Entrepreneurship inevitably involves risk. And in the fast-paced world of innovation and technology, the importance of mitigating risk with comprehensive insurance from the outset cannot be overstated.

Got that funding, lets (not) buy insurance!

Startups work hard to secure that first round of funding. All investor pitches will need show where the company intends to spend the money. Most purely focus on growth, marketing, talent and technology but how many would include insurance premium in their forecasts? In our experience there will be a time when insurance becomes a necessary purchase either due to a contractual request, an investor requirement, a licencing requirement or simply to protect the original founders.

Why insurance is important for tech startups

Insurance is an essential tool that helps tech startups face a multitude of challenges as they get established and embark on their growth journey. Incorporating risk mitigation strategies into a tech startup business plan early on is a prudent and strategic approach to safeguarding the future of any venture.

Insurance is an investment that transfers risks away from your startup to the insurer, providing peace of mind and allowing you to focus on driving innovation and achieving your vision.

Startups should take the time to identify and address potential risks for all stakeholders at the inception of their business. Tailored insurance solutions are the safety net your tech startup needs and it’s never too early to discuss these with a specialist broker. Establish the types of insurance your startup will require, and the appropriate amount of coverage needed. Putting relevant policies in place will bolster overall resilience to unexpected events and enhance investor confidence.

As your business develops, your insurance needs will evolve in line with changing risks. You should review your requirements regularly with your broker to ensure that the cover you have is flexible, aligned to the risks your business faces as it grows, and compliant with legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which you operate.

How insurance can aid growth for tech startups

No two startups are the same, which means that insurance requirements differ from one business to the next. The needs of a company that builds SaaS software will be very different from those of an e-commerce site. Nevertheless, the benefits of having appropriate and comprehensive insurance coverage will be shared by them all.

The three main benefits are:

Strengthening the customer relationship

Insurance will help build trust with your customers. For b2b clients, it may be a requisite in their terms of business, and proof of certain types of insurance may be required before they will sign contracts with your startup.

Enhancing investor confidence

Investors are inherently risk-averse and seek reassurance that their investments are safeguarded. A robust insurance portfolio demonstrates that your startup takes a proactive and long-term approach to risk management and is committed to protecting both assets and operations.

Potential investors will see that you are prepared to handle unforeseen challenges and potential disruptions that could jeopardise their investment. This instils trust and confidence, fostering a favourable environment for your startup to attract funding and grow.

Attracting the best talent

Insurance plays a pivotal role in helping tech startups attract the best talent by enhancing the credibility and professionalism of your business. Comprehensive insurance coverage demonstrates that your startup is responsible and forward-thinking in managing the risks associated with leadership and decision-making and mitigates the fear of personal financial loss due to legal actions and claims.

Examples of insurance claims against tech startups

Tech startups face a myriad of risks. Here are some examples of claims that could arise related to the business operations, services, or products of tech startups:

Professional Negligence claim

 Your tech startup has just launched a new app to help people find the best local restaurants. A user follows the recommendations on the app and gets food poisoning. They decide to blame your app, claiming it gave them bad advice which led to them falling ill. They file a lawsuit against your company, alleging that your app caused their health issues and seeking compensation for their medical bills and distress. A professional liability (E&O) policy would cover any legal costs and potential settlements.

Cyber Hacking claim

Your tech startup manages a rapidly growing e-commerce platform. A hacker gains access to your database, gaining unauthorised access to sensitive customer data. You swiftly detect the breach and take immediate action to contain the damage and notify affected customers promptly.

Nevertheless, the breach triggers a wave of concern and erodes trust among your customer base. Fearing potential financial losses and identity theft, some customers contemplate legal action against your startup for perceived negligence in safeguarding their sensitive data. Cyber insurance alleviates the financial burden on the company by covering investigation costs, customer notifications, public relations efforts to restore confidence, and potential legal expenses.

Claim against Founders / Directors

Your tech startup is in a phase of rapid growth, and the board of directors and key executives are navigating crucial strategic decisions. However, allegations arise from a group of dissatisfied investors, claiming that your management team made misleading statements regarding the company’s financial performance and future prospects.

These allegations lead to a lawsuit against the directors and officers, asserting a breach of fiduciary duty and financial impropriety. D&O insurance proves instrumental in transferring the costs of dealing with these to the insurer. It is they who will shoulder any legal defence costs and potential settlements.

Your startup could face any number of claims involving anything from allegations of negligence, failure to deliver contracted services, cyber threats, loss of sensitive information or losses from any number of criminal acts.   These could be extremely costly and even lead to the demise of your business.

The examples above highlight the importance of having appropriate insurance coverage tailored to the unique risks your tech startup faces.

What insurance should your tech startup have?

As we have seen, each tech startup will have unique needs and face different challenges. The following types of insurance could play a potential role in supporting the growth of your business:

  • Professional Liability (Errors and Omissions) Insurance protects against claims of professional negligence or failure to deliver services as promised.
  • Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance protects directors and officers from personal losses due to alleged wrongful acts or negligence in managing the company.
  • Cyber Insurance guards against cyber threats, data breaches, and loss of sensitive information, critical for tech startups dealing with valuable data.
  • Crime Insurance provides coverage for losses resulting from criminal acts such as theft, fraud, embezzlement, forgery, and other similar crimes including social engineering and external theft.
  • Startup Business Insurance is a package Continuum offers that bundles together the essential insurances that small tech startups require to get going and is designed to evolve with your business.
  • Fintech Insurance specifically designed to protect the risk exposures of fintech companies offering E&O / Professional Liability, D&O Insurance, Cyber Insurance and Crime Insurance in a modular format to support fintech companies through their evolution and growth

Why work with Continuum?

As a boutique insurance advisory firm in Asia with a wealth of experience supporting startups, we understand the unique needs and challenges that tech companies face in their growth journey and can advise on which of the above policies are relevant to your business. We can also help you to decide at what point in your evolution you need to put the different types of cover in place.

To safeguard your business with a tailor-made risk management strategy, please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our experts.