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About Public Liability Insurance
Public liability Insurance covers claims made against your business, if its owners, directors, employees or sub contractors are shown to be responsible for injury or damage to third parties or their property.
As we live in a society where the first call after an accident is often to a solicitor rather than the hospital, public liability insurance is something all businesses need to take very seriously.
Consider the following examples where Public Liability Insurance Ireland will provide cover:
You run a plumbing company. One day you are called to an office to sort out a problem in their kitchen. Accidentally, you burst a pipe, and flood the office. Your client then makes a claim against you for the damage to their carpet and computer systems which have been damaged by the water.
You are a building contractor. While walking along scaffolding one of your employees drops a piece of equipment which falls to the street, injuring a passing pedestrian. The pedestrian makes a claim against your firm.
What else should I know?
Public liability insurance also includes cover for any legal costs associated with defending claims against the business. Premiums will depend on a number of factors including the type of business, number of employees, previous claims & projected turnover.
Public liability cover also includes Products cover to include claims arising out of defective products. This is commonly known as products liability insurance.
Public Liability insurance is often referred to as PL Insurance on tender documents.
Public Liability Insurance is part of an overall insurance package. You may also require employers’ liability insurance, contractors all risks insurance, personal accident insurance, machinery insurance.
Please client on the relevant policy type for more information or contact us today to discuss your insurance needs.
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What are the limits of cover?
The normal Public Liability Insurance limits available on the Irish Market are €6,500,000 [€6.5M] or €2,600,000 [€2.6M]. Usually €2.6M is adequate for the majority of activities in Ireland although some contracts will require €6.5M cover.
Please note that higher limits are also available up to €50,000,000 [€50M] if required.
What happens when a claim occurs?
If an incident occurs the process is simple long as you have Public Liability Insurance in place.
- The injured party (plaintiff) makes a claim against you for their injury
- You notify Keystone Insurance, your insurance brokers.
- You carry on with your job
- You provide the insurers with any information they ask for
- The insurance company deals with the legal complexities
- If the claim is found against you (you lose) the insurance company pays the compensation & legal costs
- If the claim is found for you (you win) the insurance company collects the legal costs from the plaintiff Without Public Liability Insurance the process is not quite so straightforward.
- The injured party (plaintiff) makes a claim against you for their injury
- You find a solicitor
- You provide the solicitor with any information they ask for
- You pay the solicitors costs, the normal starting point is €5,000
- You may decide to settle ‘out of court’ and you will pay the compensation along with the legal costs etc
- You decide to go to court and if you lose you pay compensation and legal costs.
- If you win you have still to pay your legal costs
Obviously the cost of public liability insurance is a factor which prevents companies from arranging Public Liability Insurance however costs have fallen dramatically in recent years so you have nothing to lose by requesting a quote from Keystone – why not contact us today for a quote?
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Q. Why is Public Liability Insurance so Important for Irish Contractors?
For the Construction Industry, Public Liability Insurance in today’s litigious society is more important than ever. As a construction contractor, it is essential that your business holds public liability insurance as your business activities mean that you can be sued by the public for your negligence. Although the ‘claims culture’ in Ireland is not as rampant as in the USA or the UK, more and more people, instead of accepting that loss or damage can happen by accident, are encouraged to believe that it must have been through someone’s negligence – with the result that they sue hence the need for Public Liability Insurance. In particular, the arrival & growth of ‘no-win no-fee’ agreements and legal expenses cover has meant that access to the courts has never been easier. This ease of access, together with the perception that judges will award compensation in virtually every case has resulted in the growth of Public Liability claims in the last decade.
In 2006, 18% of all claims handled by the PIAB were Public Liability claims while a further 14% were Employers Liability claims. In the UK last year £5.5 billion was paid in liability insurance claims.
In recent times Public Liability Insurance premiums have reduced to levels not previously seen since the last millennium and the premiums currently available to contractors mean that Public Liability Insurance is now more affordable than ever.
Q. Is public liability insurance compulsory by law?
No. Unlike motor insurance, Public liability insurance is not compulsory under Irish law. It is however essential insurance cover for a business to have. In the event that you cause damage to another persons property or cause death or bodily injury you can be sued for compensation/damages. Without Public Liability Insurance you will be liable to pay for the compensation awarded against you or your business. Compensation can run into hundreds of thousands of Euro. Furthermore, many primary contractors refuse to allow sub contractors operate on site without proof that they hold adequate public & employer’s liability so although it may not be a legal requirement to hold this cover in practice it is necessary to perform contracts.
Q. Are public liability insurance and product liability insurance the same thing?
Product liability insurance will cover your business in the event that you provide a product to a third party which due to it being faulty or its poor design it causes damage to property, death or bodily injury. Public liability insurance will cover your business in the event that due to your negligence (lack of care) a third party suffers a loss i.e. bodily injury or death and/or damage to property. Without Products Liability cover a public liability insurance policy will not cover you in the event that you provide a faulty product to a third party however product liability is usually included with a public liability insurance policy. Under a public liability insurance policy you will typically be covered for an equal amount of products liability E.G. – If you have €2.6M public liability you will have €2.6M Products Liability.
Q. Is public liability insurance expensive?
Public liability insurance rates have reduced significantly over the last five years and are nowhere near the ridiculous levels reached in 2001/2002. Premiums vary depending on your business activities, the level of cover you require, your turnover and the number of employees your business has. At Keystone Insurance we deal with over 15 construction insurers to ensure that we provide our customers with the best possible premiums and the most comprehensive cover available.
Q. How fast can I get quotation for public liability insurance?
The time it takes to get a quotation for public liability insurance depends on the size and complexity of your business. If you are a small tradesman with fewer than five employee’s quotations can typically be given instantly. If your business is classed as high risk (i.e. asbestos removers, civil engineers etc) quotations can take longer although we usually achieve a 24 hour turnaround.
Q. Can I buy public liability insurance on its own?
You are able to purchase public liability insurance in isolation (i.e. on its own), although product liability insurance typically comes free with it. Some insurance companies will not sell you public liability insurance without employer’s liability insurance if your business has employees and it is essential that you hold employers’ liability insurance if you have any employees as statistically you are more likely to have an employers liability claim than a public liability claim.
Q. What level of public liability insurance cover should my business have?
The typical level of cover under a public liability insurance policy is €2.6 million although it is possible to get lower and higher amounts.
Many larger contracts & local authority contracts will require €6.5 Million cover. In the event that higher levels are required for specific contracts this can be arranged. If you require a higher level we can arrange Public Liability Insurance cover up to €50,000,000 or its equivalent in US Dollars, Sterling, etc.
Q. What is the difference between employer’s liability insurance and public liability insurance?
Employer’s liability insurance will cover your business in the event that one of your employees sues you/your firm claiming that as a result of your negligence (lack of care) they have suffered a bodily injury or death. Public liability insurance on its own will not cover your business against a claim from an employee so its essential that you hold employers liability insurance if you have any employees or use ‘labour only’ sub contractors.
Q. What are the consequences of me not having public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance will cover your business if a third party decides to sue you for compensation as due to your businesses negligence (your lack of care) they have suffered a loss, i.e. bodily injury and/or death. Public liability insurance claims are becoming more frequent as members of the public have a greater awareness of their rights and since the introduction of no win no fee claims help people have found it even easier to make claims against unsuspecting businesses. Public liability insurance claims easily run into hundreds of thousands of Euro, if you business does not have insurance you will be liable to pay whatever amount is awarded against you.