Health and Safety can make you feel ill

Posted by 16 March, 2013 (0) Comment

This month is about the perils of consultants who, errr, don’t consult, why anyone offering insurance as an “add-on” should be carefully checked, and the scale of the trail of damage they can create.

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‘Elf & safety chancers

 

My hotelier clients are truly wonderful people. Like myself, they ensure that their clients get a good night’s sleep 🙂

One of them called me the other week and asked if their insurance covered them for the new regulations. “I must have missed something… what new regulations?”

It transpired that a Health & Safety consultant had turned up out of the blue,  making out they were some sort of official and asked to look around.  After lots of tutting, he then told the hotel staff that their boss was going to be jailed if they didn’t sign a contract for three years advice.

Putting the frighteners on (best gravelly voice required)

 

The fact the hotel already had an up to date and robust Health & Safety policy hadn’t crossed the consultant’s mind. He just wanted to scare people into signing up. It’s why Health & Safety has such a bad name. It’s used to frighten people into parting with their hard earned money instead of protecting people as they go about their day to day life.

Even worse than “the frighteners”, is the fact he included insurance in his offering. This would have been, in part, a duplication of cover that was already in place. What’s wrong with dual insurance, I hear you ask?  Well, it causes delays at the very least, because each insurance company will suggest that the other is responsible for settlement , a case of “after you, Claude”.

So who pays – not the con man

 

In the worst case scenario, it can lead to claims being declined because insurance companies get a bee in their bonnet when they assume that claimants are trying to claim twice. It’s seldom true – people resent the hassle of insurance, never mind paying for it twice. It can lead to policies being cancelled because of something called non – disclosure.

And it doesn’t end there. If someone’s policy is cancelled by an insurance provider then they must inform future insurance providers of the cancelled policy, at the time that they are seeking alternative insurance solutions. Insurance companies can void the claims of those who have an an incidence of non-disclosed cancellation.

If the current insurer decides to increase their policy premiums because they suffered losses elsewhere in their portfolio, you wouldn’t want to be stuck with them forever.

Wrap up: Health & Safety is important, yet should be treated as a way to prevent issues, rather than be used as a stick to beat people with.

Top tip: Check your Health & safety, employment tribunal and other business protection practices do not include duplicated insurance.

Categories : Accountants Insurance,After The Event,All Risks Insurance,Building Contractor,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements,Health & Safety,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Personal Insurance,Solicitors indemnity,Solicitors insurance,Trade,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cowboys and Insurers catch policyholders in bug fight

Posted by 11 February, 2013 (0) Comment

This article looks at why insurance companies are not paying out on as many claims as they normally would, why inflated claims are not usually due to policyholders being greedy and how insurance companies can reduce costs by settling promptly.

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Insurance payouts on the decline

 

The Money section of The Sunday Times confirmed that insurers are using the current climate as an excuse to decline more claims than they normally would. The report confirms that 41% more claims are being needlessly declined, and this suggests a shift by all insurers to look at things with a “fine tooth comb”. The Association of British Insurers argues that insurance companies are always willing to pay valid claims quickly and speedily.

However, the Association of British Insurers do not deal with claims on a daily basis… I do, and I can confirm, categorically, that insurance companies are using any excuse and making people fight to get what they are contractually obliged to. Yes, your insurance policy is a contract, and they should be honouring the terms and conditions, rather than using spurious clauses to avoid making a fair settlement.

 

Someone is going to draw their weapon… smallprint?

 

One of the examples The Time reported was when an insurance company tried to decline paying a claim for damage caused by a water leak, by referring to woodworm that was found in the floorboards where the damage occurred. They stated that woodworm was not covered by the policy, and they are right. However, the claim was not for damage caused by woodworm, it was for damage caused by a leak, which every policy covers, unless there is a specific exclusion due to previous claims or unusual circumstances.

There is a good reason why this happens so often. Regrettably, people who are involved in the claims process sometimes make simple situations far more complicated than necessary.  In this particular case, the builder decided to mentioned woodworm in their report, encouraging the home-owner to have the woodworm repaired. On one hand, you can’t really blame a contractor for mentioning it. On the other hand, small print in the insurance contract meant that the home-owner initially didn’t get paid for something they should have been paid for. Fortunately, they didn’t give up.

