Want to save money on your Motor Fleet Insurance Premiums? Thought so.

Like many people I drive on the roads for work and leisure. What I find remarkable is the volume of vehicles on the road; every major town or city suffers from congestion at some time during the day and with this increased volume of traffic, is there any wonder that accidents happen? Indeed in 2016 there were in excess of 180,000 casualties, from minor injuries to fatalities, on UK roads. The good news is that the number of fatalities has actually decreased but the volume of accidents is still colossal.

Inevitably business drivers are at the forefront of this battle. They tend to drive the most miles at the busiest times and this means that they suffer a significant number of the reported accidents. Businesses are also often an easy target for people who choose to make spurious or exaggerated claims. Haulage and van fleets are particularly susceptible and it’s a fact that many drivers do not give larger vehicles the right amount of space to enable them to make the necessary manoeuvres and many claims can be contentious. 

Often business owners and fleet managers operate under the misguided belief that they can manage fault claims themselves which means there isn’t any necessity to report the incident to their own insurers which, they believe, will protect their insurance record and help them keep their premiums under control – the evidence proves otherwise.

If a claim is reported on day 1, the date of accident, to your insurer, this will allow them to contact the third party, arrange for the vehicle to be repaired quickly and minimise additional hire costs, storage charges and the potential for injuries and the associated legal costs. Financial evidence shows that if a fault claim is reported immediately it likely to be settled at a fraction of the cost of a claim that is reported in 30 days. Allianz Insurance Company have suggested that a claim reported 30 days after an incident will cost 4 times more than a claim reported at day 1. The implications for anyone operating a fleet are considerable as their claims record could be impacted negatively by late notifications and the inevitable consequence is that premiums will be higher than necessary.

The message is clear. Report claims as soon as possible to prevent costs escalating. To help with this process ProAktive will shortly be launching a new motor claims app which will operate on smart phones and allow third party data to be collected instantaneously with GPS mapping and the ability to upload photographs. Watch this space for further developments.

By Andy Morley, Group Managing Director

 

Mental Health Awareness and Employment – STRESS

This year Mental Health Awareness week is from the 14th to 20th May and is focusing on Stress. It therefore seems relevant to discuss Stress from the employers point of view and how this ties into the definition of a disability and discrimination.

Firstly when it comes to employment, the term disabled or defining someone as disabled isn’t determined by a doctor or medical professional, it is determined by the law.

Equality Act 2010: A person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantially adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. In the workplace such activities are taken to include things like using a telephone or computer, interacting with colleagues, following instructions, driving and carrying everyday objects.’

To put this into context it is worth considering the following case law: Herry v Dudley Metropolitan Council, this was finalised at the end of 2016.

Some facts about the case are as follows:

Employee was off work for three years with sick notes attributing absence to “stress at work”

After dismissal claimed that he had suffered direct discrimination on the grounds of disability.

When taken to Employment tribunal, the claim failed as they found that under the Equality Act he wasn’t considered disabled under the criteria set out above.

At the Appeal this decision was upheld and they commented that the claimant’s stress was “very largely a result of his unhappiness about what he perceives to have been unfair treatment of him”

This sets up the conversation nicely for the differences between stress and mental illness disorders; when it comes to the employment arena.

‘Stress’ is different to a disorder that would qualify someone to be considered disabled, in that there are usually definable environmental factors that are the cause. For example, excessive workloads or you’ve fallen out with your family as two simple examples. When you remove the factor you are able to continue your daily routine without any symptoms.

This is different to mental health disorders where there can be numerous contributors to the illness, i.e. genetics, biochemistry, personality and environmental factors. People suffering with a mental illness or disorder, even without the environmental factors, will continue to suffer and be affected over a long period of time, and often indefinitely.

For employers this means that care should be taken when dealing with employees who are signed off with stress (or refer to workplace stress on their sick notes) however it may not fall under the disability category.

Advice:

Investigate the cause of this stress and not rely solely on the doctors or medical professionals, as stress, anxiety and depression are terms often used loosely.

Find out whether stress is caused by a singular event or scenario, or whether there are numerous factors that could indicate a mental disorder.

