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Contractors_hard_hats_insuranceWhen looking for contractor’s insurance, one size does not fit all contracting businesses.

The contracting sector is coming under increasing pressure from rising material costs and a reduction in access to affordable skills. This may lead firms to look for cost-saving measures in other areas such as insurance and opt for a generic policy that may not cover all the risks they face in their day to day work.

Contractors risk underinsurance and higher costs in the long run and should check the terms and conditions and any exclusions before buying insurance cover.

Consequently, contractors are strongly encouraged to work with their insurance broker to seek out specialist cover for their respective trade.

This will help protect against the risk of an insurance claim not being paid as well as protect them adequately should a claim be made against their business.

The key restrictions in insurance cover that contractors need to check are as follows:
  • Height and depth limits
  • Activity restrictions
  • Premises restrictions
  • Hot work exclusions
  • Activity exclusions
  • Subcontractors not being covered
The process of arranging insurance cover shouldn’t be rushed, particularly if the type of contractor work being covered entails a variety of risks such as working at height or with hot materials.

While there are specialist covers available online to purchase direct from an insurer, it makes better sense to use an insurance broker who will seek out the cover that’s right for your business and the specific risks you face.

Other cover you may need
Whilst remembering to insure your equipment, materials and a variety of activities, you may also need professional indemnity insurance if you provide advice to other businesses or one of your customers makes a complaint for negligence or financial loss against you.

You will also need employers’ liability insurance if you employ contractors, staff or part time workers.
In some cases, a contractors’ all risk insurance policy will be the most suitable for your requirements; for other businesses a more tailored solution may be needed.

As your broker, we ask the right questions to ensure we secure the correct levels of protection. Most importantly, we will know the claims record for the insurers we work with. This is one area where contractors should use expert help and find specialist cover – the risks of not doing so can be far reaching.

For more information about insuring your contracting business, call us on 0121 321 4600 or email us at info@clarisksolutions.co.uk
Asbestos_insuranceIf you are a consultant, surveyor or contractor working in the asbestos removal industry, you will need a range of insurance to protect your business from the risks involved with handling the material.

If you have been working in the industry for some time, you will be aware of your insurance requirements and of the different policies available to you.

You have probably found that with some policies you must declare the number of contracts you expect to carry out in a year.  On an adjustable policy, this could lead to additional insurance costs at the end of the year if you go over the specified number or value.

CLA (Risk Solutions) contract works insurance
Our specialist asbestos contractors’ insurance is available as a non-declaration fixed policy. You can work on any number of jobs throughout the year and not declare them on your policy, so you know exactly what your insurance premium will be without any surprise costs at the year-end.

Furthermore, if your current insurer is asking you for an additional premium to cover your previous 12 month’s contracts/work, we may be able to cover some of these costs within your new policy when you transfer to us.

We can provide all the other insurance cover you are likely to need such as:
  • Employers liability insurance
  • Public liability insurance
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Legal expenses
Our broking team can source the most suitable and cost-effective insurance products for your business, so you will have all the advice and support you need under one roof to give you the best protection.

The hidden dangers of asbestos
It is a well-known fact that exposure to asbestos is harmful to health. Even low exposure can risk lung damage resulting in cancer or asbestosis, sometimes up to 10 to 20 years later.

Due to the nature of the product, the fibres are only released when the material is disturbed. Asbestos was a popular building product in homes, schools, factories and other premises built before the year 2000. Therefore, contractors working in the building industry are particularly vulnerable when working on properties found to have asbestos used in their construction.

The fibres are invisible to the human eye and, if released into the air, are breathed into the lungs causing long-term damage.

A specialist contractor, licensed or un-licensed (depending on the work involved), can deal with the problems of removing, cleaning up and disposing of asbestos safely.

Asbestos removal contractors, inspectors and analysts offer a professional service to businesses, local authorities and householders to assess and deal with the material when it is discovered. You can find out more on the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association website.

UnderinsuranceSmall and medium sized businesses need commercial insurance to cover their premises, contents, machinery and equipment. If you are sourcing your business insurance online and your only consideration is to minimise the cost of the premium, you may find that your insurance cover leaves you out of pocket if you need to make a claim.

Underinsurance is a common problem. 40% of businesses do not have enough business interruption cover to get them back on their feet (Building Cost Information Service 2012).

