk may not be for you. If you are working on a tablet or laptop, try different surfaces in the house – from the dining room table or kitchen island to simply sitting on the sofa – or take your work to the coffee shop. Different environments can encourage different thought processes, so keep moving until you find one that suits you.


  1. Keep distractions at the door

One of the biggest challenges of working at home is avoiding temptation to do the laundry, or walk the dog. This is why it may suit some people to create their dedicated workspace in a single room, where they can shut the door. If you prefer to wander around the house, try setting alarms at hour-long intervals, allowing yourself five minutes of down-time – and then get back to work.


  1. Bring the outside in

Plants can make us happy, both purifying the air and giving us something to tend to. Adding greenery to your workspace is a good way to boost productivity and concentration. Similarly, surrounding yourself with your favourite personal items from photos to scented candles makes the most of being in a home environment, reinforcing the positive elements of working from home – and which you couldn’t always get away with in the office.


  1. Get organised

Whether you’ve gone for a home office or unusual workspace, keep your paperwork as organised as you would in a traditional place of work. Investing in a small filing cabinet and a series of ringbinders and dividers will allow you to file important work documents separately from home-related paperwork. Tidy desk, tidy mind…

If you’re self-employed, why not consult one of our advisors today to ensure you have all the business insurance you need in place?


Contact us on 01737377250 or visit for all of your insurance needs.