Every company in the UK which has employees, is required by law to have employer’s liability insurance. It is designed to cover both the employer and the employee in the event of the employee having an accident or contracting a disease whilst working for the employer.
This type of insurance is compulsory, as the costs involved if an employee were to be injured at work can be huge and the employer may not be able to meet them. Such a situation might lead to the company being declared insolvent, which would leave the employee injured or ill without any compensation or means to survive financially.
There are a number of exceptions to this law. Companies that are funded by the public, such as the National Health Service or related Primary Care Trusts, do not have to have this insurance and family businesses may be exempt if all of the employees are related to the company owners; for example, a spouse, parent, child or any step or half relatives. This does not apply if the family business is a limited company, in which case insurance is required.
Generally, any company that has any employees working in the UK on a permanent basis must have employer’s liability insurance; this includes apprentices and although, under UK law, it does not have to cover employees working abroad, employers should check the regulations in the relevant country to see if their employees need to be covered under the local law.
If you are unsure what cover your employer should provide, contact us for advice, especially if you have an accident and we will be able to help and advise you. Our systems are easy to use and we deal with every claim in a sympathetic manner as we understand how stressful making a compensation claim can be.
The certificate of insurance must be displayed for all employees to view; this can be in the form of an online version; however, it should be noted that in this case the onus is on the employer to ensure that all employees know how to view the certificate and where it is located. The insurance policy must provide a minimum of five million pounds cover and it is advisable for employers to carry out a full risk assessment to ensure that this value will cover all the potential costs of an accident.
The wording of the policy is very important; the insurer cannot put conditions in place that allow it to dispute a claim. This means that a policy cannot state that a claim may not stand, even if the employer has not met certain conditions; for example, if the employer has not put all the necessary precautions or procedures in place to help avoid an accident or the employee was not following the correct procedures, the insurance company must still pay out on the claim.
This is not an excuse for ignoring health and safety procedures and regulations, however, as the insurance company may make a claim against the employer or the employee to recoup its costs if it can be shown that one or other of them was at fault.
Health and safety at work is not a topic to take lightly and a proper risk assessment should always be carried out for all activities. Your employer is legally required to have suitable insurance in place to compensate any employee who is involved in an accident and must be able to produce a valid certificate confirming the cover.
Date Published: October 17, 2013
Author: David Brown