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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.
22nd August 2018

Construction insurance

Construction_Insurance_PolicyThe construction industry covers a broad spectrum of building projects and a wide variety of trades and tradesmen employed or contracted to work on them.

If you are involved in the construction sector, it is vital that your insurance cover gives you the protection you need, when you need it. The various types of insurance needed can be confusing, especially if you are hiring subcontractors on your project.

This is a list of some of the construction insurance cover available:
  • Professional indemnity
  • Public liability
  • Product liability
  • Employer liability
  • Contractors all risk
  • Structural warranty, latent defects, bond insurance and guarantees
  • Plant, machinery and tools
  • Business insurance for construction
  • Business interruption insurance
  • Legal expenses
These policies provide cover for companies, professionals and tradesmen involved in the construction sector such as architects, property developers, house builders and building products manufacturers.

Depending on your involvement and exposure to risk you can access all the cover you need; however, you may need help from expert advisers to ensure you are adequately covered for your particular business and project.

This is where construction insurance brokers can help. They can find the most suitable cover from a wide range of policies available from construction insurance companies, selecting the right one at the best price. For example, a tradesman working in the construction sector will need contractors all risk insurance, public liability insurance and plant, machinery and tools insurance. You may also want to consider personal accident insurance and possibly tailored insurance if your work involves specialist tasks or certain locations that are normally excluded from standard policies such as nuclear power stations. Employers’ Liability insurance is a legal requirement of any business employing staff, temporary workers or subcontractors.

Subcontractors
If you hire subcontractors, they fall into two categories; labour only subcontractors and bona fide subcontractors.

Labour only subcontractors
They will work under your supervision and you will be responsible for paying them and providing the tools they need for the job. These contractors will be covered under your Employers’ liability insurance.

Bona fide subcontractors
They will work under their own terms and hours to get a specified job done and will provide their own tools and be responsible for taking out their own Employers’ liability insurance.

If you are unsure of your legal responsibilities and which type of construction insurance cover you need, talk to one of our advisers on 0121 321 4600.
If you or your business is found to be in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to identify the breach and help you put things right. This includes investigating and taking enforcement action and is called ‘Fee For Intervention’ (FFI).

HSE_Intervention_FeeIf it transpires that you have not broken the law, then you won’t pay anything. Dutyholders who comply with the law, or where there is no material breach, will not be charged FFI for any work that HSE does with them.

FFI applies to dutyholders where the HSE is the enforcing authority. This will include:
employers
  • self-employed who put others at risk
  • public and limited companies
  • general, limited and limited liability partnerships
  • Crown and public bodies
What the law says
The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2016, link to external website say that a fee is payable to HSE if:
  • a person is contravening or has contravened health and safety laws; and
  • an inspector is of the opinion that the person is or has done so, and notifies the person in writing of that opinion.
What is a material breach?
A material breach is something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken to deal with the material breach. If the inspector gives you a notification of contravention (NoC) after their visit, you’ll have to pay a fee.
The NoC must include:
  • the law that the inspector considers has been broken
  • the reason(s) for their opinion
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE
Where an inspector simply gives you advice, either verbal or written, you won’t have to pay anything for this advice.

How much it costs
It currently costs £129 an hour. The fee will include the costs covering the time of the entire original visit. The total amount recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right (including associated office work), multiplied by the hourly rate.
Your fee may include the inspector’s time:
  • at your business or workplace
  • preparing reports
  • getting specialist advice
  • talking to you after the visit
  • talking to your workers
The fee can vary depending on:
  • how long the original visit was
  • the time the inspector spent helping you put things right
  • the time it took the inspector to investigate your case
  • any time we spend on taking action against you
Find out more
The Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) document (also available in Welsh) sets out the general principles and approach of the scheme. It includes examples of material breaches but does not cover every scenario where FFI might apply.

Inspectors will apply this guidance and their enforcement decisions will be based on the principles of HSE’s enforcement decision-making frameworks – the Enforcement Management Model (EMM) and the Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS).

The Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) document (also available in Welsh) sets out the general principles and approach of the scheme. It includes examples of material breaches but does not cover every scenario where FFI might apply.

Some Management Liability or Directors and Officers insurance products provide cover to protect against FFI.

