Occupational Safety and Risk.

Dear Customer.

Just a word of advice to anyone running a small business, It is a legal obligation to have a Risk Assessment and Safety Statement for your Business . You also have a legal obligation to your staff to insure they have been properly trained to do the job you pay them to do. This training must be ongoing and refreshed on a regular basis.

Basically you have a duty of care to your employee`s and this also extends to members of the public you come in contact with.

Failure to comply with these requirements leaves both you as a Director of your Company and the Company itself open to prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority.

It also renders all Injury claims made by employees and the public extremely difficult for you or your Insurers to defend.

Issues such as these can bring even a successful company to its knees financially.

To talk more on this subject please contact me.

The changes in how your household insurance claim will be settled by some Insurers.

Most members of the public have no idea how insurance claims are settled by Insurers as they never expect to make a claim on the policy.

If asked most would say they get a few builders to quote for the repairs and the insurers make an offer of settlement that they think will be sufficient to pay for the loss and after a brief negotiation the cheque will arrive in the post.

This is of course not how it works and Insurers have much stricter rules on how claims are dealt with.

First point to bear in mind is Insurers will with any claim expected to be over a few thousand (often €1500/€2,000 and sometimes less) immediately appoint a firm of Loss Adjuster to represent them. Adjusters are highly skilled professional people who work within very strict guidelines given to them by insurers to insure that they establish if what has occurred is something that is covered on the policy and also insure the cost of settling the claim with the policy holder is kept to a minimum. They will also check that all details disclosed when the policy was incepted are correct to include previous claims and that the house is not underinsured .

The claimant who unless he appoints a Loss Assessor (at his own expense) will really have no expertise in what he should or could be claiming for except the basics of what he thinks is covered by the policy.

Most people are not aware that in many cases Insurers have increased the excess on escape of water claims on household policies to €750 or €1,000 per claim. This has become standard in many cases and is a very substantial amount of money to have deducted from your claim settlement and can leave many vulnerable when trying to have repairs done quickly as they simple may not have sufficient money to pay for the works.

What is also becoming a feature with some insurers is that they as per the policy will supply a builder to do the repairs necessary under the policy. This is not something many people are aware of and they only become aware when the appointed loss adjuster tells them their insurer is insisting that they will carry out the repairs. If this happens the insured will have to agree the works to be done unless he employes a Loss Assessor to assist them and following agreement on the works the insured will have first to pay Insurers whatever the policy excess is before the works will start and also of course have to pay their Loss Assessor.

The lead in time for the appointed builder to start the works has to be agreed and this may be quite lengthy at times as builders are extremely busy presently.

If you are allowed to use your own contractor for the works the norm used to be a payment of 70% of the cost upfront and the remaining 30% on completion (invoices and photographs required).This has now changed with some insurers to 40% up front and 40% following the strip out of the damage with the remaining 20% on completion(again after invoices and photographs or even another inspection by the loss adjuster if deemed necessary).

The moral behind this article is be very aware what is in your policy regarding the settlement of claims and if you don't like how one Insurer operates then simple choose a different insurer.

My advise is always use a qualified Loss Assessor and let the Assessor represent you with your insurers to make sure you receive a fair settlement in a speedy fashion.

Advice for storm due 21/10/207

  • Make sure your gutters are unblocked and free from obstructions such as moss or as is often found at the downpipe a tennis ball that had been hit onto the roof as it invariable lodges at the entrance to the down pipe having been in the gutter.
  • Make sure the external gullies in the ground for you waste pipes (sink etc.) are clear especially after all the leaves that fell last week.
  • Do a visual check of your roof from your garden and attic to insure no tiles have moved after the recent storm (ridge tiles also). They may need some Minor repairs , don’t leave it  as a small hole can cause huge damage.
  • Make sure you cover all air vents as this is a way for water to enter your home and may not be noticed until serious damages become apparent.
  • Make sure gutters on the road next to your house are not blocked-ring your local County Council roads department if they are (but free them with a brush if time is of the essence).
  • Move pets to a secure location.
  • Move valuables upstairs or to counter tops etc. in a bungalow.
  • If flooded turn of electricity at the mains and unplug all electrician devises and tape over sockets at low level.
  • Consider trimming overhanging trees.
  • Move cars etc. from the area that may flood.
  • If you leave the house make sure it is secure, inform the Gardai and leave key with neighbours. Consider staying at night yourself or at least check the house on a regular basis.
  • Make sure your garage and sheds are properly secured.
  • Try and protect glass houses from strong winds.
  • Never leave cash, jewellery in a vacant house.

For houses in flood zones consider building a wall around your boundary and keep sandbags for emergencies. A small pump may also be useful.

Travel Insurance Claims.

Claims under a Travel Insurance Policy.

 

Many people now take out travel Insurance before going away on Holidays. Yet they generally have only a scant idea of what the insurance covers and even less idea about how they should go about making a claim.

A couple of things to remember before you start down the road of claiming off your holiday insurance.

