Burglar Alarm Maintenance Agreement

A potential client was having difficulty obtaining full cover for his home, due to the fact that he did not have a maintenance agreement in place covering his alarm system. He considered his property to be extremely secure but his Insurers whilst covering the contents for the other principal perils fire, burst pipes, accidental damage etc., excluded any cover for theft or attempted theft.

It is of course true to say that if any Insurer requires an alarm to be installed at a risk address, or one is disclosed in order to obtain a premium discount, then a maintenance agreement would be a requirement.

The question here was whilst the current Insurer was insistent on there being a fully maintained alarm and that other Insurers were of a similar mind, did it follow that all Insurers would take the same view, as regard to the need for an alarm at all.

On this occasion it transpired that a leading Insurer, with a higher than average contents sum insured limit before an alarm became a requirement, was happy to accept the risk with no exclusions and no requirement for any alarm system maintained or otherwise.

Consequently we were able to arrange full cover for this client including the theft risk, with higher sums insured than his expiring policy, a standard excess of £100 instead of £500 and an annual premium of £537 instead of the £1,384 he had been quoted for his renewal.

Competitive Review of Buildings and Contents Insurance

It is usually beneficial to have both the home buildings and contents covered under the same policy but this is not always the case.

An enquiry revealed someone paying a combined premium of £3,000 for what was an extremely comprehensive policy but whilst the contents and valuables cover was extensive and the premium very reasonable, the premium and sum insured for the buildings element of the policy could both be improved  in this instance, by separating the two main sections of cover.

When the existing Insurer’s premium was broken down it transpired that the buildings rate was particularly high, as for a sum insured of £530,000 they were charging a premium of just under £1,200.

After reviewing the market our recommendation was to retain the contents and valuables cover with the existing Insurer but to transfer cover to an alternative Insurer for the buildings element, the premium of £470 providing exactly the same cover but with a sum insured up to £1m and with a standard policy excess of £100 against the £500 required by the current Insurer.

Under-insurance

After being with the same Insurer for a number of years, there can be an element of complacency on the part of the Insurer and an acceptance by the client that they are continuing to be offered the best terms available.

Terms can vary from one Insurer to another from the way they view a risk and a marketing exercise can often produce better terms and cover, not to mention a more competitive premium. That same exercise will of course sometimes confirm that the current Insurer remains the best option but this too is periodically worthwhile.

Because a £60,000 claim had been incorrectly recorded, simply as a subsidence issue, when in fact a flood was a more accurate description and because the claim dating back 5 years was still on the existing Insurer’s records, they were quoting a renewal premium of £6,462.

The sums insured for this premium were £865,000 for the buildings, £241,500 for contents and £78,000 for jewellery and antiques. In addition a £2500 excess imposed following the claim had never been reduced.

When we were asked to quote, a visit to the client revealed an issue of under-insurance as far as the building was concerned. After carrying out a market review and discussing the risk details directly with underwriters, cover was arranged with an alternative Insurer with no loss of cover or benefits whatsoever, the new annual premium £3,517, the buildings sum insured increased to £1.5m and the policy excess reduced to £250.

Are you worried you may be under-insured? We can help, contact us today.

Paternity leave

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

Paternity leave

An employee returned from paternity leave. He was advised that he was at risk of redundancy because the business had been sustaining losses for some time. His manager told him that the redundancy was 99% certain and that there were no suitable alternative roles. Shortly afterwards, a letter was handed to him confirming his redundancy. His appeal was heard by a director who subsequently admitted that he had never conducted a redundancy appeal and had received no training. After the hearing the same director was told of two suitable vacancies, but did not inform the claimant about them. The employment tribunal concluded that the real reason for dismissal was that he had taken parental leave and awarded maximum damages allowable of more than £65,000

Protected disclosures

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

Protected disclosures

A principal consultant was allegedly dismissed from his position on the grounds that he made a series of revelations about safety issues, including site safety, the manner in which investigations were conducted and misgivings about the ability of the safety manager. He sued, alleging that these were “protected disclosures” and as such he should have been protected under the Employment Rights Act. He said the dismissal deprived him of his livelihood and profession as there was only a limited number of companies he could work for. Moreover, as he was 57 years of age, it was too late to retrain for another career. Although they had what they believed to be a robust case, the employer’s defence costs and the award against them exceeded £200,000.

Pregnancy discrimination

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

Pregnancy discrimination

An operations manager informed her employer that she was pregnant. She claimed they then told her to resign. She refused, so she was dismissed, which she alleged was due to her pregnancy. The employer argued that it was due to her unsatisfactory approach to work and unauthorised absences during work hours. The case settled before the scheduled tribunal hearing with settlement and defence costs totalling over £75,000.

Unfair selection for redundancy

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

Unfair selection for redundancy

The claimant was selected for redundancy and believed the process was unfair. He also raised concerns about the selection panel and the consultation provided. He alleged that the panel members were not qualified to comment on his potential redundancy as they did not know him nor had they worked with him. In tribunal, his claim for unfair dismissal succeeded, but only on procedural grounds. The tribunal found that, in the absence of the procedural flaws, he would have been dismissed in any event. It awarded no compensation, but the employer’s legal costs were over £42,000.

Constructive unfair dismissal, discrimination and victimisation

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

Constructive unfair dismissal, discrimination and victimisation

The claimant alleged constructive unfair dismissal, race discrimination, victimisation, breach of contract and breach of the ACAS code. The claimant offered to accept £160,000 in respect of injury to feelings and the loss of earnings and with the provision that a reference be provided for future employers. Despite having little merit, the costs of dealing with the claim to conclusion were in excess of £60,000 and were not recoverable.

Constructive unfair dismissal, race discrimination, religious discrimination

The claimant also alleged disability discrimination and breach of section 51 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 in relation to time off for public duties. On resignation, 36 separate matters were cited. The claimant had repeatedly threatened to bring employment tribunal proceedings on a number of occasions. The allegations had to be robustly defended and, despite the case being found in the insured company’s favour, over £50,000 had been paid out under the policy.

High Court action in Ireland

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

High Court action in Ireland

The claimant was employed by the insured company as an Operations Director. He sought an injunction to prevent dismissal and brought a claim in the High Court. The elements of the claim were arbitrary and unreasonable treatment, bullying, harassment and victimisation. He believed he had been wrongly blamed for losses, falling profits and discrepancies. Allegations were also made against him in relation to the fiddling of expenses. The claimant had received advice that an investigation was ongoing into the alleged abuse of expenses and that there was going to be a reorganisation of the business. Following these reviews, the claimant was dismissed by letter. Reinstatement, damages and costs were sought by the claimant. Legal and settlement costs covered under the policy amounts to more than €100,000.

Unfair dismissal of a director

Claims Examples of Employment Practice

Unfair dismissal of a director

The claimant received a letter terminating his employment and asked that he resign as a director of the company. The reason for his dismissal was the alleged failure to deliver any of the forecasts previously presented to the board. It was also alleged that the claimant was demoted from CEO to VP of Sales and Marketing. The claimant had complained on several occasions about members of the board of directors who had allegedly been hostile and unpleasant towards him in the knowledge that he had been receiving psychiatric treatment to help him deal with his depression. The matter was further complicated by claims made under the D&O liability section of the policy. Costs and settlement amounted to over £50,000 under the EPL section of the Fore Front Plus policy.