Employers Liability Insurance
It is a legal requirement for all businesses and individuals who have employees to have Employers Liability insurance in place. This cover protects employees from loss or injury while carrying out their work.
As well as covering the cost of compensation, it can also cover legal expenses incurred by the business while defending the case.
This is the section of an insurance policy that you would likely engage should any employees make an allegation of negligence against you for loss, suffering or injury as a result of your approach to managing COVID-19 related health and safety.
It is important to note that Employers Liability is designed to provide protection where negligence has occurred, but not protect against incidents that are proved illegal or unlawful. This is another reason you should take your duty of care to your employees seriously and follow all guidance, legislation and regulation rigorously.
It is also important you review the limit of indemnity of your Employers Liability cover. The legal minimum cover in the UK is £5 million. However, this is only the legal minimum amount and most policies are issued with a £10 million limit as standard.
Given the current situation and the potential impact of a COVID-19 outbreak affecting a high number of staff, it is comprehensible that even this may not be sufficient and an increased limit of £15 million or £20 million may actually be required.
Member company Towergate Insurance Brokers can provide advice in relation to this and support you to get the cover your business needs, email Jonathan.Tandy@towergate.co.uk
Public and Products Liability Insurance
While the focus thus far has been on business employees, it is just as important for businesses to meet their duty of care to customers, visitors and guests. The same principles apply, and safe practice must be evidenced, with all required regulations met.
Public and Products Liability are the parts of a policy you would engage if you were accused of negligence resulting in injury, suffering or loss to a member of the public. This includes health and safety requirements in relation to COVID-19 and having in place the necessary preventative measures to keep those in your workplace safe, as well as anyone receiving your products, for example, if an infected person contaminates the surface of a product or packaging and passes it on to customers.
Most business insurance policies will include Public and Products Liability cover, but as they are not legal requirements, many businesses could have insufficient cover. We often see businesses choose a £2 million limit of indemnity for these covers which in today's world feels vastly insufficient.
Considering the potential claims that could emerge going forward, this amount of underinsurance could be extremely damaging to the longevity of a business' future operations.
Again, member company Towergate Insurance Brokers advisor can provide advice in relation to this and support you to get the cover your business needs; email Jonathan.Tandy@towergate.co.uk
The potential of underinsurance
There is potentially an increased risk in both the frequency and severity of incidents as lockdown begins to ease, with the additional concerns around employees catching the virus at work and taking it home to family members.
As a result, the issue of underinsurance, particularly in relation to Employers, Public and Products Liability is a real danger.
We would therefore encourage business owners to consider what limit of indemnity they would need should they face several claims, with varying severity. You can get policies that "top up" primary wordings by adding additional limits to specific parts of the policy, called Excess Layers.
Excess layer products to increase limits are widely available in the market and typically are actually more competitive than you may think, starting at approximately £300 + IPT.
Another excess layer cover you may wish to consider is Crisis Containment Management. This cover provides professional communications expertise in the event of an incident that could trigger indemnity, delivered by an approved Crisis Communications Company.
This could include internal communications to staff and external communications with the media.
Crisis containment can be invoked by a key executive of the business following an event where it is expected that damages will be caused, such as a COVID-19 related incident and could help mitigate reputational damage.
Advice on staying secure during COVID-19
Guidance from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure for businesses and insolvency office holders on managing security risks during the pandemic. The CPNI has drawn together important security considerations for businesses in financial distress, including those in insolvency or administration, either directly or as a third party.