Press Release

Press Release

Date: February 2012 

Protect the Fruits of Your Invention! 

Sci-tech broker La Playa comes to the aid of vulnerable R&D labs with the launch of Lab PortfolioTM, a flexible, modular insurance policy designed for start-up, early stage and SME research and development businesses. 
An R&D Insurance Checklist is included.

60% of businesses in the UK are inadequately insured. 70% either won't reopen or will fail within 3 years of a serious fire*.   And laboratories are especially vulnerable to disruption and catastrophe.  *Statistics from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

R&D firms face risks that are markedly different from other sectors – how do you replace the years of blood, sweat and tears invested in a tiny phial of serum destroyed in a freezer power-out, for example?   How do you protect your bottom line so that funding isn’t jeopardised by unforeseen interruptions to R&D activity?  Commercial insurance polices generally fail to address these unusual risk elements, so specialist advice and insurance is a must for any lab or research enterprise.  R&D insurance hasn’t until now been widely available for smaller businesses - and solutions that do exist usually require accreditation. 

La Playa now offers a practical, modular insurance solution with Lab PortfolioTM that starts with Employers’ and Public Liabilities and builds in other covers only when needed as the enterprise grows, saving money for early stage businesses.  Lab PortfolioTM is exclusive to La Playa and supported by Catlin, the global specialty insurance group.  Uniquely, Lab PortfolioTM is underwritten in-house by La Playa’s expert team of life science specialists.

So what risks do labs face?

Alongside the usual business liabilities and risks to property and equipment, labs operating in areas like Biotechnology, Contract Research, Medical Device Development, Micro & Nano Engineering, Environmental Testing and Toxicology face a range of unusual risks; an interruption to R&D operations, a disruption in the supply chain or a freezer breakdown in the lab can involve extra expense. The financial impact of replacing and reworking materials, relocation and downtime can be enormous.  Labs may also be exposed professionally - what if a client is unhappy with the work done, and threatens with a lawsuit?  How do R&D firms plan for disaster and how do they keep ahead of the minefield of Health & Safety legislation? 

Here’s our Insurance Checklist for R&D management teams – you may not need all of these, but consider your risks in each area: 

  • Employers’ Liability: covers your liability to employees for injury or illness arising from their work.

  • Public and Products Liability: protecting your business against allegations of negligence resulting in third party injury or property damage.
  • Professional Liability: dealing with allegations of negligence or poor performance in your services.
  • Property: protecting your physical assets including buildings, improvements (such as lab fit-outs), office & lab machinery & equipment, computers & data, stock, documents, lab books, prototypes and R&D materials – even mobile equipment and insurance for international cargo shipments.
  • Business Interruption: protecting your income streams when there’s an unexpected interruption to business operations (such as accidental damage, fire, flood, power-outage or terrorist event)
  • Stock Deterioration: critical protection for loss arising from malfunction or loss of power to fridges or freezers.
  • Terrorism Insurance: protects against loss or damage resulting from acts of terrorism or the ideologically motivated.
  • Professional Indemnity
  • Clinical Trials
  • Directors’ & Officers’ liability
  • Loss Recovery insurance
  • Intellectual Property Insurance
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Travel insurance for business trips

Lab PortfolioTM provides a simple solution for complex problems - available online for quotes and cover within a day.  Premiums start at £750 (plus tax) and added benefits include:

  • “Office in a Box” Disaster Recovery programme built-in
  • Simple online tools to calculate the values of R&D materials
  • Access to discounted online Health & Safety assessment services

“Lab PortfolioTM  helps to protect the fruits of your invention with sensible levels of cover at reasonable prices,”says La Playa’s Matthew Clark, Director, Science & Technology“And by building in covers as and when you need them, you only pay for the insurance you need, when you need it”. 

More information and online application are available here

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“We thought that we had exhausted all options for our type of business. La Playa completely understood the field we operated in and provided us with new options - and then shopped around for us to get a better price.”

Sue L, Life Sciences


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About La Playa Science & Technology

Specialist & Independent

Specialist & Independent

La Playa's specialist Science & Tech team can help you protect your business with smart, flexible, high-performance insurance - with a friendly human UI. We understand the risks and pressures you face - and we speak your language.  We’ll support you with great advice - helping you make good decisions for your business. 

In-house IFA

We also offer Business Protection (including Key Person Insurance) and Employee Benefits: a joined up approach with a team of advisers working for your best financial interests - all under one roof

Advice You Can Trust

…from an expert who understands you

Tech-based business is 24/7, global and borderless, exposing you to new risks and liabilities - often in unfamiliar places. As the law struggles to keep pace with technology, insurance can provide a real safety net if you fall foul of changing legislation.

  • Specialist insurance for science and technology
  • Independent professional advice
  • Relationship-based service: right beside you when you make a claim
  • “Can do” culture

Seamless insurance across UK and US

What does “Boutique Service” actually mean?
La Playa’s Personal Risk Concierge means:

  1. dedicated adviser so you can speak to the same person each time
  2. Careful listening to really understand your needs and priorities
  3. As much help as you need with completing forms to provide risk information
  4. A discreet and complimentary appraisal* of your property to assess the risks and ensure you have the right cover where you need it
  5. An independent market review - so you don’t have to shop around comparing policies, cover limits, risks covered and smallprint exclusions
  6. Careful monitoring of the insurers’ financial strength, claims and customer service
  7. An independent recommendation of the best policy for you - and, importantly, why
  8. Specialist policy wordings from underwriters who have demonstrated excellence and deep understanding of your risk exposures. We have analysed a wide range of policy wordings and have selected only the best for our panel. Our advisers have a deep working knowledge of these policies 
  9. An intelligently designed portfolio of protection across multiple asset classes and territories
  10. Advice on how best to manage your risks - to keep you safe but also to keep insurance costs down
  11. Expert guidance on valuations, security and risk management, and connecting you with specialist advisers and suppliers
  12. Direct phone, mobile and email access to your adviser for questions and advice. We aim to respond to emails within 60 minutes
  13. Policy documents emailed to you - no logins and passwords to remember
  14. An advocate beside you if you make a claim - thinking laterally to mitigate the impact, making useful connections to get you back up and running; driving through to a swift and fair financial settlement

Oh, and...

  • No call centres
  • No ‘hold’ music
  • No hidden fees

*subject to availability with our insurer panel

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Juliet Allan


Direct Dial: +44 (0) 1223 200658


Twitter: @julietallan