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Skilled trades cover a wide range of professions and include many self-employed jobs. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of self-employed increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, now representing 15.1% of the labour force.

Trade sectors include:
  • Construction and building (bricklayers, roofers, plumbers)
  • Metal and electrical (Vehicle technician, aircraft engineer, welders, CNC machinists)
  • Agriculture (Farmers, gardeners, groundsmen)
  • Textile/printing and other skilled trades (Tailors, butchers, bakers, chefs).
Each of these sectors have their own range of risks when it comes to insurance and it is important to tailor policies to meet each individual sector’s requirement.

This is where an Insurance Broker can help and advise you on risks you may not have even thought about or claims trends that are on the rise. For example:
 

1. Van insurance for trades

Electricial taking tools from vanTheft of tools or equipment from vehicles has risen dramatically over the last few years. Some insurance providers impose conditions or exclusions in their insurance policies. Many insurers are now limiting their tool cover to working hours only and will not cover tools left in vehicles overnight. Insurers will ask you for a value of the tools you want to insure and will apply an excess on any claim.
You may be able to take precautions to protect your vehicle contents from theft and reduce your insurance premium by installing an alarm, immobiliser or tracker. However, if there are times when tools have to be left overnight, you could increase security by using additional door locks or tool vault boxes. Modern CCTV cameras can also act as a deterrent. This is when the advice of a broker is invaluable to help you get the most suitable cover for your particular business risks.
 

2. Farming insurance

Theft of farm machinery has been on the increase over recent years. Farmers insurance policies often cover a range of services that are needed to cover the entire farming operation including:
  • Buildings
  • Livestock
  • Accident
  • Vehicles
  • Diseases such as foot and mouth
  • Money
  • Deterioration of stock.
Farming is undergoing constant change, never more so than now, with farmers being forced to diversify, tackle livestock diseases, and cope with flood risk. An insurance broker can offer advice on insurance cover required if you are considering a new venture or change to use of your land.


2. Liability insurance

Most trades have to deal with the general public and in our increasingly claim aware culture and the growth of no win no fee lawyers, individuals and businesses cannot afford to overlook this insurance cover:
  • Employers liability insurance is a legal requirement if you own premises or employ staff.
  • Public liability insurance will cover you if a client, customer or member of the public makes a claim against your business for injury (or death), medical fees or damage to their property or possessions.
  • Product liability insurance provides cover for any products that you supply or fit that are faulty or defective and result in a claim for damages.
  • Professional indemnity insurance is available for consultants and professionals providing advice to their clients. Claims for incorrect advice or mistakes are covered together with legal costs for defending you case.
Consulting an insurance broker such as CLA to provide advice will ensure you have the right amount of cover for your individual circumstances. Call one of our team on 0121 321 4600.
HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has had to bear its fair share of cuts since 2009/10 and has seen a 46% reduction in central Government funding.

Though there have been serious cuts to HSE by the Government over the last few years resulting in a drop in enforcement activity, individual fines are increasing. The average fine per conviction now stands at £149,661.

The manufacturing sector was again the most heavily fined contributing nearly 40% to the total fines imposed.  Whilst that figure was a 15% reduction on the previous year, the fine per conviction went up by 8% to £210,058.  

The construction sector followed with total fines of £15.7m (down 12%) but with an increased fine per conviction of £107,794 (up 14%).

Utility supply was the sector with the highest average fine per conviction (standing at £605,000).

Transportation and storage followed at £243,731, the latter industry having a 100% conviction rate.

Health-and-safety-insuranceIndustries with statistically significantly higher injury rates include:
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • construction
  • public administration/defence
  • wholesale/retail; repair of motor vehicles
  • accommodation/food service activities
  • manufacturing.

Managing health and safety

Your employers’ liability insurance will protect you if one of your employees is injured or becomes ill as a result of a workplace incident and makes a claim for compensation from you. However, if you are subsequently found to have breached health and safety legislation, any fines and other expenses cannot be claimed under your employers’ liability insurance policy.

The implications of an investigation can have serious consequences on the financial viability of a business and its officers. Fines and investigation expenses can lead to insolvency for the company and in the worst cases imprisonment for its Directors.
 

Directors and Officers insurance

You may be able to make a claim on your insurance policy if you have Directors and Officers insurance. This covers a variety of claims; for more information visit our webpage insurance/liability/directors-and-officers or call 0121 321 4600 to discuss in more detail.

However, prevention is always better than trying to close the barn door after the horse has bolted and implementing an effective health and safety plan and management process will help to reduce accidents and minimise the risk of an investigation in the first place.
 

Health and Safety Assist

At CLA we like to offer a holistic solution to our clients’ insurance needs. As an insurance broker, we can advise you on the best insurance policy to provide cover for your individual business. We have also teamed up with partners who can provide additional services to manage and mitigate your risks.

One of our partners specialises in providing support by way of an online safety management hub to help you to simplify and manage your health and safety responsibilities all in one place.

To find out what the service includes and how the portal works, visit our webpage health-and-safety-assist
Or call one of our team to find out what you can do to reduce your exposure to health and safety risks and help to reduce your insurance premiums at the same time.
With effect from 5th August 2019, the Ogden discount rate changed from -0.75% to -0.25%.