If you would like to discuss your own Management Liability Insurance or D&O policy then please contact us on 0121 321 4600 or send an email to info@clarisksolutions.co.uk
Despite feeling the strain from the uncertainty caused by Brexit, the UK construction industry is continuing to grow. However, with the impact of Brexit, we could see a speed towards offsite construction and robotics. We look at how this is this going to affect the insurance requirements of companies in this sector.

With uncertainty arising as a result of Brexit and a shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry, firms have begun to innovate, turning towards technological advances such as offsite construction and the use of drones onsite. CLA are well aware that with ever-changing and developing technology in this sector, the associated risks will also evolve alongside these advances. As construction industry insurance specialists, we are well placed to advise our clients on the implications this new technology will have on their insurance requirements.

Setting aside these new evolving risks, the construction industry continues to operate within high-risk environments. The risks are myriad: working onsite, working at height, working in different environments each day, working under different supervision and direction and injury can be easy to come about. In 2016 3% of workers sustained a work-related injury which contributed to 2.2 million days off that year (Health and Safety Executive report).

Furthermore, those in the industry are often working on third-party sites and in premises where they are exposed to third-parties and their property. Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement and most businesses will be aware of this, but they might not fully understand their potential exposure from injuring a third party or damaging their property when working on a private dwelling house or a shop. This is particularly common for smaller businesses.

The other area of risk, highlighted in our previous article, is the fact that your insurance will not cover the cost of an HSE investigation or subsequent fine. www.clarisksolutions.co.uk/2017/12/05/hauliers-and-construction-companies-ignore-health-and-safety-risks-at-their-peril

It’s a niche and complex area. You need specialist underwriters and specialist risk managers that are up to date with the industry and understand the pace and speed of change.

Drone_over_building_siteRobotics
Machine rather than man will be constructing the buildings of tomorrow, with robots taking on the manual tasks, driverless bulldozers and diggers supporting them and drones flying overhead to monitor progress and carry out site inspections.

It may sound a bit sci-fi but these forms of technology are already being used on many building sites. For instance, in its Global Construction Survey 2016, 42% of respondents said they used drones to monitor construction status.

Whilst the commercial benefits of drones are clear, there are still concerns around mid-air collisions or loss of control, plus the potential for refusal of third party claims involving drones operated by, or on behalf of an insured business. *

Adoption of these technologies in the construction sector has a number of advantages. As well as helping to address the skills shortage by removing the risk of human error, it will also reduce the number of worksite accidents.

Source: KPMG, Global Construction Survey 2016, Building a technology advantage 1

* CLA can provide drone insurance as part of our Aviation and Aerospace product suite.

We can also provide the following support for the construction industry to help keep you fully covered during this period of growth:
  • One-call access to expert advice: Delivered by specialist construction risk control surveyors and our provider’s in-house inspection engineers team.
  • Flexibility: Our experts in London, Manchester or Birmingham can offer 24 separate covers under one module policy.
  • Specialist construction claims service: Expert engineering, property and casualty claims teams and expert construction loss adjusters will oversee construction claims.
  • Legal services: Offering more ways to manage costs through legal risk and compliance solutions, with a specific focus on HSE legislation.
At a glance
  • Fires involving hot works often spread rapidly and cause significant property damage.
  • Our provider’s claims experience shows many hot works fires could have caused much less damage – or been avoided altogether – if the hot work permit system had been adhered to.
  • We discuss three major fires involving hot works, and identify lessons organisations can learn from them.
Hot-works-risksFires involving hot works may be rare, but when they occur, the damage to property is often substantial. Sparks can quickly spread to neighbouring buildings and cause fires that are hard to bring under control.

Investigations into the causes of hot work fires often find they could have been avoided if proper safety procedures had been observed.

Examples of three recent incidents:

Case study 1
This fire occurred during the school summer holidays. Plastic tarpaulin caught light as a gas torch was being used, and the fire spread rapidly, destroying much of the school. Subsequent investigations identified a number of failings that meant the risk of a fire occurring had not been adequately addressed.

The biggest issue in this incident was that there was no hot work permit in place to ensure the works were being managed safely.

In addition to that, materials were being stored on the roof where the works were taking place and there was no fire extinguisher on site.

The absence of a fire extinguisher may have put the contractor in breach of their Hot Works Warranty, as their insurer refused to indemnify them following the loss.

Case study 2
Hot work permits specify that for torch-applied roofing, a fire watch must remain in place for at least an hour after work has finished for the day, to ensure all sparks and embers in the site area have been extinguished.

