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Assessing contractor liability

11 October 2018

FIRE SAFETY service-providers are all about keeping other people and their premises safe, but many fail to protect themselves properly.

This is according to Jonathan Smithson of Jelf – the insurance and risk-management specialists – who was speaking in the Fire & Evacuation Theatre at Fire Safety North this morning. He said: “Fire service contractors specialise in lots of areas – alarms, sprinklers, passive fire protection, etc. – and the element of risk and liability in what they do is high. For that reason, they need to have insurance cover in place.”

There are three basic types of cover, Jonathan explained: product liability, professional indemnity and public liability. The first of these provides cover in the event that somebody is harmed or property is damaged as a result of products sold or supplied by the contractor; the second covers financial loss caused by flawed design work or improper practice on the part of the contractor; and the third covers the likes of accidental damage to fixtures and fittings, etc.

With regard to product liability insurance, Jonathan emphasised to delegates the importance of making sure it includes an inefficacy extension and advised them always to speak to a broker about the most appropriate cover for their circumstances, rather than simply looking for online quotes.

“Under-insurance,” he concluded, “can be disastrous, so always seek specialist information for your insurance needs. Also, make sure to review the limits of the indemnity, especially where a contract imposes specific limits. Failure to meet such contractual requirements could lead to the client withholding payment and claims not being covered.”