Flats mgt. co.- employer liability for casual contractor?

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  • Flats mgt. co.- employer liability for casual contractor?

    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?

  • #2
    Does he himself carry insurance? Lithuanian or not [why's that relevant, by the way?], it would be in his interests.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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    • #3
      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?

      Comment


      • #4
        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.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


        • #5
          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 ?

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              EL insurance for contractor

              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  EL insurance

                  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?)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    FROM the sites insurance expert

                    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
                    Neil NEW direct dial 0208 8509697
                    email

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by paulb67 View Post
                      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

                      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.
                      Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 17+ years experience in the industry
                      LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
                      See my profile for contact details

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Harry View Post
                        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" ?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by specialist View Post
                          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.
                          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Employers Liability Insurance

                            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.

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