Shoplifting – or as it should be called, retail theft – costs Australian businesses $3.3 billion every year.

That’s a staggering amount. And there’s very little business owners can do about it.

I believe there’s been a shift in what people are stealing that has triggered this peak in retail theft. Previously, a crook would break into your house and steal cash or jewellery. Now with the demise of cash, thieves are looking for small, high value items that they can hawk quickly for a cash return.

This has led to a recent spike in thefts of things like mobile phones and iPads from retail stores, which business owners have little choice but to write-off as a loss.

My challenge to the insurance industry is to come up with a product that will allow businesses to cost-effectively insure against theft.

Currently, theft insurance is impractical, given that each stolen item equates to an individual claim, and the cost of premiums and excesses often far outweigh the value of the stolen items.

But surely, we now have systems sophisticated enough to develop a product that might allow a business to tally their losses across a stipulated time period, and if they exceed a certain amount, they might qualify to make a claim.

I don’t have all the answers, but someone surely does. And I’m sure business owners would happily pay reasonable premiums and excesses if it meant they could recoup some of their theft losses.