Tag: liability (page 1 of 2)

KEEPING UP WITH THE WORKPLACE REVOLUTION

Virtual-Assistant-keyboard

New Liabilities for Virtual Assistants

Have you noticed the significant shift in the workplace lately, as managers begin to appreciate the value of offsite services from Virtual Assistants?

The benefits of being a Virtual Assistant include greater flexibility, spending less time and money commuting, a happier, more productive day and a chance to be your own boss.

For business, the cost of technology and telecommunication services to allow for remote work has also never been cheaper. This allows for greater flexibility in workforce management and reduced overheads such as office rental, equipment, superannuation and human resource management to name just a few. The business can now select the best-skilled worker for the job, no matter where they live.

An added benefit for the business is it can limit liability by contracting out the work to a Virtual Assistant. By taking on the work, a VA owes a “duty of care” to the business in the performance of the services. Any negligence, mistake or error in the services provided could result in a claim against the Virtual Assistant. For this reason, a Virtual Assistant should consider these insurance policies to protect themselves properly:

Professional Indemnity Insurance

This is likely to be the greatest risk for Virtual Assistants who provide professional services. The policy will cover legal costs to defend against allegations of a mistake in the advice provided and any resulting damages award or settlement amounts agreed to.

Here is a typical claim example:

A Virtual Assistant provides website management and social media updates on behalf of a business. A third party alleges the content of the post is misleading and deceptive and the third party sues the business. The business, in turn, joins the Virtual Assistant as a defendant to the action or the business may seek to redeem all associated costs and expenses from the Virtual Assistant after the claim is finalised.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber liability is the fastest growing insurance risk in Australia. The policy will cover claims where a loss of personal data results in a breach of privacy or a hacker attacks the Virtual Assistant system.

Here is a typical claim example:

A Virtual Assistant provides bookkeeping services on behalf of a business. The Virtual Assistant’s system is hacked by a cyber criminal and the personal records of the business’s clients are stolen. The hacker also inserts malware to encrypt the system and a virus, which is passed back to the business and infects their system also. A cyber policy will cover the cost of a ransom payment, the costs to restore and recollect any lost data, the costs to remove malware and fix your system and any business your system infected and the loss of income during the downtime, as a result of the hack.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance covers the Virtual Assistant if they cause bodily injury or property damage to a third party. However, most Virtual Assistants wouldn’t usually be that hands-on nor have foot traffic. This presents a significantly lower exposure and would result in greatly reduced insurance costs. It’s important to remember that many domestic home insurance policies will specifically exclude any claims resulting from business-related services.

Here is a typical claim example:

A work-related delivery is sent to your home, it could be documents, products, samples etc. The delivery person falls and suffers a serious back injury as the handrail on the stairs to the front door gives way. The delivery person sues the Virtual Assistant for bodily injury claiming negligence for a poorly maintained and unsafe handrail. The policy would cover legal costs and damages award against the Virtual Assistant

Some businesses will require the Virtual Assistant to maintain a minimum level of insurance cover before they can even commence working. We expect this mandatory requirement to keep growing, as the use of Virtual Assistants continues to grow with it.

Each individual Virtual Assistant’s insurance needs will be unique and we’ll work with you to find the best possible protection.

For a FREE ‘’no obligation’’ discussion about your insurance needs, get in touch with Amy O’Sullivan from Adroit Insurance Group on amyo@adroitig.com.au or call 03 5331 8317.

Protecting your business against unique risks

Different, leader, best, unique, boss, individuality, original, special concept

Do you think it would be simple to walk into someone else’s office, warehouse or factory and make that business run smoothly? If you had to swap with the business next door, suddenly, without making any of your own adjustments to layout – how successful do you think that would be?

If you think that would be a total disaster, you’re probably right. Every business is unique – each one has its own story, its own way of doing things, its own unique group of customers.

No two businesses are alike, even within the same industry. Across multiple differing industries these differences become even more apparent – a large business in the construction industry, for example, faces very different risks to a small hairdressing business or pet parlor at a local shopping centre. So why should they all share the same level of insurance cover? Every business has its own unique set of risks as part of its corresponding industry and individual needs.

One of the main advantages of selecting an industry-specific insurance policy over a more generalised product is that your insurance broker will provide advice on the things you might never have even considered. This involves a comprehensive understanding of your industry, developing personal relationships and delving to discover exactly what risks your business is exposed to, then protecting you from those risks with a comprehensive, bespoke insurance solution at the best possible price. Insurance experts are adept at recognising risks, and they have the experience of working with all kinds of businesses and seeing where others have gotten into trouble – what is an unexpected event for you is something they have probably seen before – and already have a plan in place to address.

Tailored insurance policies for businesses are available to a number of different industries including:

– Agriculture and Viticulture
– Construction
– Hospitality
– Entertainment
– Manufacturing
– Property
– Retail
– Trades
– Engineering
– Professional Services

Within your corresponding industry we will design an insurance solution that’s specifically tailored to you and your individual business needs, allowing you to rest easy knowing that your business is protected from any unexpected and unforeseen occurrences.

A friendly chat with one of our brokers is all it takes to get the ball rolling – make the call today and give yourself the gift of peace of mind with comprehensive cover specific to your needs.

 

Why do engineers need comprehensive insurance cover?

Capacitor Ground Component Circuit Electronics

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!

not for profit

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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