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View Full Version : Flats mgt. co.- employer liability for casual contractor?



Harry
07-08-2008, 16:00 PM
I've just had the new insurance quote for our block of flats - I'm both a resident and the managing agent.

As we have a Lithuanian lad who calls every fortnight to straighten the garden, I asked if we shouldn't have employee insurance, just in case he electrocutes himself while he was cutting the hedge.

The insurance company branch said that as he worked for other blocks as well, he was self employed, and there was no risk attached to us.

Can that be correct?

jeffrey
07-08-2008, 16:10 PM
Does he himself carry insurance? Lithuanian or not [why's that relevant, by the way?], it would be in his interests.

Harry
07-08-2008, 17:00 PM
I think not, but even if he has insurance, that wouldn't absolve us from legal responsibility for his welfare while he was working for us, would it?

jeffrey
07-08-2008, 17:06 PM
No, but it might be of benefit to him.
If law defines your company as his employer, which is conceivable, you'd be unable- by law- to exclude/disclaim liability for personal injury.

tenant29
07-08-2008, 18:50 PM
The standard block of flats insurance policies normally include building cover plus employee liability and public liability, alternative accommodation , subsidence and water escape etc and terrorism as extra.

You would not want to exclude any cover as any inadequate cover in the event of a large claim would leave you liable.

Are you in a big block of flats ?

Harry
07-08-2008, 19:16 PM
There are only nine flats in the block. The insurance office said that public liability would cover us in case of a claim by the gardener, or any other workman, as they were not strictly our employees - but I don't feel easy about it.

paulb67
07-08-2008, 19:39 PM
Hi Harry

Tenant29's advice is good, but the help you're getting from the insurer is disappointing. They may be technically correct, but they've left you uncertain. Are they trying to hide the fact that their policy doesn't include Employers Liability as per Tenant29 advice.

As insurer says almost certainly a Public Liability (PL) issue as the gardener is not employed by you. In previous posts I've said there's a difference between engaging someone and employing them.

However I would also agree with Jeffrey that possibility that gardener could be considered employee and in the event of the gardener being injured, this could involve you in an Employers Liability (EL) claim.

Check that you policy covers both. It should but again I've mentioned in previous posts that there are some policies that don't include automatically. If not automatic don't panic about the cost. To add will range from nothing to £50.

If you already have both EL & PL end of story, no need for debate as to which section covers.

Last thought. You say that you are also the managing agent (MA). If as MA you engage or employ the gardener, same issues as above, but you need to check your own business insurance policy as well as ensuring that the Buildings policy covers EL & PL.

Hope this helps.

Harry
07-08-2008, 20:01 PM
Thanks. I'd be quite happy for EL to be added - I rang the insurer's office simply because I noted that on the policy, the optional cover hadn't been added. When we are paying £1,300 for cover, an extra £50 hardly matters.

However, they were adamant that we didn't need it. Technically, I suppose I am also an employee, as I am paid a small sum to manage the block.

Anyway, when I send them a cheque for the premium, I intend to put in writing the fact that I had inquired, and that they had given me a certain answer, so if something does go wrong, the liability will fall on them.

paulb67
07-08-2008, 20:20 PM
Hi Harry

Glad the advice helped.

£1,300 for 9 flats!! Can't wait to see the flood of comments on that one.

I appreciate that you're putting everything in writing but it's not enough.

Employers Liability is a statutory requirement. If you're prosecuted and fined the letter to the insurer won't help you. (The new Corporate Manslaughter legislation is also in the background as well as a host of other heavy sounding legislation).

Buy the Employers Liability cover NOW.

Must be a mad insurer that won't take your money for this cover!

Must be dozens of brokers and insurers reading this desperate to put their telephone number on this thread. (Who is going to be first?)

specialist
08-08-2008, 08:11 AM
No 2 policies are the same
I feel too many generic replies are being given ! some policies do include EL for tradesmen such as this guy. Also does he have public liability in case he perhaps damages a neighbours property with the trimmer etc

Please contact me direct so that I can resolve this factualy for you, and any
others in a similar situation

ashburnham
08-08-2008, 08:15 AM
Must be dozens of brokers and insurers reading this desperate to put their telephone number on this thread. (Who is going to be first?)

OK then.... 0800 1696....STOP that would be spamming :D

Seriously though, we don't offer Employers Liability on landlords policies any more. It is something all our companies have pulled out of in the last few years. I don't know why as I can't recall any claims of this sort ever. I think it was just the possibility of a large claim that was worrying them as EL has to be £5M minimum.

Harry, the only way EL would cover you anyway is if the workman was your "employee" and to be classed as this, you would need to pay them a "wage". Assuming you are just paying them for each visit they make on an individual contract basis, then they are not an employee and therefore EL would be worthless.

If you were deemed liable for anything (I can't think what, but if you were) then you should have public/personal liability cover within your building policy which would cover this.

tenant29
08-08-2008, 12:51 PM
There are only nine flats in the block. The insurance office said that public liability would cover us in case of a claim by the gardener, or any other workman, as they were not strictly our employees - but I don't feel easy about it.


How big is each flat in sq ft ?

What is the declared value for building re-instatement ?

Is your quoted cover for a "block of flats policy " or just " buildings insurance policy" ?

jeffrey
08-08-2008, 12:55 PM
No 2 policies are the same.I feel too many generic replies are being given ! Some policies do include EL for tradesmen such as this guy. Also does he have public liability in case he perhaps damages a neighbours property with the trimmer etc

Please contact me direct so that I can resolve this factualy for you, and any
others in a similar situation
Yes, we know that you want customers. That shouldn't intrude on Forum questions and answers, should it? Your concerns (3rd and 4th sentences) have already been ventilated in earlier posts, factually.

paulb67
08-08-2008, 13:50 PM
Hi Harry

I thought that it may be of interest to mention that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) produce a very good guide to Employers Liability cover.

You can view it on the website or download a copy.

Their address is www.hse.gov.uk

Type in Employers Liability in their serach box and it should be the first item on the list.