Contractors Use of Heat and the Conditions you Need to Know
Stop! Before you read further, it would be a good idea to go and grab your Liability insurance documents. Why? Well, because together we are going to check something important. Recently our brokers, while talking to roofing contractors like yourself, have found many are unaware of important conditions in their policies concerning working with heat.
Please don't shoot the messenger as it is our responsibility to ensure you are correctly covered and appropriately informed.
Okay, locate the section in your policy wording about 'Heat Conditions.' It should state something like, "A person who is competent in the use of fire extinguishing appliances is to be appointed to act as a firewatcher in conjunction with the operative using the equipment. They need to remain in attendance until use of all such equipment has ceased, and all torches have been extinguished, and all portable grinders switched off." Since the introduction of the Insurance Act, insurers cannot issue a policy for a sole trader which stipulates they need other people present without an explanation of how this warranty will be complied with by you the policyholder.
If this information has come as a bit of a shock, you may want to pencil in some time to ask your broker for advice on this particular condition in your policy. If you are coming up to your renewal date, please keep this in mind and if you have any concerns perhaps get in touch with one of our professional brokers who will be more than happy to discuss these conditions in more detail. But prepare yourself either way for a possible increase in your insurance or labour costs. Please don't shoot the messenger as it is our responsibility to ensure you are correctly covered and appropriately informed.
Just to be clear, brokers are the professionals you employ to ensure you get the correct cover at an affordable price. We do not sell insurance; we offer an insurance brokerage service which seeks out the right product for your particular needs, and we are legally obliged to make sure you are completely aware of, and fully understand, all the terms and conditions of the policy you intend on taking out. The Insurance ACT 2015, renewed in 2016, requires brokers to not only make sure you are made aware of your policy conditions and treated fairly but also that we ensure we accurately present your information in what is called a ‘fair representation’.
What this means is we have to provide honest disclosure from both parties, honest and open answers from the insurer and the same from you the client. The result will be you, the client, receiving a tailored solution at a fair price rather than buying the cheapest cover and discovering it has lots of exclusions when a claim occurs.
Let's take a look at it from your industry’s perspective. A potential client calls you about a leaking roof. They've already had a couple of quotes from other roofers in the area but aren't very happy with the price. You check the damage and tell them that the quotes are fair and that you won't be able to do it much cheaper, but you offer them a guarantee on your work. Or would you tell them that to save them money you can tack an old tarpaulin over the trouble spot and that should keep the rain out unless there are high winds or a storm?
Just a cheap fix, save a few pennies now and worry about an insurance claim if and when it happens?
Hey! The cheap fix could last another year as long as we don't suffer any inclement weather. Is that how you'd like your insurance sold to you? Just a cheap fix, save a few pennies now and worry about an insurance claim if and when it happens? Of course not. Just the same as a tarpaulin. It's just a temporary fix, and if left could cause larger, more expensive problems later. Insurance needs to be adequate for your needs. Yes, it may cost more in the short run, but it could save you from an enormous financial shock should something go wrong in the future, and you find you do not have adequate cover.
The information you just read may require you to change your pricing and working practices, and we understand this may seem like a massive headache. Your first step should be to speak to your broker or talk to us, and we will do everything in our power to protect your livelihood and your earnings. There may also be other ways in which we can assist you such as reducing our fee or in some cases negating it entirely. After all, it's in everyone's best interest that your business doesn't suffer, or potentially collapse, because of these conditions.
If you would like to speak to one of our brokers please call...