Accounting Gross Profit does not equal Insurable Gross Profit

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Accounting Gross Profit does not equal Insurable Gross Profit

One of the problems with business interruption insurance is that the accounting terms such as Gross Profit and Gross Income used in insurance policies does not have the same meaning as accountants or business people use. The important differences are not usually taught at university and so clearly there is potential for misunderstanding. Sadly, this is a common mistake which is often not realised until claim time often with disastrous results for the policyholder.

The difference in definition between Accounting Gross Profit and Insurable Gross Profit occurs most often in manufacturing risks. The cost an accountant is trying to determine is the exact cost of goods sold. All the costs of manufacture such as direct materials, direct labour, and factory overheads are captured and deducted from sales turnover to arrive at accounting gross profit.

On the other hand, insurable gross profit is defined in an Industrial Special Risks policy as:

“GROSS PROFIT: the amount by which:

  1. the sum of the Turnover and the amount of the Closing Stock and Work in Progress shall exceed
  2. the sum of the amount of the Opening Stock and Work in Progress and the amount of the Uninsured Working Expenses as set out in the Schedule.

Note: The amounts of the Opening and Closing Stocks and Work in Progress shall be arrived at in accordance with the Insured’s normal accountancy methods, due provision being made for depreciation.”

(Note business packs may or may not use this definition. Please review what is covered with your insurance broker or adviser.)

To be fully insured under a business interruption policy, only those expenses which are truly variable in direct proportion to sales, should be listed as an Uninsured Working Expense and not insured. Purchases are a good example. However, many other expenses may not slow at the same rate as sales revenue in the event of a disruption.

When you consider any expense, it is important to consider what would happen to the expense in the event of a partial loss, not just a total loss.

To learn more about Business Interruption insurance or review which of the 55 most common business expenses should be insured (“Do I need to Insure the Expense”) at

Remember, if in doubt insure it.

Professor Allan Manning | LMI Group Pty Ltd | AFS Licence No. 283777 | ABN 69 086 256 171 |

To find out more about how FeeSynergy to help your business call: +61 3 9822-1300 or email

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