Where there’s blame there’s a claim, goes the saying. And the UK seems no less immune to the thriving compensation culture. In 2013/14, the UK government’s Compensation Recovery Unit recorded over 103,000 public liability claims versus 94,000 in 2010/11.
It’s a similar case in point across the Irish sea. In Ireland last year, according to the Injuries Board, more than 1,700 public liability awards (where a business or organisation is sued for injury to a member of the public) were made totalling €44 million in compensation, while the average award rose year-on-year by almost 11 per cent to €25,120.
If your business has any contact (either in your office or at a client’s premises) with the public (including clients and suppliers) and they are injured, or their property is damaged as a result of your business’s actions, you could face a hefty legal bill and compensation costs. It’s why public liability insurance, though not a legal requirement, can often be incredibly important for every business.
In addition, as your business grows and circumstances change, it is important that you review your levels of public liability insurance to make sure you’re covered should the worst happen. As your business expands you’re likely to find your risks increase too.
So, here are five reasons why you might need to review your public liability insurance:
- You take your business on the road
Do you attend exhibitions, conferences, seminars? If so, you could be held liable if an attendee at the event injures themselves as a result of your actions (perhaps they trip over on your trade stand for example).
- You take on staff
Once you take on employees, they (as well as volunteers, temporary workers, and anyone carrying our work on your behalf) can increase your business’s exposure to public liability claims.
- You move into new premises
When working from home you may never have had members of the public visiting your office (although that doesn’t mean you should not have public liability cover for when you’re visiting clients). Now you have your own separate premises, chances are you’re likely to have visitors. If they should fall and injure themselves when on your premises, you could be held liable.
- Your clients demand it
Some organisations demand that their suppliers have public liability insurance as a condition of working for them. Public liability will cover you should you inadvertently damage your client’s property while on a visit.
- You work for bigger clients
The amount of liability insurance you buy is generally dependent on the size of the clients you work for. The bigger the client, then, generally speaking, the bigger the potential liability and the more important it is to continually review your levels of cover.
How much is enough?
When working out the right level of public liability cover for your business, you should consider what are the main risks you face, how much the most serious claim you might face could cost (not forgetting legal fees), and whether you have any contracts which stipulate that you have to buy a certain level of cover.
Cover is available up to £5 million and you can also be covered for other costs such as compensation for loss of work time while attending court.
It’s important to remember that public liability insurance does not cover injury to your employees, temporary staff, students or people on work placements. For this you need employers’ liability insurance.
Need further information? Visit our article on what is public liability insurance.