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Make Time for Liability Insurance Considerations

A High Court judge has awarded £1.6m in damages to a former BBC presenter who was injured while filming a crash-test dummy simulation for a BBC TV programme in 2013.

Despite the BBC disputing the extent of the injuries, the case highlights the sums that can be involved in cases where a duty of care over individuals, the general public or the environment is seen to be breached.

This is the reason for liability insurance covers. It also illustrates why it is usually mandatory to have at least £5 million Employers’ Liability insurance in place if you employ people, under the terms of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act of 1969. This insurance allows you to meet the costs of compensation for employees’ injuries or illnesses.

This is not the only liability cover a business may need, although it is a legal requirement and you will be fined if you employ someone and do not have Employers’ Liability cover in place. There are some exceptions. These include most government departments, local authorities, non-incorporated family businesses, where everyone employed is closely related, and companies employing solely their owner who has 50% or more of the issued share capital.

Types of Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance is something that you may need if your business has interactions with the public, which could result in claims being made against you. These could be brought by anyone who is not in your employment, to whom your activities or assets cause injury or illness. Although this is voluntary, you may be expected to have such cover in place, especially if you wish to tender for certain contracts or be a member of certain professional institutions.

Other liability covers exist to compensate for the harm your products could cause to third parties. If you manufacture or supply products, for instance, you may need to consider Product Liability protection.

Should your business activities have the potential to result in environmental damage to air, land or water supplies, you should also consider Environmental Liability Insurance. The costs of cleaning up environmental damage can be significant and the authorities are increasingly keen to ensure that the environment – and the public – is not harmed.

Medical professionals and businesses are well-advised to discuss Medical Liability or Malpractice Insurance, to protect them in the event of legal cases being brought by a patient or their family, should a procedure or treatment go wrong.

One increasingly important liability cover is Management Liability Insurance. With much legislation now putting the focus on the decision-makers within companies when harm and breaches of duty of care take place, rather than on the corporate entity, anyone in a position of authority or responsibility within a business should be discussing this cover with an informed insurance broker. Although limited company status does provide some protection for personal assets, company directors and managers could be asked to personally fund compensation payments.

With so much litigation within society, it makes sense to consider the liability protections that you require. If you are in a particularly high-risk sector, such as construction, you can also top up your Public Liability Insurance policy, by buying Excess Liability Insurance, which would bridge the gap between the limit on your core policy and the potential amount of a claim.

Speak to us about your Business Insurance today

If you’d like to know more about the types of liability insurance your organisation may need, contact us on 01603 760511.

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