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.
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.
People take out insurance policies because they want the peace of mind that even if the worst-case scenario comes to pass, they will at least have the resources to start to rebuild or do what they can to be okay.
This is also true for businesses, as security insurance plans are in place to protect businesses and security officers from insurmountable losses.
In some cases, these claims can total a considerable amount of money, and with that in mind, here are some of the largest insurance payouts ever claimed in the UK.
Mr Bean Crashes A Priceless Supercar
The legendary comedian Rowan Atkinson is known for many iconic roles, including Blackadder, Mr Bean and Johnny English. However, he is also one of the UK’s biggest petrolheads, which proved to be an exceptionally costly pursuit of his in 2011.
Mr Atkinson is the owner of one of the fastest cars ever made, the McLaren F1, with a top speed of 230 miles per hour, and a car that was the centrepiece of a collection that includes Aston Martins, the Honda NSX and several other rare cars.
He has, in fact, only crashed the McLaren F1 twice. The first was in a collision with a Rover Metro in 1999 which required substantial repairs, but the much bigger crash happened in August 2011, when he wrapped the supercar around a tree.
The car caught fire and the vehicle was almost completely destroyed, ultimately requiring a year to be repaired, leading to an insurance payout of £910,000, by far the largest single car insurance payout in British history.
Before Mr Atkinson’s crash, the largest ever insurance payout for a car accident was to an unnamed and unfortunate owner of a Pagani Zonda supercar, which when loaned out to an unnamed driver spun out of control, hit a telegraph pole and smashed through a fence.
The damage was worth £300,000, over half the cost of the car itself, as it was sent back to Italy to be repaired.
The Floods Of 2012
One of the wettest years on record was 2012 when the UK and Ireland were hit by a near-constant series of storms and downpours. Because these storms hit just after a drought, the dry ground could not cope with the rainfall which lead to increased flooding than normal.
Over 500,000 people, from homeowners, to motorists to business directors, made insurance claims for weather and flood damage, with the overall payout estimated to have exceeded £1.33bn and tragically claiming the lives of at least nine people.
This was the biggest flood insurance payout since the major floods of 2007 and led to changes in how flood insurance works in the UK.
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust 2018 Medical Negligence Case
The highest ever medical negligence payout came from a tragic series of circumstances where a six-year-old boy contracted a virus that caused a serious brain injury.
The child, not named in the case, contracted the herpes virus at Watford General Hospital, which caused a brain fever that was not treated for two days, causing damage to his brain that has led to communication difficulties, damaged eyesight, limitations to movement and cognitive function as well as behavioural issues.
The child will receive a lump sum payout as well as annual tax-free and index-linked payments to ensure that he receives the 24-hour care he needs for the rest of his life, which was estimated to be worth more than £37m.
New images have been published of a pub owned by two cricketers undergoing extensive reconstruction after suffering a fire in July.
The Tap and Run in Melton, owned by England cricket star Stuart Broad and his Nottinghamshire team-mate Harry Gurney, was devastated by a blaze in July that left only the walls standing.
Leicestershire Live reported that the new pictures, published on social media, showed the full extent of the task ahead, as the structure has had to be stripped bare before a full rebuild can take place.
The incident received plenty of coverage due to the famous nature of its owners, but it is also a reminder to many pub owners that their buildings can be at a high risk from fire due to the flammable materials used in their construction.
Thatched pub insurance is vital for anyone who has such a roof on their pub, as this can be at particular risk, while timber frames and other wooden elements like bars and furniture can add to the risk, meaning the damage can be worse and more than just the building can be wrecked by a fire.
According to Mr Gurney the blaze, which was believed to have been accidental, left a £1 million repair and rebuild bill, showing why buildings of this kind need to be insured to make reconstruction work affordable, especially if it is not owned by a large chain.
Although summer has now officially ended according to the Met Office, which regards September 1st as the beginning of Autumn, the severe hot weather of the season and the impact of climate change has highlighted the dangers of fires occurring not just on dry areas of moorland, but actually engulfing villages and areas on the edge of towns and cities.
On the hottest day on record in the UK, when temperatures topped 40 degrees C for the first time, the village of Wennington on the edge of London suffered a blaze that engulfed several houses. While no pub was involved in this fire, it was an example of how vulnerable buildings can be in heatwaves.
At its core, insurance is about preparing for the risk against potential loss, whether that takes the form of nightclub insurance preparing for the risk that something goes wrong in the establishment during an evening, or against the risk of a car breaking down or crashing.
The world of insurance can be particularly broad, as the more esoteric policies provided by establishments such as Lloyd’s of London prove.
However, if anything could possibly be stranger than insurance policies, that would be the huge number of bizarre true stories of people making claims on their insurance for the more unique reasons possible.
Here are just a few of the strangest.
Motivating Or Liable?
Professional liability insurance is a scheme that many professionals have if they are in a position to give advice. What it does is provide coverage in case their advice goes wrong and leads to a rather costly or painful mistake.
This happened in the case of one unfortunate motivational speaker. After asking a member of the audience to break a board with their hands, they managed to injure themselves, leading to a quick call to their insurance agent to ensure they could be easily compensated.
The Flames Of Passion
When people get married, it is sometimes common to get a form of wedding insurance that covers all types of scenarios from an “I don’t” at the altar to a sudden injury or illness at the reception.
One of the most unusual cases of this happening was during an otherwise beautiful beachside wedding, which was spoiled somewhat by the bride’s flowing dress catching fire.
The groom, thinking quickly, picked her up and threw her into the ocean to put it out, which may have put a dampener on the occasion.
The Dumbest Fraud That Ever Worked
In an example of insurance fraud so stupid that it is amazing it ever worked and will never work again, a severe hailstorm in a small town in the American Midwest gave a man a terrible idea.
He filed an insurance claim saying that the hail was an “act of god” that damaged his car in the storm.
The problem was that unless hailstones contain tiny hammers, it was clear that someone had simply taken a hammer to the car to pretend that hailstones had done it.
When faced with the truth, the man somehow doubled down and claimed that an attacker had, for reasons unknown, attacked the car with a hammer and beaten hundreds of divots into it.
Somehow, despite assessors having a pretty good idea who did it, because there was no proof the man had taken a hammer to his own car, the insurance company did pay out.
A Tragicomic Triumvirate
It is rare to see three claims arise from the very same slight accident, but one unfortunate driver managed to have an exceptionally rotten run of luck when he had a minor collision.
After rear-ending the car in front, he tried to back away only to hit the bumper of the car behind him. Clearly already feeling a bit shaken, he opened the door to step out of the car, only to bump into and knock over a cyclist.
Whilst an incredible comedy routine in hindsight, in the moment it must have been difficult to see the funny side.