We are often approached by clients who have not had this same experience from their current broker or insurer. So we thought it would be helpful if we compiled a list of the most common ways clients unwittingly break their terms and conditions.
If you take on any work outside of the UK, you must let your insurers know as you may not be correctly covered. An overseas contract will usually carry different premium rates due to different health and safety standards and procedures.
In addition, if you are employing local labour (i.e. non-UK) for a particular contract, you will need to inform your Employers Liability insurer, as most policies will not automatically cover workers who are non-UK residents.
Above and beyond
At the start of an insurance contract, you will be asked to provide a ‘business description’, which is a summary of the activities you undertake. It is very easy for contractors when on site, to end up offering assistance or being asked to help undertake roles that are wider than their disclosed business description. In this scenario and in the event of a claim, their insurance policy may not cover them.
You should always be mindful of undertaking work for clients which fall outside of your usual professional jurisdiction (i.e. something not within your business description). If this is something that happens regularly, and you want to start providing this as an additional service, speak to your insurer about updating or changing your business description.
Forgetting to tell your insurers when you move premises is alarmingly common. Postcodes, size of building, security details and lots of other things all go a long way to analysing your risk and subsequently charging you the correct premium.
Does your building comply with the Minimum Standards of Security measures? Does your policy have an alarm warranty? It is worth checking all locks on doors and windows and replaces any old non-compliant versions, not only to ensure you observe policy warranties and conditions but also to save you the hassle of dealing with a break-in or subsequent theft.
Who insures what?
Although not something which invalidates a policy, you should ensure that you read all policy literature to check there are no misunderstandings as to what is and isn’t covered.
One of the most common misconceptions is that cover for Tenant Improvements would fall under the Buildings insurance whereas in actual fact, the tenant (who paid for the improvement) should be insuring this under their policy.
Assessment of assets
As a minimum, good business practice should dictate an annual review of all company assets. Of course, we would recommend more regular checks so that you keep on top of your sums insured and insure to the correct level. It is often the last thing on the mind of a client to call the insurance broker when they buy a new expensive piece of kit, but it is usually the first call they make when it goes missing!
Into the world of motor insurance now, and policyholders are responsible for informing their insurance broker/insurer if any of their drivers have motoring convictions. These could be historic convictions or newly awarded penalties – they all must be disclosed.
Drivers may also be inclined to omit to tell their employers, for example, if they obtain a conviction for driving too fast in their own private car, so we advise a regular check of all employee driving histories on a regular rolling cycle.
As a worst-case scenario, a claim can be rejected if a driver has penalty points that haven’t been declared and failure to check this information is not a defence.
Terms and conditions
It’s not one of the most fun jobs in the world, but you really must read the small print of your policy. There is bound to be specific requirements you will need to have met if you ever need to make a claim. For example, does your waste warranty state how far away from your premises the waste needs to be stored?