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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.