Disruptive Accommodation Needs Tailored Insurance

Liverpool is ready to welcome new hospitality concept, Selina, and the digital nomad guests that other hotels in the global chain are already attracting.

Selina is targeting customers wishing to not just stay over, but also to co-work. Its ethos is to support local communities via staff volunteering and community activity provision. This may be an exciting new proposition, but such ‘disruption’ by a new concept has associated insurance implications.

Guests staying with Selina can choose accommodation that ranges from plush suites, to micro-rooms. Within the options, there are multi-bed community rooms, hard to describe as being traditional hostel accommodation, but also akin to it. As such accommodation is unusual in nature, it can be hard to find the right insurance package to cover the risks around it. In such situations, generic policies are often not of use.

Typical hotel insurance cover may well not offer the right protection. Risks surrounding shared rooms and computer networks need to be considered, as these could have personal safety, crime and cyber crime implications.

Property and material damage, glass breakage, guest injuries and business interruption cover may also be required, should damage, malicious or otherwise, have impacts or make it impossible for a hotel to trade for a while.

In terms of encouraging employees to get involved with local community projects, employers need to pay heed to their Employers Liability (EL) protection, checking that its terms cover any injuries or issues that could impact on the employee during this type of work. The nature of the volunteering tasks could be a world apart from those they engage in day-to-day and so the EL policy may not offer cover for them.

The lesson here for any business doing things differently is to not assume that traditional insurance covers will protect you. Many holes may exist if you buy a generic policy and you may discover this too late, after the business, a guest or an employee has suffered an impact that leads you to raise a claim. The more complicated the picture, the more beneficial it could be to consult with an insurance broker, asking them to focus on your risk, to provide a quote for a bespoke policy, or find one that will provide you with the cover you need.

A broker can also quote for protection should you be a guest wanting to take up volunteering activities provided by a hotel. Standard travel insurance will often not cover voluntary work, unless this was mentioned when the policy was being bought and the risk attached to the voluntary work considered by the underwriters. Volunteering or working is not the same as holidaying and can be considered to be high risk, in just the same way that activities such as horse riding and jet skiing are. An add-on, or higher premium, may be required.

An insurance broker is the go-to person for a non-standard insurance risk. Please get in touch if you need help in sourcing one.