Rebuilding costs
The sum insured should take account of the actual rebuilding costs, not the market value. Depending on the type of property, reinstating the building back to a useable position following an incident may cost more than you think once you include materials, labour and professional fees, not to mention loss of earnings during the rebuilding period. In 25% of SME claims reviewed by the FCA, the indemnity period expired before they returned to a normal trading position (FCA thematic review of SME claims TR15/6 2015).

Business interruption insurance
The consequences of an insured incident could result in reduced or complete loss of income from your business for an unknown period. It is therefore important to check how long the indemnity period is on your insurance policy. Two years is likely to be needed for a business to fully recover to its original trading level.
These calculations can be complicated, considering all of the eventualities that could delay getting your business back up and running; for example, delays in planning permissions when rebuilding, long lead times for replacing stock or machinery and replacing customers lost due to downtime.

This is where a broker can offer their expert advice. Depending on your business circumstances they may suggest a declaration-linked, non-average basis of insurance, because it provides an uplift of 33% providing that the sum insured is correct initially and declarations are made when requested by insurers. Alternatively, a policy that is based on the estimated amount of gross-profit or revenue that you expect to earn.

Legal liability claim
Claims against your business can come from a variety of risks and insurance is designed to provide adequate levels of cover of usually £5 to £10 million. The types of cover to consider include:

  • Employers liability
  • Public and products liability
  • Directors and officers liability
  • Cyber threats
  • Environmental liability
  • Professional indemnity

You will have to assess the risk levels within your own business to determine whether the level of cover is going to be enough for your individual circumstances.

Benefits of using an insurance broker
Insurance is complex and it is not easy to assess all of the risks associated with your business and to select the most suitable insurance policy to meet your needs. Get it wrong and you could jeopardise the future of your business.

An insurance broker will be able to offer advice and select the most suitable policy for your business. They can arrange accurate valuations to ensure you have exactly the right amount of cover in place when you need it.

Have you reviewed your business insurance recently? Does it provide adequate cover to secure the future of your business should events take a turn for the worse?

Commercial-business-insuranceBusiness is constantly changing and risks need to be evaluated every year to ensure new threats to your business are covered. Fortunately, insurers are continually introducing new insurance products to meet these future business challenges. If you use an insurance broker, they should be making you aware of these new products and recommending updates to your policy. However, if you rely on simply renewing your existing insurance online without the support and advice of a broker, you may find that over a period of time, your insurance policy is insufficient to cover these new threats.

Your commercial business insurance will cover you for insured risks such as fire and theft, but you may need to check you are covered for more specific threats.

Cybercrime insurance
Statistics published by the government in 2014 stated that an estimated 81% of large companies and 60% of small businesses suffered a data breach. With an average cost of £600,000 to £1.15m for large businesses and £65,000 to £115,000 for smaller ones, cybercrime is no small problem.

Technology now connects millions of people both in business and socially due to the rise of connected devices and access to information. This trend has in turn led to a rise in the number of hackers who have the ability to launch cyber-attacks. These can arise from a number of sources both internally (unhappy staff, lost devices, poor data encryption) and externally (hackers, third party suppliers losing data).

Often clients assume cybercrime is covered under general liability. It’s not.

Liability Insurance
  • Professional indemnity
Providing professional advice as a freelance Consultant can be risky. If you were to accidently provide incorrect advice or omit to pass on relevant information, you could be liable to legal action against you or your business.

Professional Liability insurance cover is designed to meet your individual requirements and will pay for the legal costs of defending an action against you.
  • Directors and officers
Specifically developed for senior personnel and management. Directors and Officers insurance provides protection from legal action that could result in a claim against Director’s homes, possessions and investments.

Having legal expenses and PI cover in place is simply not enough, for example a PI policy does not provide cover against actions pursued by shareholders or employees.

Frequently taken out by larger companies, SME’s are sometimes slow to realise the potential benefits of a Directors and Officers policy. The fact is, a smaller business could be more vulnerable because it may have less stringent corporate governance procedures in place and therefore it is even more important to consider this cover.

Insurance against bad debt
Non-payment of your invoices can be a significant risk for small companies. You can protect your business against this risk by purchasing bad debt protection. Bad debt policies are tailored to each individual company, taking into consideration the type of industry, years in business, equity position, existing assets and liabilities, payment records and revenue.

