What are the risks?
We all know that running a Cookery School to offer a great experience to amateur and budding chefs of all ages comes with risks and hazards which you do not have in an average kitchen. There will be novice cooks using sharp knives, hot stoves, equipment they are unlikely to have had prior experience of using, food safety risks associated with uneducated or less experienced cooks… it is an insurance nightmare! Even with the best risks assessments in place, accidents can and do happen.
ICSA is committed to adding value to members and we are delighted to be able to share news on bespoke Cookery Schools Insurance cover, offered to ICSA members.
In considering the value of this, we spoke to Andrew Maxwell, previous MD of Tante Marie Culinary Academy, founder member of ICSA and now a consultant to cookery schools, who commented ‘At Tante Marie our budget for burn spray and plasters was mind-boggling! Claims can be made against you and your business. At the very least liability insurance is fundamental cover because you are offering a service to the public. If an injury was to occur then you as the business owner can be held liable.’
Continuing… ‘Every year, like clockwork, an email came in from our insurance company reminding me that our annual insurance renewal was approaching and asking me to fill in the usual forms indicating if there were any changes… and every year, like clockwork, I read it and my heart sank with the knowledge that I was about to embark on a time-consuming and onerous project to ensure we were getting the best possible deal. For this reason, having found what I thought was an ideal insurer, for several years we never switched. There was always something more pressing to deal with.’
‘It wasn’t until being with the same insurer for 6 years that we finally forced ourselves to review our position and I realised that ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know!’
‘…Reviewing our cover highlighted a number of shortcomings which had ‘snuck in under the radar’ through not really reviewing it properly but most importantly, the review resulted in some not insignificant savings – The biggest revelation for us was that by finding an insurer who genuinely understood our business, the whole process just became so much easier. They simply got it!’
Our industry is a very niche area and it is not a widely supported industry from an insurance perspective.
Our members recently made us aware of JMP Insurance who launched their Cookery School Insurance earlier this year, because of the passion and drive of their Senior Business Development Manager Colin Jones who adds ‘It was through attending various cookery courses that my ‘light bulb’ moment occurred, which led me to think about who was offering proper insurance cover for this industry? Many months of research amongst our team followed and flagged that there was no insurance product offering available designed specifically for the cookery school industry. And so, we formed ‘JMP’s Cookery School Insurance’.
Known amongst some members and throughout the industry, Colin has a lifetime passion for cooking and is a regular attendee at a number of cookery school classes in his spare time. Colin also recognised that Cookery Schools rarely just offer classes.
‘Many cookery schools also sell their own produce and products or have plans to. If this is the case then products liability is also a key insurance cover including insurance against poisoning and contamination. We found that many of the standard off the shelf liability policies do not include this cover. If you do sell any products then you need to consider if you are adequately protected if someone was to be injured by your product or in the worst possible case they died.’
Media coverage over the past few years has ensured that the general public are now very aware of the responsibilities of companies to label their products correctly and many are being held accountable. Having the right insurance in place is best achieved through a company who understand our industry and will mean that you are protected for the costs of your legal defence and financial payments awarded.
James Day, Operations Director of ICSA added ‘ICSA is delighted to be able to support its members through this partnership, and the attraction to our members about JMP is that their policy is effectively bespoke for the cookery school industry. They have pulled together a package of policies that could be tailored to provide a bespoke insurance offering for every cookery school to ensure that they are covered for everything they need.’
‘JMP will take the time to get to know you and your business and are keen to forge personal relationships. For members who would like to find out more, they will arrange to meet you and understand your business with a view to providing you with a bespoke policy that has been tailor made for you and your business. Based on member experience, including first hand by Andrew at Tante Marie, it’s worth the time to consider the risks in detail and to review your current insurance policy to ensure its fit for purpose. Membership continues to offer benefits across all levels of our businesses’