In this incident, the contractor left the site before the one-hour fire watch period had elapsed, and it was during this time that a fire took hold. Had the contractor stayed on site, the damage could have been minimised considerably.

Although there was a hot work permit in place on this occasion, it was the contractor’s permit, and nobody from the school had oversight of it.

It may also have been possible for cold works to have been used instead, but no explanation was given as to why this option was not chosen.

Case study 3
This fire occurred at a particularly sensitive time – as students were returning to school to collect their GCSE results.

Combustible materials caught light as maintenance work was taking place on the roof of a two-storey building that housed a library and IT facilities. Although the fire was spotted quickly, it spread so rapidly that the whole of the building was destroyed.

Although there was a hot work permit in place, managed by the contractor, it didn’t achieve a great deal and appeared to be more of a box-ticking exercise.

One of the problems identified was that it was a generic permit for a larger programme of works taking place at the school; the permit wasn’t specifically created to manage the risks associated with hot works.

In addition, there was no proper oversight of the permit. It was kept in the contractor’s cabin and the only person who saw it was the individual who had issued it.

Learning lessons from hot works fires
Losses from fires involving hot works can sometimes run into millions of pounds. Indeed, in one recent claim, the loss was estimated at nearly £20m. Careful management of the associated risks is therefore essential.

One of our provider’s loss adjusters, has conducted a review into the causes of hot works fires, which found evidence of:
  • Inadequate or cursory work area inspections.
  • A failure to properly brief those carrying out hot work on the nature of the works.
  • Poor project oversight, including the way that subcontractors are managed.
Following its review, our provider’s recommended that individuals responsible for authorising hot works ensure that:
  • Less hazardous work methods have been considered.
  • Project specific work and method statements have been compiled.
  • Worker qualifications have been checked.
  • A work area risk assessment has been conducted.
  • Those carrying out the work have signed an authorisation to work as per the agreed method.
  • Periodic inspections are carried out.
  • A final check on the works area is made at the end of each working day.
For more information on managing hot works and other fire risks, please contact us.
You may have heard about these changes in the news recently, following an announcement from The Ministry of Justice.

Ogden-Discount-TablesThe Ogden tables are used by courts to make it easier to calculate future losses in personal injury and fatal accident cases.

The tables provide a set of discount rates that make sure a severely injured person has the necessary financial security to provide for their care and loss of earnings. The discount rate is used to calculate the amount of compensation they receive to reflect the return they will earn when that money is invested.

It was announced recently, by the Lord Chancellor, that the Ogden discount rate will be reduced from 2.5% to -0.75% from 20 March 2017.

The change has been made to reflect the fall in indexed-linked gilts which are used in the calculation. However, the insurance industry believes that the system used to calculate the discount rate is flawed and does not take into account the current investment environment and the financial choices available for claimants.

The outcome of this reduction will mean that those suffering from serious injuries will receive significantly higher compensation payments than before.

The increase will affect claims costs for all types of for bodily injury in the following sectors:
  • Private and Commercial Motor
  • Motor Trade
  • Casualty (Employers Liability, Other Liability and Contractors Liability)
  • SMEs
Reducing this rate will cost the insurance industry millions of pounds and the news has already caused share prices fall. As a result, it is expected that customers will see an increase in their premiums in the future.
Contractors_insuranceThe list of the ways a Contractor can get hurt “on the job” makes grim reading, but an industry that relies heavily on its specialist equipment and skills can also find itself under the spotlight for causing injury and death to customers!
 
Any contractor who takes on valuable commercial work can also find themselves fighting claims for damage, injury and loss of income at their client’s premises, and these claims can be disastrous. You are also responsible for the safety and workmanship of all staff or subcontractors you employ, and the tangle of legislation you face on this can be overwhelming. Breaches can put you out of business without the right insurance cover.
 
It is not just an obvious mistakes that can trip you up in your trade; it’s failing to do something you should have done, failure of the equipment you supply; or  that the work you do simply falls short of your customers’ expectations. We are all human and it could happen to anyone. Finding the right insurance policy for your trade can be a time consuming and complicated job, and industry pundits are concerned that some contractors are left confused, or are bewitched by “cheap” quotes…both of which can lead to disastrous gaps in insurance cover.
 