For more information on Stress and Mental Health Awareness Week in general you can visit the Mental Health Foundation website here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt) – Risk Services Adviser

 

The evolving nature of terrorism

The terrorism threat level in the UK remains at Severe, following an unprecedented rise in terrorism attacks in recent times.

The nature of events, as evidenced at London Bridge and Borough Market with the use of handheld weapons and motor vehicles, has shown that the modern day terrorists are more likely to direct their actions towards causing human casualties, rather than causing property damage.

As terrorists move away from causing property damage, businesses are increasingly exposed to uninsured business interruption (BI) losses because terrorism policies typically require physical damage as a trigger for BI cover. Many businesses are discovering to their cost that most insurers don’t cover such losses unless there is at least some physical damage. 

Many clients currently purchase terrorism cover via Pool Re (which is the government’s reinsurance facility often provided as part of a commercial combined or property package), however, it is presently restricted by the 1993 Act only to pay out if physical damage has occurred to commercial property. The government are consulting over this matter in the hope this will change in the future, however, for now though these risks are uninsured.

Those in the retail, hospitality and entertainment sectors are particularly vulnerable to BI losses caused by the denial of access and subsequent loss of attraction that can follow events aimed solely at inflicting casualties, often in and around entertainment venues and tourist attractions. So, as well as damage to own and third-party property, you can now purchase cover that also responds to the use of vehicles, hand-held weapons and explosives devices aimed at causing death and injury.

The evolving nature of terrorism incidents brings a whole new set of risks and exposures not previously considered or catered for, particularly in relation to BI losses. Recognising this, especially if you are involved in any of the trades above – speaking to your insurance broker about these issues is vital.

By Dane Turner Dip CIIBroking Manager

 

How can the heat affect your staff?

Most of us love the hot weather. It’s great to get outdoors and have fun as the temperature rises but it’s not always comfortable. High temperatures can make work feel harder and it’s not uncommon to hear complaints that it’s too hot!

Most healthy people can cope with hot weather and adapt without problems but too much heat and sun can have consequences. Heat stress, sunburn or dehydration can have a serious impact on employees’ health.

Heat Stress

Heat stress can be a problem if working in high temperatures. Workplaces can soon get hot especially if hot and humid work processes take place. While it’s possible for employees can adapt over time, it’s important to recognise the symptoms so action can be taken to prevent harm to employees:

  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Cramps in muscles
  • Heat rashes
  • Severe thirst
  • Heat exhaustion – fatigue, giddiness, nausea, headache, moist skin
  • Heat stroke – hot dry skin, confusion, convulsions and eventual loss of consciousness

If you see someone suffering the above systems try and get them somewhere cool, give them water to drink and send for medical assistance.

What can we do to help prevent heat stress?

  • Use fans to circulate air. (Air conditioning if reasonably practicable.)
  • Temporarily relax dress rules so employees can wear cooler clothing, as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Provide information for employees so they are aware of the symptoms.
  • Provide periodic breaks away from the workplace.
  • Provide cool drinking water and encourage employees to drink small amounts frequently.

Sunburn

Sunbathing to get a tan is a popular activity at this time of year but getting sunburnt can be a painful experience. Often sunburn occurs before we know, only revealing itself after we have been exposed to the sun for too long. It’s important therefore to act before exposure. Ultraviolet rays from the sun damages skin (indicated by a sun tan) and can have short term and long-term effects:

  • Short term effects are obvious and include red, sore, blistering and peeling skin.
  • Longer term effects are much slower to appear and include, ageing of the skin, and an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

The best prevention of sunburn is to keep out of the sun, however this is not always easy to do when working outdoors. Advise and encourage employees to:

  • Stay out of the sun where possible – Take breaks in the shade
  • Keep their top on – wear long sleeved tops and keep legs covered
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat that will keep the sun off their head and neck
  • Use high factor sun creams on exposed skin
  • Provide drinking water and encourage employees to drink frequently to prevent dehydration
  • Encourage employees to check their skin regularly and seek medical advice if the find anything that itches or bleeding, changing colour, size or shape

Enjoy the sun and hot weather, winter will soon be here, but stay well informed and let’s do it sensibly.

