As I write, the world’s biggest annual sporting event is weaving its way through the mountains and villages of France towards the finish line on the Champs-Élysées.
We could well see a British rider wearing the yellow jersey again in Paris. The successes of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and the British cycling teams at the last two Olympics has seen a huge growth in the number of people getting on their bikes. At the beginning of 2012, British Cycling had 42,500 members; by the end of January this year it had surged past 100,000. Organised cycling events from road and mountain bike races to BMX contests have risen by more than 50% since 2008. The latest Mintel report says more than a third of UK adults are classed as ‘current riders’ – a fact that has cycle shops around the country rubbing their hands together as they hover over their tills.
Cycling is big business. While two thirds of British Cycling members spend less than £1000 a year on cycling, around 4% spend up to £5000 annually. The explosion in the number of sportives – organised events where riders are set a time to cover a certain distance – up 240% over the past five years has boosted the market for road bikes and their expensive add-ons.
And where there are valuable items, there are of course thieves. Crime figures published by the Office of National Statistics reveal that 376,000 bikes were stolen from April 2013 to March 2014 in England and Wales.
Security is clearly a concern for bike owners and many are turning to insurance to protect their precious cycles. One leading insurer has just put out some figures showing that the number of customers taking out additional cycle insurance has increased by 75% over the past six years. Some home insurers include cycle cover as standard but often the bike will only be insured if it is inside the property or secured in an outbuilding. Not much use if the bike is stolen from outside a railway station if used for commuting!
Many insurers will extend cover for cycles outside the house but not all and many place a financial limit on bikes or apply stringent terms and conditions. Most policies will require the holder to pay an excess which, for lower value bikes, could make a claim prohibitive.
It is definitely worth finding out if your clients are keen cyclists, what their cycling habits are and if they do own valuable kit. If they own lower cost bikes, it may not be worth their while taking out additional cover but if their bikes are above the average value then it could be worth pointing them in the direction of specialist cover rather than adding on to their household policy.
Companies such as Dynamo Cover will cover bikes against theft, whether inside or outside the home and will also pay out for accidental damage or vandalism. More importantly, they will offer third party liability cover from personal injury or damage claims and will provide legal help to fight for compensation from others if the client is hurt. With the growing number of cyclists on the roads, it’s becoming an increasingly risky hobby or method of transport.
As ever, it all boils down to getting to know your client and their individual lifestyles and needs to make sure you can help them get the right insurance cover. But this is what sets you apart from price comparison websites and will support client retention strategies after all!