In the insurance world, choice is essential to ensuring that both individuals and businesses alike have the coverage they need.
For example, security insurance would not cover the same types of policies as people who run an architecture consultancy or an online media resource.
With a cost of living crisis and an economic recession looming large in the minds of many business owners regardless of size and industry, many financial officers, accountants and CEOs are looking at ways they can reduce their outgoings.
As each company is different, the types of cost reductions vary as well, particularly with many industries facing a somewhat uncertain future, and some companies are looking through every expense with a fine tooth comb to see what they can function without.
During particularly bitter and brutal winter weather, one of the UK’s most prominent workplace hazards becomes even more dangerous, and the need for working at height insurance is more pronounced.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, one of the biggest causes of major life-changing injuries and fatalities in UK workplaces is due to the inherent risks of working at height.
However, it took until 2005 for workers outside of the construction sector to receive the same level of legal protection via the current active legislation, the Work At Height Regulations 2005.
To understand the importance of this legal instrument and why a major industry body is campaigning to protect it from repeal, we need to explore the regulations and why they were needed in the first place.
Companies hoping to see the year out without any disasters might want to prioritise protecting their data, as online crime continues to be a growing problem among businesses.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently revealed there were as many as 6.4 million reports received by the Suspicious Email Reporting Services (SERS) in 2022, resulting in 67,300 bogus URLS being removed.
Since its launch in 2020, it has dealt with 15.8 million reports and taken down nearly 200,000 sites.
NCSC deputy director for economy and society resilience Sarah Lyons said cyber criminals are becoming better at making their scams more convincing.
“By shining a light on these scams we want to help people more easily spot the common tricks fraudsters use, so that ultimately they can stay safer online,” she stated.
It has advised companies to protect their data as much as possible by implementing a two-step verification procedure. Staff should also use ‘three random words’ for their passwords, as this makes it harder for cyber criminals to hack into their accounts.
NCSC also suggested employees avoid creating passwords that can be easily cracked, such as from significant dates, favourite sports team or book, or family or pet names.
‘Three random words’, however, makes passwords “that are ‘long enough’ and ‘strong enough’ for most purposes but which can also be remembered much more easily”.
It is also important to protect yourself by taking out the right cover. Speak to our business insurance experts in Staffordshire for more advice on what protection you need for your enterprise.
This might be the year you launch your own business, in which case it is essential you take all the necessary protections first. For some companies, this might include getting professional indemnity (PI) insurance. To find out if that includes you, read on.
What is professional indemnity insurance?
Professional indemnity insurance protects businesses having to pay for legal defence or compensation if there is a claim made for a bad piece of advice, negligence at work, or a dodgy service that has resulted in financial loss for the client.
Unbiased.co.uk explains: “In the event of being sued, these professionals need to pay a lawyer to defend them in court, as well as the costs associated with rectifying and reprinting.”
Do you need it?
Therefore, businesses that might need it include those that provide a consultancy service, in case there is a mistake in the advice given; handle data, in the event of a data breach; or offer expertise and there is an error in the calculations or plans.
What kind of professionals require PI?
If you are still uncertain whether you need PI, Lloyds Bank has published a long list of professionals that should take it out.
These include business or IT consultants, accountants, architects and surveyors, engineers, interior designers, town planners, and those involved in education or risk management.
What does it not cover?
There are some things PI does not protect against, so you might need to take out other policies for better protection.
For instance, PI does not cover damage to a client’s reputation; employer liability and public liability.
For a chat about professional indemnity protection or other business insurance policies in Stafford, get in touch with us today.
For many people, the festive season is a time to relax and enjoy the company of friends, family and loved ones, but for the security industry, it is a time to prepare for the unexpected.
In the world of security insurance, one day is prioritised above all others around Christmas, as it has become somewhat infamous for a spike in claims, personal injuries and crimes, particularly those taking place in nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
That day is the last Friday before Christmas Eve (In 2022 this is the 23rd December), often known as Mad Friday, Black Friday, Frantic Friday, Nasty Friday or Black Eye Friday.
Originally a term used by the NHS and the Police, the term was quickly picked up by private security staff and was a common term in the industry because of the spike in incidents that would seemingly happen just before Christmas.
There is a spike in fights, violent crime, drunken incidents of disorderly behaviour and other anti-social behaviour in December in general and on Mad Friday in particular. Why is this the case?
Why Is Mad Friday So Mad?
There are a few reasons why Mad Friday has developed the reputation that it has, and a lot of it has to do with the freedom associated with the holiday period.
Traditionally, Mad Friday was the last workday of the year, and many offices and workplaces would close early. This meant that more people would go out to pubs and clubs for longer, potentially drink more, and more work Christmas parties would take place in the same place.
All of this would, in turn, translate to more opportunities for potentially disruptive and dysfunctional behaviour, particularly in the form of fights in pubs, clubs and bars.
