Award-winning insurance broker, Ascend Broking, warns that very many businesses in this sector are underinsured or wrongly insured for their own bespoke risks. This is due to this field of insurance being a complex one to handle and necessitating a real knowledge of the risks faced by those involved in the wine, beer and spirits supply chain.

Such is the degree of knowledge required, to do the job properly, that Ascend Broking has established a specialist division to handle this type of insurance.

In reality, however, the majority of businesses in the wines and spirits trade, trust the service of non-specialist brokers, who often sell them cover that is more general in nature and which would often not sufficiently cover certain losses incurred. Whilst it might cover theft, it may well not cover the losses occurring because of imploding corks. Therein lies the difference between what a specialist can bring to the table and what a generalist can offer, off the shelf.

The Ascend Broking team is headed up by someone who has actually worked in the trade, importing wine into the Canary Islands for five years. His insight enables the team to provide wines, beer and spirits businesses with insurance policies that have wording tailored to their own individual situation. This could relate to the type of stock they hold, their shipping routes and transportation channels, or how their products are stored. There are a host of other areas that could be taken into account.

The team fully understands the fragility of alcoholic and bottled products and every possible scenario, from extreme heat impacts to label damage. They can accurately predict the limits required for risks such as theft and loss or damage in transit. They can also consider how best to protect against an increasing threat of water damage, in an era of climate change.

Other risks that they might view as easy to spot, but which a generalist broker would never consider, might be those found within grape processing or distilling. They could equally relate to contamination that might occur when transferring a semi-prepared product to another location, so that another process can take place.

When it comes to importing, Ascend will also draw on its in-depth marine cargo insurance experience. Rather than discovering their product is not covered by their carrier’s insurance or that their policy has not valued their product correctly, Ascend Broking’s clients have the peace of mind of knowing that an informed eye has dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.

Head of the wines and spirits division, Nigel Holmes, said: “Wine, beer and spirits businesses would not employ an inexperienced manager to brew, distil or ferment their product and they treat their creations with lots of tender loving care. They then pass them into the hands of inexperienced insurance brokers, who have no idea of the range of risks that can befall them. This can leave products and businesses highly exposed to losses, which can arise in numerous areas that have not been covered off by the right insurance policy.

“Our knowledge means that does not happen.  Knowledge is king, in this field of insurance.”