If an employee is injured or gets ill at work – and your business is held liable – you'll need more than a sticky plaster to make it right.
Employers' liability insurance covers the legal costs associated with a claim, and pays any compensation awarded to your employees. Even if you have just one member of staff, you're legally required* to have it.
The Health and Safety Executive enforces the law on employers' liability – and they're serious about it too. You could be fined £2,500 for each day you're without the necessary cover and £1,000 for not displaying the appropriate certificate. (For the full details, read the HSE's guide for employers.)
In a move designed to take the guesswork out of employers liability claims, all employers have to give their employer reference number (ERN) to their insurer when they buy or renew a policy. If you’re not sure what an ERN is, find out more in our all-you-need-to-know guide.
Apart from it being a legal requirement you mean?
Accidents happen, accusations are made, solicitors get involved and people want compensation. Rightly or wrongly these things happen every day and, sooner or later, you could be on the receiving end.
A claim won’t go away if you ignore it. And there are no shortcuts. You have to Do Something About It.
So, you need employers' liability insurance because you have a business to run; because you have limited funds; because you’re not legally trained; and because your reputation matters.
What else is there?
This is an easy one.
The minimum legally required amount is £5m. But you'll find that most insurers only offer £10m.
Don't worry if that sounds like an expensive overindulgence – it's not. A year's cover starts from as little as £31.80.
You can't get employers' liability on its own, so you'll need public liability insurance too (at least). It's for when you go out and about on business, or have visitors to your office. It’s for claims of physical damage to property and people. Useful if you’re clumsy.
Professional indemnity insurance is for claims and allegations of negligence, mistakes and things you've failed to do. Essential if you provide specialist services to paying clients.
Office and property insurance covers the things in your office (furniture, plants, fixed IT equipment etc) and portable insurance covers gadgets and technical equipment away from the office (laptops, tablets, projectors etc). If you’re not sure it’s worth insuring, add it all up – it’s probably worth more than you think.
Business interruption insurance means you can still work when your office is out of action. Be it flood, fire or flea infestation, you’re covered for the costs of setting up elsewhere and for any lost revenue in that time.
Directors’ and officers’ insurance covers your company bosses. Anyone from regulators to shareholders to competitors can accuse you of not running a business with due care. Worse, directors are personally liable for their actions. The good thing is this insurance covers your defence costs and any compensation you have to pay. So you can put away your chequebook.
Glad you asked.
The simple answer is: we know what we're doing. Professional insurance is all we do so we know what you need, even if you don't.
We also know that buying insurance can be, well, a bit of a pain. So we make sure getting yours is quick and hassle-free.
We do all that while treating you like a human being, too. You won't find a call centre here. Or a phone menu. And we've banned nonsense insurance jargon.
Plus, every insurance-related question you can think of is answered in our School of Risk, and you'll get our quarterly risk advice email – 'The Waggle' – to help you avoid problems in the first place.
If you're after a second opinion, have a look at our customers' feedback. They're the ones you should really listen to.
*The only exemptions are:
- Limited companies where the owner is the sole employee.
- Unincorporated family businesses where all employees are closely related.
The personnel touch
We've already looked at the difference between professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.
And it was worth it too because they sound similar enough to be confusing, and they're two of the three most frequently requested types of cover we deal with.
The other one is employers' liability insurance.
We can't compare it to anything else, so this time we'll just stick to explaining what it's all about instead. It's worth a look because it's the only business insurance that's required by law.