Why will this lead to higher premiums? To understand this, you will need a bit of back-history.
 

What is the Ogden discount rate and how does it work?

Road-accident-fire-engin-and-ambulanceNamed after Sir Michael Ogden QC, who was the chairman of the working party that established the Ogden tables.

They are used to adjust the compensation a claimant will receive after sustaining a life-changing insured injury.

There are a variety of tables that can be used to calculate the discount rate such as; how to calculate life expectancy, a multiplier for lifetime loss, the value of a single loss in the future and a multiplier for loss over a period.

For example, if you are involved in a life-changing accident that you are covered for under your insurance policy, you will be entitled to compensation to cover hospital treatment, care and loss of earnings.

This figure is then reduced by the discount rate to allow for the likely income achieved after investing the lump sum. Using the tables, a figure can be established to show how much a compensation lump sum is adjusted after calculating the expected return on investment. The higher the Ogden discount rate, the lower the payout from insurers.

The rate was set at 2.5% and had remained at that rate since 2001. Then in 2017 the rate was reviewed and changed to -0.75%. The large decrease was justified because of the lower yields achieved on investments during the period. This resulted in increases in insurance premiums for customers buying insurance but a better outcome for claimants who would not have to take risks with their invested compensation funds.
 

Why will this affect my insurance premiums?

Many insurance providers believe that even at the new level of -0.25%, claimants are being over-compensated and think a further review will be necessary, adding more turmoil to the market. The below 0% figure continues to assume a low-risk investment return.

Most insurance providers were expecting the new rate to be set between 0 and 1% and made assessments based on this figure. Though under the new rate, they will have to pay out less to claimants, they are warning that this could still lead to higher insurance premiums in future because keeping the rate below 0% maintains high claims settlements.
 

Winners and losers

It looks like we will all be paying more for our motor and liability insurance in future with premiums already rising since the announcement was made.

However, personal injury lawyers have welcomed the restraint in increasing the Ogden rates stating that claimants who have suffered life-changing injuries will be able to maintain a steady income from their lump sum from low-risk investments and avoid the risk of short term swings and losses from riskier investments.

CLA Risk Solutions, with access to a range of insurance providers, will be able to research the market to find you the most cost-effective insurance policy for your needs. As your local insurance broker based in Sutton Coldfield and Stafford, we cover the whole of the West Midlands and can offer a range of business, personal and liability insurance.

Call 0121 320 4600 to discuss your requirements.
If you are an employer, a self-employed person or are in control of your workplace premises, you are required by law to report certain workplace incidents. These include occupational diseases, specified dangerous occurrences (near misses) and acts of non-consensual violence to people at work.

Man-with-sling-filling-out-health-and-safety-formWhat is RIDDOR
The initials RIDDOR stand for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Accidents must be reported online using the relevant form for the type of incident you are reporting. For fatal accidents or accidents resulting is specified injuries to workers only, you can call 0345 300 9923.

A report form must be sent within 10 days of the accident occurring or if the accident results in an employee being unable to work for 7 days or more, within 15 days of the incident.

Occupational diseases such as exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or biological agents must be notified to HSE (Health and Safety Executive) as soon as a diagnosis is made.

It is a criminal offence if the person responsible for reporting these accidents fails to notify HSE. If found guilty they could face an unlimited fine.

There have been some recent changes to the HSE suite of RIDDOR forms. The main change affecting reporters is that a copy of the form will no longer be automatically sent back to the notifier; they will have to download a PDF copy themselves. To maintain a record of what was reported, users must remember to download the PDF, otherwise they will not have a record of what they reported.

Insurance cover and premiums
Your insurance policies will cover you for:
  • Accidents involving vehicles.
  • Third-party accidents (usually) included on your building’s insurance.
  • Employers liability insurance for injuries and ill health to your employees whilst at work. This is compulsory.
If you have a poor health and safety record and are making multiple claims against your insurance policies, this will lead to an increase in premiums. Some providers may even refuse to offer insurance cover.

However, a good management system with documented training records and risk assessments will help reduce insurance premiums by demonstrating your commitment to health and safety and minimising the risks to your employees.

CLA (Risk Solutions) has teamed up with Safety2Business who have developed an online portal “Health and Safety Assist” to provide you with a raft of resources to help you manage your safety documentation.

With the knowledge that your business is using this platform to manage your health and safety risks and reduce the cause of accidents, CLA can source the most competitive quote for your insurance renewal.

For a complete breakdown of what the portal can offer visit the Health and Safety Assist page on our website www.clarisksolutions.co.uk/health-and-safety-assist

Areas that may not be covered by insurance
Your employers liability insurance will cover injury as a result of an accident or illness to your employees; however, there are some costs related to an incident that may not be covered:
  • Sick pay.
  • Replacement labour costs.
  • Delays to production.
  • Fines.
  • Loss of business.
  • Insurance investigation costs.
  • Legal costs.
There is additional insurance that you can take out to cover some of the above if you believe these risks could cause long term damage your business. For more information call 0121 321 4600 and speak to one of our team.
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