According to “Company Check” more than half of small businesses have had to write off money owed to them as a bad debt in the past 12 months. If this was applied to the UK as a whole, the Federation of Small Businesses state that this would have affected a staggering 2.8 million companies.

In 2015 more than 7,000 trade credit insurance policies were taken out by small businesses. The Association of British Insurers figures show that £149 million was paid out, the equivalent of £3m per week to support businesses when a customer defaulted on payment.

Future protection
No one knows what insurance cover will be needed in the next few years. Change is happening at a faster rate and technology is advancing every year. One thing is certain, insurers will be developing new products to meet the demands of their customers and the first to hear about these new products will be your insurance broker.

Keep in touch with your broker regularly and they can advise you of the most suitable and affordable insurance for your company to ensure your business is protected into the future.

Directors and Officers Insurance

It all started back in 1929 with the Wall Street crash, when it was felt that many directors involved could face legal action from angry shareholders. Increasingly popular in the USA, Directors and Officers insurance over the past few years has started to emerge in the UK too. It is a common misconception that legal expenses or professional indemnity insurance provide all the cover needed, however this cover is not always adequate.

Directors-and-Officers-InsuranceEven if you have been involved in the running of a limited liability company for years without a problem, your personal assets could still be at risk. FACT: It is not just companies that are at risk, any director, officer or employee carrying out supervisory functions can face unlimited personal liability for actions they take on behalf of the company.

Having legal expenses and PI cover in place is simply not enough, for example a PI policy does not provide cover against actions pursued by shareholders or employees. Frequently taken out by larger companies, SME’s are unfortunately slow to realise the potential benefits of a Directors and Officers policy. The fact is, a smaller business could be more vulnerable because it may have less stringent corporate governance procedures in place and therefore it is even more important for them to consider cover.

A D&O policy will typically cover; claims from shareholders against the management, employment tribunal costs, Health & Safety Executive enquiry costs, legal and defence costs, and damages arising from employment practices and discrimination.

With tougher stances from the regulators the risk of investigation and fines is on the increase. In 2013 fines from the Financial Conduct Authority totalled £474m, a 50% increase on the £312m its predecessor, the FSA handed out in the previous year. A D&O policy may not cover the fine, but behind every investigation there is a significant drain on management time, legal defence expenses and potential brand damage.

Why businesses need Directors and Officers cover
  • Increase in claims - Regardless of the size of the company, they are increasingly seen as targets for criticism.
  • Growing litigious society - Employees, shareholders, investors and creditors know their rights and are far more likely to take action against a company and its directors.
  • World has no boundaries - With an increase in global business, it leaves directors exposed to risks associated with the legislation and regulation in any country in which it operates.
  • Absence of risk management - Often smaller firms can’t afford adequate risk management systems which make them more susceptible to errors.
  • You could lose everything! - D&O claims pose a threat to directors’ personal assets including their homes, possessions and investments.
  • Legal Expense cover is not enough - This should not be seen as an alternative to D&O as limits tend to be lower and provide defence costs only rather than damages as well.
  • Family Fallouts - Smaller firms may be in family ownership and therefore disputes can lead to shareholder rifts and greater exposure to litigation claims amongst relatives.
  • Regulators are getting tougher - The risk of investigations are increasing and so are the associated fines. Failing to have D&O cover could be a costly mistake.
High net worth insurance provides premier insurance cover for all of your possessions, members of your family and can also provide cover when any of you travel abroad.

We understand that as a high net worth household you will need an insurance policy with the ability not only to protect your individual requirements, but also gives you a whole raft of additional services:
  • Valuation service
  • Security advice
  • GP helpline
  • Home sitting service
  • Jewellery repair and replacement service
  • Specialist vehicle repairers
  • Premium courtesy cars
  • Vehicle breakdown and recovery
  • Personal injury physiotherapy cover
  • Travel advice
Antique-vaseCLA are an experienced high net worth insurance brokers with the ability to tailor exactly the right amount of cover for your needs. This can include items you take with you when you travel abroad, possessions belonging to grandparents while they are in a nursing home and items belonging to your children while studying away from home.

High value home insurance
Valuation of high value properties should be undertaken by specialists to ensure adequate cover is maintained for the full re-building cost based on age and status of your home. We can arrange for experienced valuers to assess your property so that any claims can be handled quickly and for the exact amount they are worth.

