Prior to lockdown, over half (51%) of businesses had some form of debt, owing an average of £176,000 each – and yet just 20% used an insurance policy as security. To add to this already significant issue, bank lending to struggling businesses via government-backed COVID-19 loan schemes reached nearly £52bn as of mid-August – meaning that UK businesses are more heavily indebted than ever.
Business loan protection
Business loan protection provides funds to repay a business loan, commercial mortgage, or a director’s loan if one of the company’s owners were to die or be diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness. Essentially, this type of insurance comprises a life cover or critical illness policy taken out on the life of the business owner or key person, with the payout ensuring the business can pay its debts should the worst happen. Most lenders require some form of security when lending to businesses; often, business owners will use their own personal wealth (e.g. their property) as security. So, in addition to their business suffering if they were to unexpectedly die or become seriously ill, their family could face serious financial hardship or even lose their home.
It is common for businesses to have a director’s loan account, through which the director can:
— Lend money to the business to fund initial start-up costs or see it through cash flow pinch
— Borrow money from the company that is not classed as salary, dividends or expense repayments.
According to research from Legal & General, the average director’s loan totals £169,000 – and yet well over a quarter (28%) of businesses are unaware that director’s loans must be repaid upon death. This means the business could collapse if there is no insurance policy in place.
Loss of a key person
A staggering 52% of businesses say they would cease trading within a year if they lost a key person. Losing a key member of staff can have a huge impact on the business in terms of lost profits, poor cashflow and, potentially, a change in its creditors’ attitudes to outstanding debts. That’s where business loan protection comes in – it can help alleviate financial pressure by paying off the company’s debts and enabling the business to get back on track.
As with all insurance policies, conditions and exclusions will apply