For Business

Trampolines should be treated with trepidation, following an increase in insurance injury claims.

By Emma Drew

September 30, 2015

Trampolines should be treated with trepidation, following an increase in insurance injury claims.

While trampolines may be a fun and popular way to exercise, they also come with a set of safety implications and high insurance costs.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RosPA) has suggested garden trampolines and bouncy castles are the most common causes of domestic sports injuries in children aged under fourteen, followed by trees and climbing frames.

According to Insurers, some accidents resulting in injury claims still occurred even though children were under adult supervision. However, despite the safety risks surrounding trampolines, some parents fail to have adequate insurance cover in place. In some cases parents have been fined up to £100,000 when another child was injured after playing on a trampoline during a home garden party, which their insurance policy didn’t fully cover.

The fault can also fall to the manufacturer of the trampoline for providing equipment deemed unsuitable for use. Therefore, the (RosPA) are working with manufacturers to improve safety measures.

Ashleigh Gwilliam, Corporate Account Executive, Perkins Slade commented:

“Trampolines do come with a high risk, especially when being used by an “amateur gymnast”. However, it is possible to minimise your risk with good installation and regular maintenance. (RosPA) offer great advice on maximising the safety of trampoline activity but when used on a commercial scale, an approved installer should be used to ensure compliance to the relevant health and safety laws. Trade bodies such as The Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) and the API Outdoors are a great place to find a suitable contractor.  In addition, the importance of good risk management and a reliable insurance policy should not be discounted”.

Some of the most common trampoline injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Concussion and head injuries
  • Permanent injuries to head and neck
  • Long-term damage to bones and soft tissue
  • In some cases paralysis or death

Safety measures should include:

  • Having an adult present to supervise at all times
  • No more than one person playing on the trampoline
  • Children under the age of six should not be allowed on trampolines
  • Somersaults or stunts should be discouraged
  • Advise children to jump in the middle of the trampoline and steer clear of the edges
  • Avoid placing trampolines on hard surfaces like concrete
  • To provide adequate protective cushioning on the ground or net enclosures
  • Carry out regular maintenance checks on the equipment and make repairs where necessary.

Almost all children’s play activities carry a level of risk but by following these simple safety precautions this is the first step towards preventing an injury from happening.

How can we help?                                        

For more information on trampoline and public liability insurance cover please contact:

Ashleigh Gwilliam, Corporate Account Executive, Perkins Slade

T: 0121 698 8118

Back to top

Why you need Professional Indemnity insurance

By Emma Drew

January 6, 2015

Why you need Professional Indemnity insurance

To some, Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) is seen as being forced upon them by contractual or regulatory requirements, whilst to others it is a basic approach to risk management. However you regard this insurance, you need to ensure that you purchase the appropriate level of cover.

 

Whether a contractor or freelancer, a PI insurance policy gives your business financial protection in the event of claims for alleged professional negligence, errors or omissions. It covers the legal costs incurred in defending a claim and also the damages awarded to a third party if that claim is successful. Charities and advisory bodies who offer free advice should also consider taking out PI cover.

You don’t have to be at fault to have an allegation made against you. Increasingly the threat of legal action is being used by customers as a bargaining chip to get fee charges reduced or waived meaning that you can, quite innocently, find yourself faced with a hefty legal bill.

Working for yourself carries certain obligations and responsibilities, you may need Professional Indemnity insurance if you:

  •  Are in the business of giving professional advice or consultancy services in any capacity and could be sued for making a genuine mistake
  • Handle clients’ data or have responsibility for their intellectual property.

 

How can we help?

 

With industry specific wordings and rolling monthly payment options we can provide PI cover for an extensive range of professions from the traditional to the unique:

  • Estate and Letting Agents
  • Media and Technology firms
  • Business and Management Consultants
  • Architects
  • Environmental
  • Town Planners & Surveyors (exclusive schemes available for RTPI and RICS members).

With over 40 years’ experience, Perkins Slade understand your needs and varying cover requirements, contact us to see if your profession is covered and to discuss setting up your PI policy today.

Contact Jayne Morris, Account and Development Executive

T: 0121 698 8021  /  07964 109 204

 

 

Back to top

The dreaded office party – festive cheer or festive fear?

By Emma Drew

December 9, 2014

The dreaded office party – festive cheer or festive fear?

As the festive period looms, many of us will be entering party mode both in our work and personal lives. It seems that in December there is a party, function or event almost every night of the week and as a result things can sometimes get a little messy with December seeing an increase in hospital admissions of 41% for alcohol related accidents and injuries*.

 *Source: NHS Choices
 

Although a party may be planned down to the finest detail such as decoration, food, drink and transport it can only take one minor mishap to ruin the whole experience. Sometimes these mishaps are covered by a business or venues public liability insurance, however, with a more robust approach to risk management these incidents are less likely to happen, and organisations less likely to be held accountable.

More than ever, it is important to remember that work functions are just that, and as work functions the employer is responsible for what happens to employees (and other attendees) whilst at work.

Employers can be held vicariously liable for the injuries sustained whilst at work functions.

