Earlier in the year, Retail News interviewed our Mutual Manager, Rikul Patel about The Retail Mutual’s rebrand:

With a new name to reflect its position at the heart of the high street, the retailer insurance expert has rebranded and expanded into new retail markets. Here, manager Rikul Patel explains to RN why he expects membership to rise

RN You Rebranded as The Retail Mutual in March – why did you do that?

RP While we remain The NFRN Mutual Ltd, we felt it was important to adopt a new public trading name to reflect our position at the heart of the high street.

Since rebranding, we already have several hundred retailers on our books from beyond our traditional core market of newsagents and convenience stores.

We carried out a comprehensive rating review to ensure we are competitive throughout the independent retail market and reviewed our product range to ensure we can meet the existing and future needs of our members.


RN How are your members benefiting from the move?

RP We are able to review comprehensive claims information and statistics specific to retailers and help our members understand and respond to the particular risks they face in their areas.

Our members pool their resources and any surpluses can be used to benefit the membership as a whole, so opening up the Mutual to a broader range of independent retailers increases our reach and enhances our community.


RN What are the most common mistakes made regarding insurance?

RP People often compare price but not the actual cover provided.

They should compare like with like and don’t think cheaper is always better – they need to make sure they’re protected.

The cheapest option could become the most expensive decision.


RN What can businesses do to make sure they are properly covered:?

RP First, remember Employer’s Liability cover is a legal requirement if you employ any staff.

Secondly, make sure you’re adequately covered against theft and accidental damage – if you have high-risk stock your insurer will likely require a monitored alarm to be in place.

If yours is inadequate you will effectively not be covered outside business hours.

Thirdly, it’s worth checking whether you have accidental damage cover. When it comes to stock, items such as tobacco regularly increase in value, so it’s good to review cover levels every six months.

Fourthly, ensure your business processes are up to date =- do you and your staff know what t do if there is a spillage; are your 3electrics in order; is your shopfloor free of trip hazards?

Being aware of risks can help protect you from opportunistic claimants. Lastly, don’t run the risk of having no insurance at all.

A large loss would put almost any uninsured retailer out of business.


RN What technology should retailers use to keep their businesses safe?

RP Make sure your security systems such as alarms, CCTV, shutters and locks are fit for purpose and meet your cover provider’s criteria.


RN From your position as an insurer, do you see business crime as a problem?

RP We’re aware of resourcing issues and pressures on the police. However, retail crime is on the rise and it is smaller, independent retailers who are at the sharp end.

We support initiatives such as the NFRN’s campaign for police forces to respond equally and work more closely with smaller businesses to combat retail crime.


RN What’s next for The Retail Mutual?

RP We hope our expansion into new retail markets will continue as well as it’s begun, but we also expect to see our membership numbers increase within our core newsagents and convenience markets as we introduce more products and services.

We aim to become a one-stop-shop for the cover needs of the entire independent retail community.