 

  • If an airline loses your luggage they are responsible for replacing the lost items, regardless of the fact that many include in their paperwork to you that you can claim of your holiday insurance.
  • If you have your own medical insurance the holiday insurance you purchase kicks in after your own health insurance policy has been exhausted to cover you for any additional cost. Where this is very important would be where you are hospitalized abroad and per say have to be flown home by air ambulance where the costs can be huge.
  • If your flight is cancelled by your airline you have several options to be reimbursedbefore you look to your holiday insurance for compensation.
  • Obviously on a multi trip policy that costs a little over 100euro for a 12month period don't expect huge payouts as there are many restrictions on these policies to limit the insurers liability.
  • Where they do work very well and are crucial is for costs associated with falling ill on holidays. They are not designed to cover huge amounts of  cash,jewellery etc (leave your family jewels at home).

In summary: 

It is a great peace of mind going on holidays knowing all major catastrophes are covered but the minor inconveniences are generally best left to those responsible.

NB. Bring your policy document with you and also use the emergency medical number if you have a medical emergency.  

Simple Advice if you want your Household claim paid.

A couple of things most policyholders don`t know.

  • If your insurance company deem you underinsured by say 50% then you only get half the settlement. What this means is if you have a house of 1500 sq foot and you insure the building for 100k and the Loss Adjuster for Insurers find when they price the rebuild with the Chartered Surveyors of Ireland using your area code and they say it will cost €200k then you are 50% underinsured in their view and they will only offer you 50% of any claim made on the policy (a common one would be escape of water). Contents can also be a factor in underinsurance. Also remember if you extended the house at any stage this will have added to the value of the property.
  • Insurers like to ask in their proposal document about your roof being of standard construction. If you say it is but they later discover that because of extensions or that you have a large flat roof on say a garage and these are felted then you breach the policy if it exceeds 15 to 20% of the total roof area. Insurers differ on the percentage but they can and will refuse your claim in these circumstances and may even cancel your policy back to inception refunding you your premium. This will make it difficult and expensive to get insured elsewhere.
  • Insurers generally keep 20 to 30% of your claim until the work is done and they get receipts and photographs which is highly debatable in my view. If you have for instance a water leak and have to replace your floors and paint and say the agreed settlement is €10k then they like to keep say 3k till the work is complete. Nobody gives a reason how you are supposed to get the work complete when you only have 7k? They also like to set a timeline of say 3 months from settlement to the time the works are complete saying if it's not done by then that they will retain the balance.

I advise you get your policy via an Insurance Broker and use a loss Assessor to represent you if you have a claim.

Call Contact Carter Claims now on +353 86 810 4215 or Fill out our Contact Form for a FREE no obligation consultation.

 

 

Helping the Customer through Staff Trainning.

The Insurance industry is a huge employer of young intelligent graduates from our Universities and Colleges. These are smart energetic kids who have a burning ambition in most cases to succeed. Many get positions with large Insurers and Brokers mostly in areas such as Sales, Claims or Administration and many have day to day contact with customers.

They now all have to pass their insurance exams through the Insurance Institute of Ireland. This is a positive change which ensures a standardised level of understanding of what is required of them and their employers when dealing with the public.

But I believe it's also imperative they also receive on the job assistance and guidance on a daily basis in the role they are fulfilling as how it works in practice can be a different proposition to what they read in a book. They need help and guidance as they will invariably make mistakes and they need assistance to enable them to learn and develop.

They are unfortunately in some cases left to their own devices to sink or swim which encourages bad habits to develop and later receive undue criticism when they simply knew no better.

Many people have very defined roles when dealing with customers be it sales or claims and they operate very well in their defined roles. But when they have to step into a different role  from time to time which we all have to do in this new world of flexibility in the workplace they struggle which can mean a difficult experience for customers. This will inevitably mean dissatisfaction  which is bad for business.

This training can be done  on site by Specialists in different areas of expertise to small groups for short sessions as not to affect  the normal running of the business. It can also be tailored to suit each situation and can in the end greatly enhance the reputation of the company with the customer they serve.

Large amounts of cash don't need to be splashed and often the expertise is a staff member with a wealth of knowledge in a particular area that simple needs to be tapped. 

Its really all about taking training and development seriously rather than giving it lip service.

Would it not be better, to avoid the headache of a large turnover of staff which is a common feature in the industry to simply develop those currently doing the job?

Some Simple Facts for People taking out a Motor Insurance Policy.

Your Contract with the Insurance Company.

 

This contract is made up of a number of documents :

 

1. A proposal form- or statement of fact (mostly done now on line or over the phone which is recorded).This gives the Insurer all the facts they need to decided how much to charge for the premium if they decide to Insure in the first place.

2.The Insurance Certificate-it will have the disk for your window attached and is proof of Insurance if your asked to produce proof of Insurance by the Gardai.

3. The Policy Booklet- (please read it carefully) it tells you what is and is not covered and all you need to know about the policy cover and how to deal with different situations (claims etc).

4. The Schedule- It contains all the nitty gritty contained in the policy. If there is an issue later with a claim this is where you look to see what terms and conditions apply to the policy.

Insurance Policies even ones with the term Comprehensive do not cover every eventuality so know what is covered and what conditions you must abide by to have cover in place.

Its not rocket science but its amazing what you find out when you need to call on the policy to assist following an incident that requires a claim to be made.

Its not all about price but more about getting a good policy with a good Insurer. A Broker will advise but you still need to know what`s in above documents.