Our insurance market knowledge and contacts ensure we can seek out the best possible premiums. We help contractors to find the right policy for them, with the right levels of cover, using both industry and local knowledge. In other words, if you make a mistake, or unwittingly neglectful when you are on a job, you are protected when a customer seeks compensation. This includes the costs of rectifying the problem, but also any investigations, legal fees, court costs and monetary compensation of the problem goes that far.
 
Contractors of all kind are legally obliged to have this insurance – all trades and occupations, from the self-employed to large firms. Many commercial clients will demand certain levels of cover. Don’t be fooled in to thinking that “one size fits all”. Online or direct insurance “packages” may leave you with serious gaps.
 
Contractors Liability insurance has to be specific to you and your trade in order for it to provide adequate protection , and we can take the time to get to know your business before we recommend a policy and levels of cover. Then, if a claim does have to be made, we can also progress the claim to a resolution on your behalf. No faceless call centres or long drawn out haggling on the telephone. It is a personal service from someone who has a working relationship with you. We can be with you quickly with advice and support to deal with a claim.
 
This way, we can get the matter dealt with as quickly as possible, with minimum disruption to your business.
 
4th November 2014

Insurance for Tradespeople

Tradesman_with_drillThe Government may be making it easier for people to progress property extensions, and there is a groundswell of optimism that home and business owners are putting remodelling and improvements back on the agenda, but caution is still king in this sector.

There is still huge pressure to ensure every penny is spent wisely. Which is leading many installers, contractors and tradespeople to consider “cut price” insurance: a decision which could one day put them out of business. In your business, it only takes one mistake to find yourself breaching complicated legislation, with an unhappy customer to contend with, or worse still an injury or death to deal with. So called “cheap” policies online or direct may seem to have it all covered, but sadly the gaps they leave will only become apparent when you have to make a claim.

Just as a tradesmen’s nightmare is cleaning up after an amateur has meddled with gas or electric supply, plumbing, heating or ventilation, insurance is something that needs a professional eye in order to be sure that it actually works as it should. It is not just about leaving your business under insured – or not insured at all.  If you buy insurance without proper advice, you could be wasting money by paying for cover that you don’t even need.

Local independent insurance brokers like us can advise you on the right policies, with the right levels and limits. We can also use our industry knowledge to find the most competitive premiums. For builders, plumbers, electricians, joiners, heating engineers – tradespeople and contractors of all types – insurance claims could be necessary for a wide range of reasons. That’s why an industry specific policy, adjusted to meet your particular requirements, make sense.

It could be your tools and equipment are lost, stolen or damaged. You may need to be back mobile again within hours if your vehicle is stolen or damaged in some way. If something happens to interfere with your ability to carry out your trade, how will your business survive? Have you got the right cover for plant and machinery you hire in?

Health and Safety is a huge minefield for installers, contractors and other tradespeople. But each sector has different risks, and you have to be sure all the perils of your job are covered.

A successful claim against you by an injured customer could be disastrous and many of your corporate customers may well demand certain levels of insurance cover in order to even consider your tender.  So with our help all of these issues can be explored, including any local and regional factors that may affect your policies.

It all helps ensure claims can be settled speedily, but that’s also when our services can be invaluable.  We are local and accessible and will manage the claims process on your behalf, but you also benefit from our wider industry knowledge and contacts which means you don’t have to face long drawn out haggling with faceless call centres.
 
21st November 2012

10,000 Ladders and Rising

Since its launch, the Ladder Exchange has been responsible for removing over 10,000 broken, bent or damaged ladders from the workplace with the message ‘Don’t let a dodgy ladder shatter your life’.  Now in its sixth consecutive year, the Ladder Exchange, which begins on 1 September and runs until 30 November 2012, provides all businesses with the opportunity to change broken, bent or damaged ladders for safe, new ones at a discounted price.
 
The Exchange also contributes to raising awareness and understanding of how to use ladders and stepladders safely.  Under the scheme, suspect ladders can be exchanged, at a discount, at participating partners.
 
Despite a steady decline, falls from height remain the most common kind of workplace fatality.
 
In 2010/11, a total of 38 workers died and 4,327 employees suffered a major injury as a result of a fall from height in the workplace, with a further 10,232 employees suffering an ‘over 3 day’ injury.  Many of these incidents could have been avoided by people with the right training using the correct equipment that had been properly inspected and maintained.
 
The Ladder Exchange is a great example of how everyone in the health and safety system can share responsibility and work together towards a common goal; namely, reducing falls from height.
 
For information about our risk management insurance please call 0121 321 4600.