In the freelance world, most insurance claims stem from a client relationship gone sour.
Business is unpredictable. You never know what kind of clients you’ll work with, the dynamic between you both or what external factors can cause problems.
One of our customers, Emily, got in touch when their client relationship had broken down. The scope had changed since the initial project, and the work she'd agreed to and quoted for was now drastically different.
There were other factors that contributed to a gradual breakdown in their relationship. Additional hours with no pay increase, scope creep and impolite communication.
What had started off as a promising project was now a strained working relationship and source of stress.
A perk of freelancing is being in control of the work you do and who you do it for. According to AND CO's freelance survey, the second most-cited reason for going freelance was "flexibility".
Part of this flexibility is choosing who you do or don't work with. After feeling overworked, underpaid and unhappy, Emily decided to cease working with her client.
It can be daunting walking away from a project. You don't want to let clients down or tarnish your reputation. But the negative effects of one project can bleed into your other work, mental wellbeing and business as a whole.
Emily believed it was best for both parties if they ceased working together. Unfortunately, the client didn't walk away without a commotion. They hit back with the following claims;
- Reimbursement for the money they had already paid to the designer
- Damages for loss of income as a result of the delayed launch of the website
- Compensation for hiring other contractors to complete the project
These claims amounted to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds—enough to put Emily in a precarious position financially. The total sum of the claim could put Emily out of business.
It's not just the financial aspect insurance exists to serve. There's emotional support, too. Freelancers face self-employed life mostly on their own. Yes, there's freelance communities or meet-ups, but there's no boss or corporate wall to hide behind.
When a disgruntled client comes back with a list of accusations and damages, how do you handle this without further damaging the relationship? The short answer is you don't. You call on your insurer to help you manage it.
Dealing with the client wasn't the only issue Emily faced. Had she not been insured, there would have been more problems. For example, finding a lawyer to advise on the situation and being out of pocket the instance she consulted them.
Fortunately, Emily had taken out professional indemnity insurance arranged by With Jack several months earlier. The insurer immediately appointed a team of legal experts to deal with Emily's client and a settlement was agreed out of court.
After the dust had settled, Emily said this about her experience; "I can’t tell you how much of a huge weight off of my mind it has been knowing that I had support in all of this. I felt like I had someone on my side which was the best support I could ask for".
Emily pays £20 a month for business insurance. The cost of the legal advisors was covered by the policy, as well as damages paid to the client. Because of this, Emily is able to continue running her business.
Anybody who provides a service or advice to clients should have insurance. If you need more convincing, we've shared another story about how insurance helped this developer fight scope creep.
With Jack can help you arrange insurance for your business.