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Health_and_SafetyTwo recent cases of accidents in the workplace resulting in court cases being brought against companies and directors by the Health and Safety Executive highlights the increased risks to employees in these sectors.

The cases below are just two examples of the many court cases and fines imposed on companies in breach of health and safety regulations.

The first case involved an HGV driver who suffered fatal injuries while coupling the HGV tractor unit to a trailer.

**Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jessica Churchyard said “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, and was caused in part by the failure of his employer to implement and monitor safe systems of work to prevent vehicle runaways.
“This death could have easily been prevented if his employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and followed the industry guidance.”


The second case resulted in the amputation of a demolition worker’s left arm and right hand.

**HSE inspector Rohan Lye said after the hearing: “If the company and its director had taken basic steps to decide how to do this routine task, and what control measures to use, they could have prevented this devastating incident resulting in an employee suffering life-changing injuries.”

In the first case involving the HGV driver, the company was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,268.80.

In the second case, the company was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,523.04. In addition, the company director was sentenced to ten months imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Insured risk
In both cases the companies would have had to pick up the fines. Your Employers’ Liability insurance policy will generally (depending on your policy wording) cover you for:
  • Employee compensation
  • Employee and criminal proceedings defence costs
  • Court attendance compensation
Even if you have Directors and Officers insurance as well, neither will cover the cost of an HSE investigation or resulting fines or time in prison.

How to minimise your risk of prosecution
As the two quotes above from HSE inspectors imply, both incidents could have been prevented if the employer had implemented effective risk management and approved codes of practice.

To protect your business, you will need to manage your safety documentation, training records and risk assessments etc. Every business has most of this in place but very few can easily and quickly put their hands on it and rely on it being up to date.

Our partnership with health and safety specialists “Health and Safety Assist” can help you with this.
Their online portal is a secure resource and provides access to your own safety management hub. The portal will help you simplify and efficiently manage all of the documents necessary to meet your health and safety responsibilities and comply with the relevant standards for your business sector.

There are also a host of added benefits that you can exploit as the portal becomes more bespoke to your business. It could lead to reduced insurance premiums by demonstrating you have proper management of your workplace risks and compliance with health and safety legislation.

To find out more about how working with Health and Safety Assist can save you money, protect you from prosecution and a hefty fine or prison sentence, please contact one of our team.

**Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0
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.