Public Liability Insurance: The Ultimate Guide

Public liability risks exist in most businesses. As long as you owe a duty of care to your client or any third-party, you will be vulnerable to public liability risks.

So what is public liability risks, and how can you manage it?

This article will show you how to manage your public liability risks with public liability insurance. You will also learn how to assess and minimize your risks before purchasing the insurance.

What is Public Liability Insurance?

Public liability insurance protects your business when a member of the public or your customer suffers injuries or damages to their properties as a result of your business activities.

The risk usually happens when you or your employees are working off-site, either at your client’s place or a public area.

No matter how much training you give your employees, there is still a chance that someone might injure or suffered property damages. Then you will face a potential risk that the victim suing you for damages.

Public liability insurance covers the damages and the legal expenses (if necessary) when such claims arise.

The most common public liability risks are:

  • Slips, trips, and falls

  • Falling objects

Type of Firms that Need Public Liability Insurance

There are 2 types of businesses that will require public liability insurance:

  • You or your employees are based off-site most of the time;

  • Your clients or members of the public can visit your premise where you conduct business, e.g. retailers.

Contractually, you will need public liability insurance if that is the requirements of the other contracting party. On the first example, should you rent an office, as a tenant, the owner can require you to have public liability insurance in the tenancy agreement before allowing you to rent the office unit. The owner would also require you to have their name in the policy to ensure that they are legally protected. Therefore, as a tenant, you would need public liability insurance if required under a contract by your owner.

On another example, it would be for companies would want to do any maintenance on the vessel, the shipyard would usually require you to have public liability insurance, ensuring that their company’s name is in the public liability insurance policy before allowing the company to enter the shipyard.

As long as there is a possibility that you (or your employees) may cause personal injuries or property damage to your client or third party during your business activities, you will need public liability insurance.

Based on this requirement, there are many types of business that need public liability insurance.

We have listed the most common industries that require public liability insurance. If you are unsure, please contact us for advice.

Auditing

auditing

Auditors frequently stationed at their client’s premises to go through the files. A simple act such as tripping on the wire connecting the client’s servers might end up in millions in a lawsuit for the accounting firm, as such negligent act may result in the client suffering financial losses.

The same reason can also be applied on any other off-site consultants.

Renovation

renovation

The work of renovation contractors is frequently conducted at the client’s premises. Your employees might cause injury to the customers when they carry a furniture and knocking against the customer, resulting in bodily injury. Otherwise, when your employees broke a expensive piece of furniture in your customer’s premises and suffer damages.

Cleaning

cleaning

As a cleaning company, you stationed your employees at your client’s premises. In the cleaning process, they might spill drinks over your clients’ laptops, causing them to malfunction.

The same reason can also be applied to pest management companies.

Retailers

retailers

You operate a physical retail shop. However, one of your visitors might trip and fall over some boxes that are not placed properly. In that case, your customer can sue you for his personal injury and you would be liable for all the medical charges for that customer.

Restaurants and Cafes

restaurants

You operate a restaurant where your customers can dine in. If someone trip and fell due to the slippery floor, they can sue you for damages. This might be due to your negligence or inability to keep your restaurant safe.

Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO)

maintenance

You are dealing with your client’s equipment when you are providing MRO services. The service can be performed on-site or off-site. However, mistakes of your employees might cause damages to your client’s equipment.

Oil and Gas

oil and gas

Operating in the oil and gas industry means you are involved in highly flammable substance. In the event these substances caught fire, resulting in damages, you may be sued for damages. For example, your oil truck might meet with an accident, causing an explosion and subsequently injury and damages to other cars.

Event Management

event management

When you organize events in public areas, you will be putting up tentages and lightings. Your legal liability is on the whole premises that you have set up your event at. You owe a duty of care to ensure that the event area is a safe environment.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing Public Liability Insurance

Assessing Your Public Liability Risks

Before buying the insurance, you should consider the likelihood and severity of your public liability risks for your business.

Public liability risks vary across industries. Some factors that might affect your public liability risks are:

  • Does your business deal with high-risk objects such as petroleum?

  • Do you (or your employees) operate off-site most of the time?

  • Do you expect members of the public or your customers to come to your premises? If yes, what is the general profile of the visitors?

  • What is the worse thing that can happen to your customers when they visit your premise?

  • Do you deal with expensive equipment which belongs to your client?

Minimizing Your Public Liability Risks

As a savvy business owner, you should never rely on insurance to manage your risks. Here are some tips that you can minimize your public liability risks:

  • Maintained a set of documented safety protocols;

  • Ensure your employees are well-trained and qualified to do the job;

  • Ensure that you use the right equipment in your work;

  • Make sure you have the appropriate license to do the work.

Despite all these measures, accidents still can happen. But with these tips, you will minimize the chances of accidents happening. It will also strengthen your business and enhance its reputation.

Knowing Your Business Requirements

You might need public liability insurance as part of your business operations. For example, most condominiums’ management agent requires renovation contracts to have public liability insurance.

If you are in such an industry, you should consider taking public liability insurance so as to give your clients’ and stakeholders a peace of mind.

Knowing Your Areas of Risk

Before you purchase public liability insurance, you should assess the location where public liability risks are likely to occur. It can be your client’s or your premises.

With the knowledge of the locations, you can ensure that these are covered in the insurance policies. If you need help in assessing the locations, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.

It is Good Thing For Your Clients/Customers

There is always a chance that an accident can happen. Having a public liability insurance give your clients an assurance that if anything went wrong in their premise, they would be able to seek compensation. You can also focus on your business operations.

Costs of Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance is usually offered as part of a package in General Liability Insurance. Within the package also includes product liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, etc.

Depending on your requirements and coverage, the costs of the general liability insurance can vary. We will need more details of your company’s operations before advising you on the cost.

Reputable Insurance Company and Agent

This applies to all kind of insurance. Having a reputable insurance company and an agent will give you the assurance that your risks are being well-managed.

A well-qualified agent will also be able to advise on your coverage, specific to your situation and industry.

Conclusion

Most businesses have some level of public liability risks. The legal costs and damages can be huge if such risks occur.

Fortunately, you can transfer the risk using public liability insurance.

This article helps you to assess your public liability risks by looking into various risk factors and advise how you should manage this risk.

Do you want to manage your public liability risk and minimize your exposure? Please consider insuring your risk with Anthola’s general liability insurance package. Contact us for a free consultation on your business. We love to speak to you!

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