High value contents insurance
Antiques, collectibles or the latest gadgets can all be individually valued for the right amount to ensure you are fully covered. As your broker, we can arrange independent valuations for all of your possessions including works of art and jewellery.

We can even arrange for details of specific items of jewellery to be recorded so that repairs or a replica can be made to replace the lost or damaged item.

Quality_carsVehicle insurance
High value cars require a higher level of support than a standard motor insurance policy can provide. Should you find yourself off the road for any reason, you want to be confident that you will receive the full replacement value of your car or be able to arrange for specialist repairs to be undertaken. You would also expect a similar premium level of courtesy car while yours is off the road.

Travel insurance
Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, you can add travel insurance to your home insurance cover. The policy will cover any member of your family and domestic staff. No need for separate policies, everyone will be covered under the one policy for the entire year.

Complete peace of mind
If you need additional cover for marine craft or any other specific items, call us to arrange a meeting with one of our Account Managers to discuss your individual requirements.

Providing professional advice as a freelance consultant can be costly if you were to accidently provide incorrect advice or omit to pass on relevant information. Working for yourself is stressful enough without the added worry of potentially being liable for damage claims. Professional liability insurance cover has been designed with you in mind and can be tailored to meet your individual requirements.

The following story is typical of the risks that small businesses have to deal with:

Susan Jones works as a freelance training consultant contracted to a local university providing training courses to students on a variety of marketing techniques. Some of the courses cover the works of many of the famous Masters in marketing theory.

In preparation for the courses Susan put together a suitable programme approved by the university using widely available material gleaned from the internet and various publications and books. The university approved the course and Susan duly went on to produce material that would be given to the students during the course.

The course material was fairly generalist and contained references to the books and websites of the various experts in order to allow the students to follow up on the information should they wish to. There was no suggestion that the course was intended to teach any of the techniques, but was instead aimed at providing the students with the knowledge of what was available and where to find it.

Prof_IndemnityOne of the students of the course was particularly interested in one of the marketing Masters and decided to book a course with him. The student gave the Master a copy of the notes that he had been given by Susan. The Master decided to instruct solicitors to write to Susan alleging breach of copyright and seeking damages of £100,000.

Luckily for Susan she had adequate professional indemnity insurance which covered the costs and expenses of defending the claim. Following a formal apology from Susan the claim for damages was dropped.

Not having Professional Indemnity insurance in place could have been a costly mistake for Susan.

The view that Professional Indemnity insurance is simply something forced on you, could leave hundreds of individuals and firms complacent about the level of cover required with disastrous consequences. Professional Indemnity insurance protects your reputation, your business and often your livelihood. Yet industry insiders are shocked how little attention it receives.

Professional_IndemnityThis is a highly litigious age. Did you know that some estimates suggest that the number of people named in lawsuits against social media giant Facebook, is almost the same as the number of people using Facebook?  You are wide open to being sued if you are in a huge range of sectors of trade and industry - consultants, contractors, trainers, professional service companies, estate agents, and anyone else who gives advice or provides an area of expertise. One wrong move and you could be facing claims of negligence, breach of duty, errors or omissions. And if the claimant can prove loss of income, it can put you out of business.

Yet the root cause of the Professional Indemnity insurance misconceptions and under-insurance appears to be quite simply a lack of information.  That’s where an independent local broker like CLA comes in. With specific information about you and your firm we can explain what cover you need and what you need to pay. Crucially, we can also advise on what the costs would be if you don’t protect your professional reputation. We can explain how your cover and the limits within it will protect you against breaches of legislation and actions from other firms and individuals.  We can also talk you through how conscientious and prompt we will be in progressing claims, to help ensure your policy pays out to rectify damage and settle any legal fees and other costs involved. Professional Indemnity insurance can even cover your legal fees in defending false claims.

Not going to happen to you? Think again. Headlines about lawsuits for financial corruption and mismanagement are increasingly common.  But that attack on your professional reputation can come from anywhere. An advertising firm missed a mail shot deadline, as the printer it used went bankrupt. It led to a a claim for  £250,000 for loss of business. An estate agents accused of underselling a property had to pay out £200,000. An auctioneers sued for unwittingly selling stolen paintings was forced to part with £20,000. A travel agent who forgot to mention travel insurance had to pay out £10,000 when their client fell ill on holiday.