Tragedy occurred in 2005 when a man was left in hospital with severe burns after several employees were playing around with chemicals at a Christmas function. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004, both the employer and employees have a duty to act responsibly in the workplace, which does not necessarily cease at the end of a shift.

 

In another more extreme example of misbehaviour a man told a female colleague that she “needed a good man,” adding that he would like to try her out in bed. At the Christmas party, the man pulled her dress down and made disparaging comments. A claim of sexual harassment succeeded and an award of £10,000 was made for injury to feelings.

 

Tips for employers during the run up to the Christmas party season would include:

 

  • Ensure that properly drafted Policies in place which clearly state that the organisation will not tolerate bullying, harassment or sexual harassment. Ensure that each state that the scope of the policy includes work-related social events
  • Staff should be reminded that inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas party will not be tolerated and may be treated as a disciplinary matter in accordance with the organisation’s Disciplinary Policy
  • Employers should be satisfied that the chosen venue fulfils their health and safety obligations to employees and is suitable for the event. Insurance and security measures should be addressed also
  • Any complaints made subsequent to the Christmas party should be treated seriously and investigated promptly. If necessary, the disciplinary procedure should be invoked. Ensure that if disciplinary action is taken it is – appropriate, proportionate, statutorily compliant and consistently applied
  • To summarise, ultimately ensure that systems and measures are in place in advance so that you and your team can have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your party!

 

How can Perkins Slade help?

 

We can also advise on event cancellation cover and how to prepare for the unexpected, with cancellation and abandonment insurance. This ensures you are covered if a problem arises and you incur additional expenses to keep your event running. Additionally, it covers the costs incurred if you’re forced to curtail or abandon the event.

Having event insurance in place not only provides you with a level of financial security but also provides peace of mind, which is invaluable – as no matter how well prepared and organised you may be there’s always the chance of the unforeseen occurring.

If you’re unsure if your insurance policy covers that all important party or event, why not get in touch?. Our experienced team are at hand to give advice on the coverage you’ll need to ensure your event runs as smoothly as it should, simply contact your usual Perkins Slade representative or call 0121 698 8000 or email info@perkins-slade.com

 

 

Back to top

Planning may be a low-risk profession but planners are still exposed to claims

By Emma Drew

June 20, 2014

Planning may be a low-risk profession but planners are still exposed to claims

Despite the planning profession being viewed by many as more ‘low risk’ than others such as Chartered Surveying or Architecture, many are still affected by today’s litigious society, with claims notifications still on the rise.

Why are claims rising?

These claims usually arise as a result of a difference in perception between what the planner is attempting to deliver and what their Client envisages as the end result. Couple this with commercial pressures, such as tight timescales and you can see how supposed errors could arise. The subjective nature of the planning process itself also does not help matters, with Clients often expecting certain outcomes, only to be disappointed and angry when the final result does not meet their own expectations. Planners are also now being brought into disputes between their Client and other professionals, with the Client taking a ‘scattergun’ approach to all those involved on the particular job in question, hoping that liability will ‘stick’ with some of the parties concerned.

Although small numbers of claims are made against planning consultants, the following Case Studies highlight the importance of PII cover.   In addition, members who do not clearly set out their terms of business to a client may also find themselves in breach of the RTPI’s Code of Professional Conduct.

Case Study 1

An independent planning consultant was appointed by a Client midway through the planning process. The previous consultant had already been dismissed from the job, due to the Client being unhappy with their performance. Under pressure from their Client to adhere to very tight planning deadlines, the new consultant used drawings which were prepared by the previous one. The use of this work came to the attention of the previous consultant, and they successfully sued the new consultant for breach of their intellectual property rights. Claim settled for in excess of £250,000 including legal defence costs incurred in defending the allegation.

Case Study 2

A planning practice was involved in the submission of proposals for a large-scale urban redevelopment, the application for which was eventually rejected, much to the annoyance of the developer concerned. Seeking the recovery of costs, the developer subsequently served a writ on the planning practice for amounts totalling close to £3m, claiming alleged negligence in the handling of the entire planning process and the strategy devised in the way in which it was approached. Due to the complexity of the claim and the potential costs involved, the practice was advised to settle the claim for over £240,000, as well as legal defence costs.

Case Study 3

A sole practitioner planning consultant acted on behalf of Clients objecting to work being undertaken at a nearby Quarry. The consultant concerned had prior knowledge of the issues relating to the site, having been involved in the case during their time working for the LPA. This led to an unusually risky position for the planner, as they potentially could have been sued by their Clients if they were unsuccessful with their objections, or sued by the Quarry owners for alleged misuse of the planners’ prior knowledge. The planner concerned ended up pursuing fees from his Client, who counter claimed alleging professional negligence. Claim settled for damages of approximately £60,000 and in excess of £100,000 in legal fees – both their own and the claimants.

It is essential that a written appointment is used, the brief is clear and the Client understands what the potential outcomes are. Unfortunately, the days of doing business with a handshake and gentleman’s agreement are long gone. Members who do not clearly set out their terms of business to a client may also find themselves in breach of the RTPI’s Code of Professional Conduct.