This ends up putting a strain on public services, particularly the NHS, which has more 999 ambulance calls to respond to that have been caused directly by drunken behaviour.
The answer was a two-pronged response that would prepare for the worst whilst raising greater awareness
The solution was twofold, and the first step was preparation.
Over December in general and Mad Friday in particular, there are far more police and security staff near pubs, clubs and known areas of potential trouble.
Many ambulance services set up portable “drunk tanks” where people can be treated for injuries, alcohol poisoning, and be securely locked away until they settle down or the police can arrive.
In certain places where violence with weapons is a significant problem, temporary metal detectors are placed at the doors of popular venues to stop people from bringing knives into venues to help protect people further, with a zero-tolerance approach to violent behaviour.
The other weapon they had at their disposal was the ability to call people out.
Whilst it had been reported on in news stories for decades, 2013 was the first time police services would publicly address the disproportionate callouts seen on Mad Friday.
Greater Manchester promoted “Mad Manc Friday” across their social media profiles to reveal the embarrassing behaviours of people who got caught up in the spirit and spirits of the moment.
Scarborough’s Police went further and tweeted every 999 call they received to raise awareness of the scale of the work they do.
One of the most unique and wonderful parts of the insurance industry is how diverse every individual and their needs truly are, and attempting to accommodate these needs as closely as possible is one of the reasons why there are so many diverse policies.
This is why nightclub insurance has different policy details to a restaurant or public house insurance policy, and is also why certain celebrities have unusual policies taken out via marketplaces such as Lloyd’s of London and why unusual events often have specialist policies.
With that in mind, it is perhaps not too surprising that some insurance firms create tailored Christmas insurance policies that are designed to be short-term and provide cover that a business or individual would not typically need during the rest of the year.
A good example of this is dedicated Christmas party insurance, which is designed to help cover businesses during an event that is often somewhat unusual.
Christmas parties often feature public liability insurance as standard, to protect the party organiser (ie the company in charge) from any legal claims that come as the result of property damage or injury to a member of the public.
As well as this, the policy often also covers hired equipment, such as PA systems, speakers, amplifiers, musical instruments, karaoke machines, lighting systems and other hired or purchased equipment against potential damage or theft.
It often also covers against accidental fires, which can be caused by a range of popular Christmas staples such as crackers, party hats, candles and string lights if sufficient care is not taken.
Many of these policies will also include employer’s liability insurance, as is a legal requirement, as well as having the potential to have other policies added to it such as insurance for security staff or insurance to protect any fleet vehicles used to transport staff members around.
The biggest difference is that this coverage applies to a one-off event as opposed to a rolling policy.
Whilst the world of nightclub insurance focus on somewhat unlikely but possible risks that could face people enjoying a night out, there are some situations considered so overwhelmingly unlikely that one could not imagine a policy being made for them.
And yet, a fast food restaurant chain did indeed take out “taco insurance” in 2001 that covered them in the unlikely event that a space station crashed on a 40-foot by 40-foot target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Whilst context might not provide too much benefit, it is important to at least try to explain this bizarre set of circumstances.
In 2001, the Space Station Mir was set to return to Earth after 15 years in space, during which time the Soviet Union had collapsed and the world had changed entirely, entering a new millennium having stayed out in space three times longer than it should have.
The deorbiting program came about because the International Space Station programme was the focus of a new Russia, and left them without any money to keep supporting the old station.
Before the final reentry on 23rd March 2001, Taco Bell, a fast food chain known for Mexican cuisine, constructed a target in the South Pacific, over the projected reentry site, with the words “Free Taco Here” written in big purple letters.
If any part of the station hit the target, Taco Bell would give every person in the United States a free taco.
They were confident it wouldn’t, but to cover the millions of dollars of free tacos they would need to pay out, Taco Bell set up a very unusual bespoke insurance policy, the likes of which have never been seen before and may well never be seen again.
Ultimately, the policy was not needed as Mir landed nowhere near the target’s location, but as a consolation prize, the chain did offer tacos for less than a dollar.
The hospitality industry is about to head into its busiest season of the year, with Brits hitting the town in their droves for their Christmas celebrations over the next few weeks.
Therefore, it is essential that businesses have adequate hospitality insurance in place to protect themselves.
The type of cover and amount you insure the business against will depend on the type of premises you run, such as a pub, bar, hotel, restaurant, or café. For instance, anywhere serving food and drink needs to have product liability insurance in place, as this protects against the possibility of causing harm to customers through something they have consumed on site.
While the last couple of years have seen people miss out on their Christmas work dos and festive nights out with their friends as a result of Covid-19, this could mean the turnout for 2022 is bigger than ever.
As many as 45 per cent of people cancelled their Christmas night-out plans last year due to the spread of Omicron, so bars, pubs and restaurants are as keen to drum up business as people are to celebrate the festive season.
Back when Christmas parties were in full swing, they could often get messy, with one in ten resulting in a punch-up, and more than a quarter of attendees having to leave early due to being too drunk.