By Ainslie Johnson GradIOSHRisk Consultant

Do Bloggers & Vloggers Need Insurance?

Everyday there are millions of blog posts finding their way onto the internet, be it in a professional or personal capacity. Within our blogs we see all trends from lifestyle to corporate being littered with alleged facts, quotes, assertions and pictures within them.

Whether it’s a pastime, paid work, or an extension of your business online, you’re liable for whatever content your blog pushes out onto the net from the moment your hit ‘publish’.

As a blogger, vlogger or influencer, the risks you’re exposed to are global. Specialist cover is essential. 

What if:

  • You get your facts wrong or you say the wrong thing?
  • You post other peoples images? Do you have the right permissions and licences?
  • You publish someone else’s content? Who owns the copyright?
  • You’re holding peoples data? How safe is the data of your subscribers  and how good is your Privacy Policy?

You could have a lawsuit on your hands if you find you have damaged the good reputation of someone. Everything you do and say on social media could affect your reputation.

What could you be liable for?

  • Defamation: Saying something on your blog which could damage an individual’s or company’s reputation.
  • Infringement of intellectual property rights: There is very little understanding surrounding copyright status. Every time you post a photo, logo or include copy from another article without permission you are treading on thin ice!
  • Illegal content– Some content is prohibited and can not only lead to legal action but also imprisonment.
  • Harassment – Causing distress or anxiety through threatening, indecent or false communication is a criminal offence which can come with a fine of up to £5000 and a 6 month jail term under The Malicious Communications Act 1988 and The Communications Act 2003.

Carrying insurance cover for these risks could be essential for anyone who could be sued for making a mistake and especially important for influencers and bloggers who are very active online. Call us on 01302 341 344 to speak to us in more detail about this type of cover.

 

ProAktive Flood Management for Sheffield’s Lower Don Valley

ProAktive’s Broking Director, Beverley Brown, has been working on a unique project in conjunction with the Sheffield Chamber, Sheffield City Council and Local Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to make insurers aware of the work that has gone on in the Sheffield Lower Don Valley over the last few years to protect businesses from flooding. Nearly £20m has been spent in total on flood defences, with a contribution made by the businesses themselves by way of a separate levy, in proportion to their size. The work is now complete and, with ProAktive’s help, businesses in the affected area are beginning to see the positive impact of this on their insurance arrangements. 

Before the work was carried out most insurers would not have been prepared to write flood cover for any businesses in the affected area. However following the completion of the work the Environment Agency is updating their maps which will show, going forward, that the flood risk is much reduced & risks should be insurable. However, because it takes time for this data to work through into insurer systems ProAktive has been working with insurers locally to make them aware of the project and obtain commitment from them, so that, with their local knowledge, they can look favourably on risks in this area even before their maps are updated.

The insurers involved so far have been Aviva, Axa, Allianz, Zurich & NIG – all of whom have visited the area & seen the works for themselves. Underwriters/surveyors are aware of the project & should be prepared to factor in this new knowledge into their underwriting.

Because of our involvement, ProAktive have a unique insight into the project and we are well placed to offer insurance and risk management advice to companies in the affected area.

If you would like to discuss this project or how we can help you with your business insurance requirements, please contact Beverley or one of our Account Executives on 01302 341 344.

Health & Safety Sentencing Guidelines

It is now just over two years since the new sentencing guidelines were introduced for health and safety offences in the UK and it seems that courts were not reluctant to impose very large fines for health & safety failings in 2017. Some notable fines – for companies such as London and Southeastern Railways (LSER), Iceland Foods Ltd and Warburton’s Ltd – and custodial sentences were given to individuals who were found to have breached health and safety legislation.

The guidelines aimed to ensure that fines imposed in such cases were “sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with health and safety legislation.”

Over the last year, a number of cases saw fines in excess of £1 million being handed down, including for non-fatal cases.

The ten highest fines imposed in 2017 ranged from £1.35 million to £3 million. 

Total fines for health and safety offences rose by more than £30 million in 2016-17, to equal £69.9 million, with the average fine per case more than doubling from 2015/16 levels to reach approximately £126,000.

