Tag: liability

Why do engineers need comprehensive insurance cover?

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Due to the nature of work many engineers carry out, they have a crucial duty of care to a wide network of people – including clients, contractors, additional consultants and members of the general public.

As well as covering the physical risks associated with projects involving construction or architectural work, a tailored insurance solution can protect engineers who are also required to offer advice and direction.

Without an adequate level of cover, an engineer can be susceptible to some very serious risks and liabilities, take Anthony for example;

Anthony, a structural building engineer was hired to conduct the final inspection of a building after the completion of a large renovation. Upon inspection, Anthony found several minor items to address which he included in his final report. He had also noticed that the floor beams of the structure were sagging slightly, however, given that this was an older building with wooden beams, Anthony didn’t feel that it compromised the structure and did not include this in his report. Two weeks after the inspection, the building collapsed inward due to a weakening of the interior floor beams. The damage caused to the structure was beyond repair and there was also some damage to the neighbouring building. Anthony was named in a lawsuit and accused of improper a negligent inspection, being held partly liable for the replacement cost of the structure, the damage to the neighbouring building and associated legal costs. All of which would be paid by the insurer (with the exception of the engineer’s deductible), had he been covered.

Don’t be caught in the trap of underinsurance. Professional indemnity insurance covers engineers for the advice and direction they are required to give, whilst public liability insurance covers engineers should they be liable for any third party injury or property damage while they are on-site.

In such a diverse profession including industries such as chemical, forensic, landscaping electrical and civil – it’s important to have a clear and thorough understanding of the specific type of insurance solution required.

Calculating the correct amount of cover for your engineering business can be a tedious and complex process, and trying to do it on your own can be a recipe for disaster. Talk to an Adroit Insurance broker about customising a peace of mind insurance policy to fit your exact needs today!

Managing workplace culture in a litigious world

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Several decades ago, businesses weren’t held as accountable for their actions and the environment they provide for their staff. Since then, work environments have drastically improved, but the consequences of unfavourable situations do hold significantly more weight. Whether it’s a relationship issue, an environmental conflict or perceived negligence, the risk of litigation means businesses need to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe.

Consider the following to help your business avoid a worst-case scenario.

Recruit carefully and purposefully

Many businesses don’t invest enough time and effort into recruitment. It’s important to put just as much thought into your office culture as how good someone looks on paper. Creating a nurturing culture for your staff and ensuring there are easily accessible human resources available creates an environment employees are comfortable in – and therefore do their best work in. To mitigate the rise of office disputes and disruptions to your carefully curated environment, scout individuals who work well with your staff and make sure to discuss personality with their referees.
Ballarat branch manager Damon Edwards explains why relationships at work are so important in today’s litigious society. “We’re seeing more and more claims in the management liability space – claims against the company and individual directors, whilst they are fulfilling their roles as company executives. Things like statutory fines and penalties are imposed – for example, say an employee filed a claim of bullying in the workplace. Work Cover would come in to investigate, and if it’s found that the entity hasn’t provided a safe work place, fines could be imposed.”

Create a positive work environment

While you don’t necessarily have to create a Google style culture, it’s important to cultivate an environment where employees are comfortable and happy. One part of doing this is ensuring your staff has easy access to human resources and knows there are processes in place protecting them as well as the company. This encourages an open door for staff to speak up if they’re uncomfortable or having problems, and therefore makes it more likely you’ll be able to handle things internally. Having these processes in place is key to being able to address internal issues correctly and avoiding potential litigation down the line.

 Stay Involved

By being involved with your staff and staying on top of what’s happening in the office, you can nip potential problems in the bud. Internal situations tend to have warning signs before they escalate and can be defused quite easily given the right attention. Speaking to the employees involved or implementing new procedures as necessary can be the difference between a simple conversation and litigation.

 

“Insurance exposure is one of the biggest threats facing modern businesses. Employees are probably one of the biggest risks businesses take, in the sense that they can bring with them work cover claims, wrongful dismissal claims, bullying or harassment claims…all of these things are realities employers have to be prepared for. The best thing to do to avoid these situations is to employ the right people at the start. Not just hiring those who have the right qualifications, but ensuring they fit within the dynamics of a business is crucial,” says Justin Schembri, our Traralgon Branch Manager.

 

While you can never completely remove the risk of litigation, there are steps to be taken to prevent it, including having a comprehensive insurance plan in place. Covering all your bases will let you rest easy knowing you have safeguards in place. For more tips, download our management liability essentials guide.

 

Not for Profit Entities – the Risks YOU Face!

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There are many misconceptions around about the cover afforded to not for profits under the Limited liability provisions of an incorporated body. The reality is that you hold the same responsibilities at law as a director of a publicly listed company and your personal assets may be at risk.

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Contract Reviews – A Danger Area for Brokers

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The following is an abridged version of  a paper presented by David Leggatt of DLA Piper at our annual National Conference.

Brokers owe a duty to their clients to advise them to the best of their knowledge. Unfortunately there are some cases where the circumstances go beyond the broker’s knowledge base, yet the duty remains. David provides some great advice for brokers dealing with contract reviews – which can prove to involve some very confusing, tricky and intimidating legal issues. 

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Directors and Officers’ Insurance Policies

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Are you a manager or director of a company? Sean Mackay runs through why directors and officers insurance is a good thing for your peace of mind

Directors and officers insurance policies offer liability cover for company managers to protect them from claims that may arise from the decisions and actions taken within the scope of their regular duties.

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