Contact us

For further information on how we can help you protect your business please contact your usual Perkins Slade representative, alternatively contact:

Sandip Mahli, Financial Lines Broker

0121 698 8074
s.malhi@perkins-slade.com

Back to top

Professional Indemnity Insurance is the cornerstone for any successful, risk aware planner

By Emma Drew

May 27, 2014

Professional Indemnity Insurance is the cornerstone for any successful, risk aware planner

To some, Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is seen as being forced upon them by contractual or regulatory requirements, whilst to others it is a basic approach to risk management. However you regard this insurance, you need to ensure that you purchase an appropriate level of cover.

A PII policy gives your business financial protection in the event of claims for alleged professional negligence, errors or omissions. It covers the legal costs incurred in defending a claim, and also the damages awarded to a third party if that claim is successful, which often includes their own costs of bringing an action.

Are you aware that you don’t have to have been at fault to have an allegation made against you? And, increasingly, the threat of legal action is being used by customers as a bargaining chip to get fee charges reduced or waived meaning that you can, quite innocently, find yourself faced with a hefty legal bill.

The cost of legal assistance is high, so what level of cover do I need?

Arriving at a sensible limit of indemnity is not an exact science and cannot just be measured against the value of a particular project or the fee income derived from it i.e. a £50million development does not mean that a £50million limit is necessary, as it is highly unlikely that an error would result in this level of costs and/or damages being incurred.

The RTPI do have minimum cover requirements for their members, as follows:

Annual Fee Income Minimum Limit of Indemnity(any one claim) Maximum Uninsured Excess
Below £40,000 £100,000 £7,500 if limit is £250,000 or lessor2.5% of limit, or £10,000, whichever is the greater, if limit is more than £250,000
£40,000 to £199,999 2.5 times gross annual income
£200,000 or more £500,000

 

In addition to the minimum levels of cover required to comply with regulations, you will also need to consider:

• What is my role in this project?

• Am I responsible for appointing other professionals on the project? If so, am I liable for any errors that they may make?

• If an error occurs, what are the likely outcomes and the potential costs involved in rectifying it?

• Am I required to carry a certain minimum amount of cover by my customer as part of my terms of appointment?

 

How can we help?

Whilst the absolute minimum limit required by the RTPI is £100,000, the Professional Indemnity policy available from Perkins Slade starts at £300,000, with much higher limits also being available, contact us for more information or to discuss setting up your PII policy.

Sandip Mahli, Financial Lines Broker
0121 698 8074
s.malhi@perkins-slade.com

 

 

Back to top

Risky Business

By Emma Drew

April 17, 2013

Risky Business

Last year a wildlife park run by TV star Anna Ryder Richardson and her husband was ordered to pay a combined £110,000 in fines and costs.

In 2010, three-year old Gruff Davies-Hughes was treated in intensive care after suffering serious head injuries at the park, when he was hit by a tree bough blown down in strong winds. His mother suffered head injuries and fractures to her leg, pelvis and arm.

Colin MacDougall had refused to close the attraction after the incident, leading to Pembrokeshire County Council ordering its closure on the grounds of safety. In the 48 hours after the event 5 potentially dangerous trees were felled. It transpired that MacDougall had been advised of the risk of this area and failed to manage the risks posed to the public and employees at the park.

Impact
Privately held companies and their managers operate in a complex environment. However diligent, it is impossible to be truly confident of never falling foul of constantly changing law and regulation. Good governance mitigates risks, but does not eliminate them.

To protect your company, its directors, officers, senior managers and pension trustees from time consuming and potentially large legal costs brought by civil, criminal and regulatory actions we recommend you consider a suite of management liability insurances, including Directors and Officers’ Liability and Corporate Legal Liability.

Directors & Officers’ Liability insurance – what is covered?
The policy covers the defence costs and legal liability incurred in prosecutions and claims against past, present and future directors, officers and company secretaries, and their spouses, for:

  • Wrongful act, error or omission
  • Misstatement
  • Neglect
  • Breach of duty (including internet or electronic communications).

Corporate Legal Liability insurance – what is covered?
The policy covers the same as above, but for the “entity” as opposed to the individual, cover also includes:

  • Legal representation costs in investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Defence costs in prosecutions under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Effective risk management
The above case highlights the importance of having a robust risk management programme in place. Identifying the risk would have led to immediate action; thus avoiding the accident.

Perkins Slade have designed and developed a bespoke Risk Assessment Tool which enables organisations to better identify and manage risk. To discuss this in more detail please contact Andrew Goulbourne on 0121 698 8057 / 07854 150 059 or email a.goulbourne@perkins-slade.com

We recommend that you have a plan in place which will;

  • Identify risks early on
  • Help implement appropriate controls to manage such risks
  • Be regularly reviewed to ensure any new risks are identified and included
  • Take out relevant business insurance(s)
  • Increase staff awareness and training.

Contact us
For further information on how we can help protect your organisation please contact your usual Perkins Slade representative, alternatively contact us on 0121 698 8000 or email corporate@perkins-slade.com

Perkins Slade is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Back to top
Next Page »