It is believed that the increasing trend for high fines and custodial sentences will continue throughout 2018.

H.P.A.S. Limited, trading as Safestyle UK, recently pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £850,000 with £1,083 in costs.

The HSE’s investigation found:

  • the company’s system for planning work at height was inadequate in that it failed to ensure that work was carried out in a safe manner
  • windows were not routinely installed from the inside
  • ladders were used in a way that constituted serious risk
  • there was no system of monitoring or supervision in place
  • operatives were left to their own devices.

It is not just large companies that are facing larger fines. A scaffolding company has been sentenced for safety breaches after a 16-year-old apprentice joiner fell approximately four metres from a scaffold platform.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court was told how, on 6 September 2016, the apprentice was passing roof tiles from the loading bay to a colleague on the scaffold when he caught his foot in a gap between the scaffold platform and the loading bay. He fell backwards under a single guard rail to the ground below, sustaining injuries including a fractured cheekbone, broken wrist and injuries to his ribs. He also required 13 stitches for a deep cut above his left eye.

After investigation, the HSE found the loading bay edge protection did not include an intermediate guard-rail or toe board.

The scaffolding company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £918 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Trisha Elvy, commented: “This case highlights the importance of following well known industry guidance to design and erect scaffolding in a safe manner. A fall from this height could have easily been fatal.”

The HSE makes it clear that everyone has the right to return home safe and well at the end of their working day. Workers should feel they are well protected at work, with suitable measures in place to control risks.

Higher fines and more severe punishments for individuals underline just how seriously health and safety failings by companies will be taken. It’s so important that companies continue to review their health and safety policies and procedures and their risk assessments and that they provide regular training to help educate and protect their staff. As the above shows, the financial and human costs of not doing this can be massive.

To speak to us about how we can help you manage health and safety in your workplace, contact Ken Stevens on 01302 341 344.

 
 

 

Employment Updates to look out for…

May 2018 sees the introduction of GDPR which will replace the Data Protection Act, however this is not the only change that is being proposed this year when it comes to Employment Law.

Although they may not be implemented by the end of 2018, here are some others pieces of legislation to keep an eye on:

CEO/Worker Pay Gap Reporting 

The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced that draft legislation requiring all listed companies to reveal the pay ratio between their CEO and an average worker is likely to be published before July 2018.

The government already announced a range of corporate governance reforms in August 2017 which included:

  • New measures on ‘Employee Voice’ in company boardrooms
  • A public register of listed companies that have faced significant shareholder opposition to executive pay packages

Trade Secrets Directive

This directive introduces an EU wide definition of ‘Trade Secret’. Information will be considered a trade secret if:

  • It is secret, in the sense that it is not generally known or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with this kind of information
  • It has commercial value because it is secret
  • It has been subject to reasonable steps (under the circumstances) to keep it secret by the person lawfully in control of the information.

There is currently no definition of a trade secret in the UK, therefore the introduction of this directive may lead to some debates, especially surrounding unlawful acquisitions of this information.

Grandparental Leave

In March 2016, the government announced that they were looking to extend shared parental leave and pay to grandparents by 2018. The May 2016 consultation did not take place and the current government hasn’t indicated whether they will be pursuing this policy.

This will be an interesting development and many are calling for it as grandparents are playing an increasing role in caring for children, as well as individuals working till later in their lives.

Parental Bereavement Bill

The government confirmed its backing for a private members bill called the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill which is currently progressing through parliament.

This will entitle employees who lose a child under the age of 18, to two weeks leave, paid at the statutory rate if they have been an employee for at least 26 weeks.

If you would like to talk to our HR Consultancy Team, please call for Angela, Louise, Jodi or Kris on 01302 341 344.

Your contents are covered, but does that matter?

If we talk about suffering a major loss at your premises, you will most likely think about your assets – buildings, plant, machinery, stock etc. If you didn’t insure them, how could you continue to operate? Knowing that if a significant loss were to occur, you would get all of your physical items replaced meaning you could start to operate again. But is this enough? Will you still be trading?

