Home' Inclean : INCLEAN Jan-Feb 2017 Contents 42 INCLEAN January/February 2017
By: Dale Mackney*
For busy cleaning companies it may
seem preferable to forego insurance
coverage where it is not insisted upon
by clients, especially given that the cost
of premiums, and in some cases, the
difficulty in obtaining cover. However, cleaning businesses must
consider whether they would be able to afford to defend a claim
against them, even if not at fault, let alone a payout if they are found
liable for injury or damage. The time taken to secure insurance now,
may save a lot of stress and cost in the future.
The key insurances for cleaners to consider are:
• Public liability insurance – this covers injury to other people or
damage to property not owned by you, which is caused by your work
• Income protection – this covers you if you are injured and unable
to work for a period of time
• Tools, machinery and equipment cover – this covers the equipment you
use in the course of your work from loss such as damage and theft.
Despite insurance cover being part of sound business practice,
many employers will also generally require cleaning companies
to obtain public liability insurance cover to ensure that injuries
or damage caused by a cleaner will be covered by the cleaner’s
insurance rather than their own. Claims generally result in increased
premiums, and it makes sense that employers would prefer
responsibility, liability, and ultimately increased costs, would be
borne by the cleaner.
Why are some insurers choosing not to offer cover to commercial
cleaners in shopping centres?
Cleaners performing work for some shopping centres have found it
difficult to secure public liability insurance for this work. This is due
to significant losses experienced in this area by insurance underwriters.
The cost of slip and fall claims in particular, can run into the hundreds
of thousands if a person suffers significant injuries, which shopping
centres are often making the responsibility of cleaners.
Even where the claims are fraudulent, such as individuals looking
for wet areas and deliberately falling over so they can make a claim,
without proof of fraud, payouts are made. The cost of investigating
fraudulent claims by insurers may amount to nothing and are an
additional expense for insurers.
So what can shopping centre cleaners do?
Shopping centre cleaners have a range of options, including:
• Seek the services of a reputable insurance broker who has access to
a number of insurers and policies, to assist them in finding public
liability cover that provides sufficient protection
• Engage a legal advisor or contracting professional to assist in
contract negotiations, to explore whether there are opportunities
to share insurance risk or premium costs with shopping centres
• Create cleaning procedures that include reducing the risk of injury
to people or damage to property during the conduct of their
cleaning activities, such as placing barriers and warning signs
around wet areas and ensuring cleaning equipment is stored away
from shoppers to reduce trip hazards
• Maintain a detailed incident report. This will aid in dealing with
any claim into the future. The statute of limitations is three years
in most states, and most people will struggle to recall particulars of
an incident even a month after occurring.
Domestic cleaners are not immune when it comes to public
liability matters. Remember that each claim made can result in an
increased premium for future cover. What are the common risks
for domestic cleaners?
Navigating insurance and risk
within the cleaning industry
It is essential that commercial and domestic cleaners secure adequate insurance coverage
to protect themselves and their businesses. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for
commercial cleaners to secure public liability cover. Bluewell Insurance Brokers managing
director Dale Mackney explores the key issues facing the cleaning industry when it comes to
obtaining insurance and how to reduce the risk of making a claim.
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