In one way or another most businesses come into contact with the public. If a business is in contact with the public at all, even for a brief period of time, then it is essential that the owner protect his business by purchasing insurance.
Public Liability insurance offers the ideal coverage for businesses of this nature regardless of the industry they are in. Whether a business has members of the public visiting their office for services or whether they are in a business to purchase products, Public Liability insurance will protect the business from having out of pocket expenses due to a claim.
Public Liability insurance in Ireland is not generally required by law however when competing for contracts or work most contractors and local authorities will expect the competing business to have Public Liability insurance to protect them from any claims arising. If the competing business or sub-contractor doesn’t have a policy providing coverage to members of the public then the odds of their business succeeding others are slim. Some contractors even require sub-contractors to have Public Liability insurance before they are even allowed to place a bid!
Arranging for Public Liability insurance provides compensation to the public for several different claims. Benefits may include general costs, legal fees, medical costs, compensation, and economic damages including product coverage as well. Having this type of coverage policy protects the business while protecting the public at the same time.
If an accident is caused by the business, damage to third party property occurs or legal fees arise due to a claim then compensation is provided through the business insurance and the business is not required to pay any out of pocket expenses. When a claim is filed even the legal fees will be compensated for by the insurance. Another coverage that is typically provided is called Product Insurance. This insurance provides compensation in the event that a member of the public incurs a loss due to a defect in the product being distributed or designed by the business.
The consequences of not having Public Liability insurance may be extreme for some businesses. The amount of claims being filed has risen in recent years and the amount of successful claims has increased as well. Lawyers are offering “No Win No Pay” opportunities to the public which basically encourages the public to file claims for things such as a simple misunderstanding or a very minor injury. With lawyers offering this type of service it is important that a business be able to defend their honor. Defense lawyers can be quite expensive and without insurance the business must pay for the legal fees out of pocket. If a business is found legally liable for a claim and they do not have coverage then they are responsible for compensating the claim out of their pocket as well. This can be detrimental to any business as claims can be very high.
By John Benson