After a major loss, many companies do not recover as they still have outgoings to pay and income may have completely stopped. One of the most significant parts of your insurance is the business interruption section. Business Interruption Insurance (BII) can cover the loss of profit you have suffered up until you are back to the same financial position you were before the loss, not just until you are up and running again.

Having BII may not be enough. Too many times we see prospective clients with inadequate indemnity limits (length of cover). When you start to rebuild your property after site clearance, architectural plans, planning permission etc. it could take up to a year to rebuild! If you have to reorder a piece of machinery from abroad, how long will it take to reach you? Will you have lost your clients to competitors during this time? Again, bear in mind the cover is until the business is financially back to the same position you were at before the loss, not just until you are back up and trading.

A few of the things you need to consider when looking at your BII limits are as follows:

  • Pre-rebuild – investigation time, planning permission, site clearance.
  • Rebuilding the premises – listed buildings or conservation areas, trade body approvals for fit outs, sourcing rebuild materials.
  • Rebuilding the business – machinery lead times and installation, contract lead times, suppliers of stock, loss of clients.

Business Interruption is one of the most important covers to help your business recover if you suffer a major loss. Please contact your account manager or a member of our team if you would like to discuss further.

Doncaster           01302 341344

Sheffield             0114 243 9914

By Rachel Storey DipCII – Account Executive

 

 

 

 

ISO 45001 : The new international standard for Occupational Health & Safety

What’s ISO 45001?

ISO 45001:2018 is the replacement to OHSAS 18001 and is the international ISO standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS).

Not only has the standard superseded OHSAS 18001, it makes integration with other management systems simpler than ever before; because it shares the new common structure defined by Annex SL, it is directly aligned with the 2015 versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

ISO 45001 will bring OH&S management and continual improvement into the core of an organisation. This new standard is an opportunity for organisations to align their OH&S management system with their strategic direction.

Implications & Migration to ISO 45001

If you have certification to OHSAS 18001 you will need to migrate to ISO 45001 to maintain the validity of certification.

There is a 3-year migration period so there is time to plan your move over to ISO 45001 

What’s new?

The clauses map those in other international standards:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership [and worker participation]
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

Main differences between ISO 45001 & BS OHS 18001

Focus on:

  • The context in which the organisation operates
  • The engagement of leadership in delivering H&S
  • Providing evidence through documented information

Also:

  • Worker participation
  • Continual improvement
  • Hierarchy of control
  • Risk and opportunities
  • Compliance status
  • Supply chain
  • KPIs

What will be the benefits of using ISO 45001?

An ISO 45001 based OH&S management system will enable an organisation to improve its OH&S performance by:

  • Developing and implementing an OH&S policy and OH&S objectives
  • Establishing systematic processes which consider its ‘context’ and which take into account its risks and opportunities, and its legal and other requirements
  • Determining the hazards and OH&S risks associated with its activities; seeking to eliminate them, or putting in controls to minimize their potential effects
  • Establishing operational controls to manage its OH&S risks and its legal and other requirements
  • Increasing awareness of its OH&S risks
  • Evaluating its OH&S performance and seeking to improve it, through taking appropriate actions
  • Ensuring workers take an active role in OH&S matters

In combination, these measures will ensure that an organisation’s reputation as a safe place to work will be promoted, and can have more direct benefits, such as:

  • Improving its ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues
  • Reducing the overall costs of incidents
  • Reducing downtime and the costs of disruption to operations
  • Reducing the cost of insurance premiums
  • Reducing absenteeism and employee turnover rates
  • Recognition for having achieved an international benchmark (which may in turn influence customers who are concerned about their social responsibilities)

The next steps:

Once you decide that certification is right for you, the first steps include learning more about ISO 45001 and then establishing how your organisation compares against the requirements of the standard. This helps identify any gaps or weaknesses in your current health and safety management system, so you can assess what work is required to achieve certification.

If you require any further information or assistance in carrying out a ISO 45001 Gap Analysis or implementing ISO 45001 please contact ProAktive on 01302 341344.

By Ken Stevens CMIOSH – Risk Services Manager