Flexible staff can stretch your cover - by Robert Cooper
Flexible staff can stretch your cover
Are you covered for risks which may arise from having staff work from home?
Working from home is becoming much more common and many firms are allowing their employees to do so on either an occasional or regular basis. However we are finding employers are not considering how their insurance policies may need to adjust to respond to these changing risks and they may be left exposed.
Can Employees demand more flexible work arrangements?
Current Fair Work legislation allows employees who have been with the same employer for 12 months to request flexible working arrangements if:
- they are a carer
- they are 55 years of age or over
- they have a disability
- they are a parent
- they are responsible for the care of a child who is of school age or younger
- they are experiencing family violence or are caring for a family member who is experiencing family violence
In addition, many employers are now offering flexible working arrangements to all employees, to make their working life much easier and a desire to retain happy productive staff. It is not just those in the Fair Work legislation listed above. Fortunately, due to advances in technology, it is possible for more employees to work from remote locations including their homes or even a local caf√©.
So what areas of Insurance do we need to think about?
We can sum these up with the following types of insurance policies:
- Workers Compensation
- Public Liability
- Property Insurance
- Cyber and Privacy Risks
Employees can still get injured on the job at home. Employers are required by law to have Workers Compensation Insurance in place. Depending on the jurisdiction, you made to advise the relevant insurer or authority of the number of employees working from home, how often and the type of work they are performing.
Public Liability Insurance
You could still injure a third party. Most policies for liability will cover you anywhere in Australia as many employees are meeting with customers or clients outside of their normal place of business, whether that be in their own homes or elsewhere. However, Insurers may require disclosure as many have an expectation that these risks will be at the normal business locations advised. Disclose this just in case there are policy restrictions.
Property loss or damage
Normally an employer will cover the "Static" risk at the location of the situation address listed in a Business or Office package policy for Fire and Perils, Accidental Damage and Burglary. However they do not think about the property away from their location address. Employers may provide a laptop or tablet computer, often a mobile phone and other equipment they may need. In this situation we include what we call a General Property policy either in a Business or Office Pack, or as "stand-alone" cover. This insurance picks up the accidental damage, loss or theft of equipment anywhere in Australia.
Cyber and Privacy risk
By far the biggest concern now for employers are the cyber risks and confidentiality of their client's data. Accessing servers remotely or operating in the cloud has many security risks that come in various forms. Data breaches or destruction of data can occur as a consequence of hacking and malicious code or by an inadvertent mistake, such as leaving a device unsecured so it can be accessed by unauthorised third parties. We do now have cyber risk and privacy insurance policies to cover the cost of these risks to a business which can be increased when data can be accessed in many different ways including remotely. Employers who have a flexible workforce must ensure that they have appropriate security measures in place to account for the increased risk where employees are accessing company computer and information technology systems externally through unsecured networks or on personal devices.
What you should do to cover off the risk of flexible working
We suggest you review your insurance policies to confirm that those currently in place are adequate to cover employees who work flexibly and/or remotely. Consideration of the policy wordings in your Workers Compensation, Public Liability, Property and Cyber Risk policies is required to ensure that the scope and level of coverage is suitable for a flexible workplace and will respond to cover emerging risks. General Advice Warning This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is suitable for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.