 

Can’t we all just get along?

 

A better way to deal with it would have been to issue a report on the water leak, and issue a separate report for the woodworm, or estimate for fixing the problem. Sometimes the insurance company appoint contractors, and whenever they do, my head starts to hurt. Recent cases I have dealt with include an appointed inspection company visiting a premises three times because they failed to carry out a correct “validation” on the first and second occasions.

Our nationwide Insurance companies and local contractors can, and should be encouraged to, work together quickly and cohesively, in order to help their mutual clients, because they are clients to both parties. Local work keeps costs down and quality contractors work hard because repeat business is really important to them. Insurers only make a profit on repeat business so it makes more sense to keep clients happy instead of  leaving them hanging.  

 

Wrap up: The Times article finished off by recommending that policyholders enlist the help of their insurance broker. I would not recommend anyone to report any claim to any insurance company, until they have taken the advice of someone who understands why insurers decline claims, and can make sure it never happens.

Top Tip: When you are choosing any insurance always call the claims line before you make a purchase. This will give you clues as to how your claim is going to be dealt with, especially if they fail to answer the phone quickly, put you in a call queuing system, fail to call you back, or are downright ignorant. It is the claims department who will ensure that you get what you deserve, so it makes sense to try before you buy.

Who to share this with: SME Business Owners & Contractors.

 

Categories : Accountants Insurance,After The Event,All Risks Insurance,Building Contractor,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements,Health & Safety,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Personal Insurance,Solicitors indemnity,Solicitors insurance,Trade,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Business Insurance has a hidden weakness – does your policy protect you properly?

Posted by 4 November, 2009 (0) Comment

Insurance claim departments are taking a hard nosed approach – make sure you’re covered

 

I recently heard about three businesses who have been robbed of £250,000 assets and their company insurance is not paying out. Today, I heard about another case of a business getting caught out and insurers used terrible judgement to decline the insurance claim.  I am trying to use the information superhighway to show you how to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or people you know that run businesses.

The scene of the crime

Criminals have been climbing into manholes and cutting telephone lines at targeted premises. This triggers the alarm and Police and a member of staff attend the premises. There’s absolutely no evidence of a break-in so the Police and staff withdraw. After everyone has left the premises are then broken into yet the alarm doesn’t sound because the lines have already been Read the rest of this entry

Categories : All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Want to secure cashflow despite bad luck?

Posted by 5 October, 2009 (0) Comment

 

Fire risk assessments are not exactly high on the list of priorities for everyone. Some small businesses might think fire evacuation procedures are not important. So spare a thought for the business owner in Scotland who didn’t think a fire would ever affect his organisation.

The business was unlucky enough to suffer a fire and they didn’t have an evacuation procedure, they probably couldn’t find the time to do it – especially as there 101 other things to do every week to keep the business afloat.

 

The fire brigade arrived yet the absence of an evacuation procedure (which should be tried and tested) meant that no-one at the premises could tell the brigade if anyone was left in the building. Read the rest of this entry

Categories : All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,General Requirements,Health & Safety Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Health & Safety Inspections – coming soon?

Posted by 15 September, 2009 (0) Comment

 

On the spot fines following these inspections have been increased to £20,000. Find out if your business is at risk and review our 7 free top tips on Health & Safety.

There are three reasons why you may hear from the health & safety “police”. All of them are beyond your control. Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements,Health & Safety Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Customer Service – Where did it all go wrong?

Posted by 1 September, 2009 (0) Comment

 

I recently read an article in a newsletter from marketing expert Dave Croydon, Hilltop Consultancy. David was voicing his concern that automated telephone systems were of little benefit to customers, going as far as to call them a “customer disservice”.

The article mentioned that we wouldn’t accept it from the emergency services yet we’re already having to. My Mum broke her ankle last year and called me. Being made of stronger stuff than some of the celebrity icons of today, Mum didn’t want to bother the Ambulance service until she was sure it was broken. It was and I dialed the famous three digits, something we all dread.

How annoying to be put on hold by an automated system that informed me I was in a queue, at 9am on a Thursday morning.  I was very, very Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Customer Service Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,