This acts as a reminder to have as much insurance in place as possible to cover for broken fixtures and fittings, injuries, and damage to electronic equipment.
For nightclub insurance, take a look here.
There are an almost incalculable number of available insurance policies, and the wide variety allows for different risk profiles and policies to be tailored for individual circumstances.
For example, nightclub insurance would require a different type of coverage from an off-licence because of the range of risks involved in a building where alcohol is sold and drunk, as opposed to a shop where it is sold but not drunk.
However, there are some particular niche circumstances where a very specific type of policy needs to be written, and a considerable number of them involve a particular part of someone’s body, almost always a celebrity.
These have included over the years the walrus moustache of Australian cricketer Merv Hughes, the teeth of the late comedian Ken Dodd, the legs of several actors and dancers, the vocal cords of many singers and the taste buds of a famed food critic.
The reasons for these have varied considerably depending on how long the policy lasted and the nature of the celebrity involved.
One example of this was the famed hair of NFL defensive player Troy Polamalu, who had his three-foot-long hair insured with the help of Proctor & Gamble, the owners of the Head & Shoulders shampoo brand he was endorsing at the time.
In other cases, a celebrity’s considerable income is seen to be directly related to a particular part of their body, such as a singer’s distinctive voice or the legs of a dancer or athlete.
Pat McAfee, a kicker in the NFL, had his legs insured by Lloyds of London on the last year of his contract, to ensure that in the event he was injured and forced to retire, he could cash out.
In other cases, it is a show of support for a particular cause. The carpools for the vehicles involved in the Montgomery bus boycott that protested against racial segregation were insured by Lloyds of London in case they were damaged.
Insurance companies need to be flexible and develop tailored policies to suit a wide range of industries.
Engineering insurance, for example, needs to be a more comprehensive set of policies that protect not only from injury, damage and losses caused by equipment failure, but also professional liability for designers to ensure they are covered in case something goes wrong.
Whilst there are some insurance claims that are more common than others, in some cases there are real insurance claims that would be seen as too bizarre to include in a film and yet ultimately were paid out.
Here are some of the oddest.
It goes without saying that custard and electronics do not mix, and one particular claimant found out the hard way when her phone dropped out of her hand and became sunk into the viscous yellow liquid.
When she finally fished it out, the phone shockingly refused to turn back on, forcing her to make a claim for a replacement.
In another mobile phone related claim, a Devon farmer helped one of his pregnant cows during labour, but after the calf was born was struggling to find his expensive smartphone.
It turned out to be in the new mother herself, and the insurance company, presumably not wanting to ask any more invasive questions about the misplaced device, paid the claim in full.
Lather, Rinse And Refuel
Car insurance claims involving the fuel tank are surprisingly common, particularly if they have a diesel car and accidentally refuel with unleaded. It can cause major damage to the car, from causing parts to seize up and for vital engine components to corrode away.
However, one unlucky driver had it even worse when she accidentally poured a bottle of shampoo into the tank, which naturally necessitated a claim with her presumably baffled provider.
Most of the businesses an insurance underwriter will work with have unique needs, and whilst a lot of standard policies will apply for the vast majority of businesses such as employer’s liability insurance, others will need to be more tailored to a particular industry.
For example, security insurance can take a variety of forms, from injury and building insurance to professional liability insurance that helps cover consultants in case they make a costly mistake.
However, for unusual personalities and unusual professions, even more unorthodox policies need to be devised by organisations such as Lloyd’s of London, which cover very specific features or cover an exceptionally unlikely occurrence.
Here are just a few examples.
The Killing Joke
An old saying claims that laughter is the best medicine, but one comedy theatre troupe was either particularly confident or wanted to protect themselves as much as possible, so they took out a
Lloyd’s policy protecting them from liability in case a member of their audience died of laughter.
Whilst there have been cases of people literally dying of laughter, most famously a man by the name of Alex Mitchell from King Lynn who died during an episode of the Goonies, it is exceptionally unlikely and typically factors are involved.
A Demon’s Tongue
In the 1970s, one of the biggest bands in the world was the outlandish face-painted rock group KISS, who thrived on showmanship and portraying very larger-than-life characters.
However, whilst Peter “The Catman” Criss, Ace “The Spaceman” Frehley and Paul “The Starchild” Stanley” had more down-to-earth insurance policies, Gene Simmons believed that his long tongue was so important to The Demon character he portrayed that he needed to cover it to the value of over £1m.
Sadly this policy did not cover the career damage caused by the tongue-in-cheek film KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park.
The Colossal Tussle
One of the few policies Lloyd’s of London refuses to give out anymore is to protect the bodies of professional wrestlers in case of serious injury.
The reason for this was due to so many wrestlers retiring as the result of a career-ending injury, cashing in on the policy before returning to wrestling, with Ric Flair perhaps being the worst offender for retiring and returning before his final match in 2022.