So if you don’t want to see years of hard work wasted by one slip-up, talk to us about Professional Indemnity.  We can negotiate great deals on premiums, at the same time as being thorough in the cover we recommend. We can make sure you are not over-paying,  and that levels of compensation in the policy are appropriate to your specific trade sector. Then, if there ever is a action against you, we will step in to personally manage the process of making a claim on your Professional Indemnity insurance.

Data_protectionHow many UK SMEs will be “caught with their IT pants down” when new EU regulation on data protection arrives next year?

According to one recent survey, only 10% of businesses said that they understood the changes that they needed to make in order to be compliant with the new regulations. Many others complain that the European Commission’s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation will be hard to implement.

Yet “on paper” it looks straight forward. The regulations allow British citizens the right to have their data forgotten. This means unless there is a compelling reason to keep data, it has to be erased.  The regulations also make it easier for people to access their own data.

Even though the regulations may take up to two years to become legislation, non-compliance could still lead to hefty fines. Staff training and improved IT systems are needed in preparation, alongside clear accountability. Who is responsible for data in your business? What procedures do you have in place for data breaches?

It would also be an excellent time to work with your local independent insurance brokers to ensure that your have insurance in place to cover all aspects of data storage, use and control. And just to be sure, professional indemnity, insurance against legal costs and other “belt and braces” policies should be considered, to protect you if your business does fall foul of legislation.

We can look at the full picture with you, providing national insights, conducting sector wide research, but also providing in-depth analysis of your individual business risks and insurance needs.

ISS_4780_02904Company directors and officers are coming under increasing scrutiny from shareholders, employees and other regulatory bodies such as HMRC and HSE.

While carrying out everyday duties in your role as a Director and/or Officer in your company, it is easy to forget that some of the decisions you make could leave you exposed to claims, investigations and criminal prosecutions.

Unlike a Company’s liability which is limited, Directors and Officers liability is unlimited and your personal assets are at risk.  If you have to defend a court case or settle a claim out of your own pocket, the high costs could leave you bankrupt.

In some circumstances, the company will cover the loss; however this could have serious consequences for the financial viability of the company. Who will compensate the company?

Why do you need D&O Insurance?
Mistakes happen and in a world where compensation claims are much more prevalent, it makes sense to insure company directors and officers from claims bought personally against them.

Company Directors can also be held responsible for the actions of their employees that lead to investigations or prosecutions, making it even more difficult to manage the risks.

Claims can come from a variety of sources; employees, standards agencies (for example Health and Safety Executive), other authorities, shareholders and clients.

Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance will provide financial cover for defence costs, investigations and legal expenses.

Directors & Officers Extensions
Cover includes a wide range of extensions:
  • Civil Fines and Penalties
  • Compensation for Court Attendance
  • Corporate Manslaughter / Homicide Act 2007
  • Crisis & Regulatory Event
  • Deprivation of Assets
  • Emergency Costs and Expenses
  • Investigation Defence Costs
  • Management Buy-Outs
  • Mental Anguish or Emotional Distress
  • Outside Directorship / Entities
  • Personal Liability for Unpaid Taxes following
  • Insolvency
  • Pollution
  • Retired and Former Directors
  • Shareholder Action deriving from Pollution
  • Shareholder Claim Cover

Typical examples:
  • A claim against a Director who inadvertently underinsured the office premises. Following a fire, the insurance paid out on the claim was not sufficient to rebuild the offices. The other Directors sued the Director responsible. Luckily they had taken out Directors and Officers insurance that recovered the shortfall needed to rebuild the offices.
  • A director of a company, which imported and distributed wine to off-licences, was disqualified for 12 years and ordered to pay a sum in excess of £1 million in connection with wrongful trading offences. Although acquitted on criminal charges, the director faced a long civil case brought by the liquidator. The finance director of the same board was required to attend the court tribunal on several occasions to testify as a witness to the court. The insurance policy provided compensation to the finance director for each day he attended court.

Cover protects you from;
  1. wrongful acts,
  2. breaches of duty or trust,
  3. neglect,
  4. error,
  5. misstatement,
  6. misleading statements,
  7. omission,
  8. negligent act,
  9. or any other act wrongfully committed.

Additional benefits include:
  • Legal assistance
  • Health and Safety
  • Tax advice
  • Stress counselling

Call us for more information about Directors and Officers insurance.