Interview: Colin Jones, John Morgan Partnership Ltd (JMP)

Colin Jones, Senior Business Development Manager at John Morgan Partnership

Colin Jones, Senior Business Development Manager at John Morgan Partnership - Credit: Archant

Colin Jones has been the Senior Business Development Manager at John Morgan Partnership for the last three years. We speak to him about his latest project with cookery schools

John Morgan Partnership is sponsoring Chef of the Year at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2019

John Morgan Partnership is sponsoring Chef of the Year at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2019 - Credit: Archant

Colin started his insurance career in London working as a broker for a number of companies within Lloyds of London. With 50 years in the industry he has covered most areas of insurance from your plain old house and car, a large commercial business to the outright wacky!

Upon retirement Colin decided to move to the Cotswolds where he could pursue further his love of food and volunteering in the local community. However upon a chance meeting, John Phillips (Managing Director, John Morgan Partnership) bought Colin to John Morgan Partnership (JMP) to develop his business further and retirement was put on hold.

JMP is sponsoring Chef of the Year at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2019 and the reason they chose to do this for 2019 is because of Colin's love of all things food, drink and cookery schools. He told us more about why he has chosen this particular industry to support and how JMP can help.

Why did you want to set up cookery school insurance?

In anticipation of retirement I wanted to find a new hobby and had always loved cooking so this naturally led me to cookery schools. After being on a number of cookery classes at various schools my insurance head and professional curiosity led me to think about who was offering adequate insurance cover for such a business. Cookery schools offer a great experience to amateur and budding chefs as well as children but this comes with additional hazards as you have novices dealing with equipment they may not have used before and in new surroundings which can lead to slips and trips. After much research I found that there was no product specific to this industry on offer.

What are the unique risks to a cookery school?

Schools offer a professional kitchen to amateur's and although this is under strict supervision they are using the equipment themselves so it's different from your standard restaurant or café risk. You need to think about:

- Sharp knives

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- Hot surfaces, boiling pans, slips and trips

- Professional equipment they may not have prior experience of

- Cross contamination is more likely as they are not aware of your food preparation rules

- Schools also have to consider the risks of food poisoning and allergens

To help with all this an "introduction to the kitchen" at the start of all courses would reduce the risk. More guidance on the risks to a cookery school and what you can do can be found here.

Are there any legal requirements a cookery school must follow?

There must be strict hygiene standards and food storage conditions as well as dietary and allergy questions asked prior to acceptance of clients. You must register with your local council a minimum of 28 days before launching your business. They will confirm details of any regulatory requirements that would be required. If you intend to teach children you will also need to get the appropriate DBS checks completed for all staff members and volunteers.

If someone is thinking of setting up a cookery school what advice would you give them?

Get the correct insurance in place and make sure you are covered for all eventualities! You should talk to an existing cookery school about their experiences and what to look out for. We have access to many that would be happy to help you.

What does your insurance offer them over others in the market?

We understand cookery schools from the ground up and as such we work with our insurer partners to make sure all areas of your school are covered. In the unfortunate event of a claim you know you are protected.

How have you helped cookery schools?

Many of the schools I have seen have taken out online insurance cover, particularly for Public Liability insurance. These insurance products are mainly generic and almost always do not offer cover for many of the activities that are undertaken in a school such as working away from the premises, at exhibitions or church halls etc. It is vital that the full extent of a school activities are provided to insurers so that they are fully aware of the risks involved. Online quote facilities do not allow you to put more than one option leaving you exposed in the event of a claim. We at JMP will list all your activities and offer a solution which provides cover for everything you do. Something else which I come across often is cookery schools run from home often mistakenly think that the business section of their home insurance policy will cover them. Most emphatically it does not! Again we can offer you a commercial policy to cover your school and a household policy with an insurer who fully understands you run a cookery business from your home.

Please contact me at JMP and I will be happy to pass on any advice, provide a free review of your current insurance arrangements, and give a no obligation quotation, often with a 12 month interest free payment option.

I am looking forward to meeting all the finalists of the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards 2019 and presenting the award for Best Chef on Monday, July 8.

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