Are you properly covered when using an online task app?
Recently I had a client use the incredibly popular platform Airtasker to perform some tasks around their home. As often happens they contacted me after a near miss to enquire as to policy coverage relating to the ‚Äòtasker' performing the work, and who would pay what in relation to a claim. A review of the Airtasker website on the 6/9/18 revealed the following points:
What is covered by Airtasker?
Airtasker Insurance does not cover all tasks or activities. Please refer to the list of covered activities for more information.
The liability insurance is on a claims made and notified basis which means that the policy limit, terms and conditions which are applicable to a notified claim are those of the current policy period when the claim is notified - not when the claim occurs (if outside the current policy period). These may also be different from the liability insurance terms and conditions in place when the task contract was entered into if it also was in a different policy period. Claims must be lodged within 30 calendar days of the date of the incident.
Before we address the first bullet point and what constitutes a "covered activity" it's important to point out the following blanket general exclusions
- Business / financial / legal advice
- Tradesmen where activities require a licence to perform duties
- Asbestos and any activities associated with asbestos
- Activities or tasks performed above 2 storeys or 5 metres in height
- Liability risks that relate to a Tasker's ownership or use of their premises as a Property Owner
What to do to ensure you're covered
¬∑ Seek confirmation of professional indemnity insurance from all taskers providing professional services and/or advice.
¬∑ Seek proof from any trades providing Plumbing, Electrical, Gas or otherwise requiring a "licence".
¬∑ Be diligent with Asbestos and naturally get licenced, professional and insured companies to perform such work.
¬∑ Be Vigilant with sticking to the height of any work being under 5 meters from the ground.
¬∑ And be cautious with those taskers using their own property/home to perform tasks.
Apologies in advance but, there is an extensive list of "covered activities" and subsequently those that aren't covered by the Airtasker CGU liability policy. These are shown on the website (6/9/18) as follows:
Be aware of what's included by Airtasker and what's not
As you can see there is quite clearly a portion of the activities on the Airtasker site where the Airtasker insurance policy simply won't provide any cover. It's therefore expected and assumed that users are aware of this information prior to commencement of the task. And are taking that risk on themselves where gaps exist. And/or have made alternative insurance arrangements outside of the Airtasker policy.
The second point to raise awareness of relates to how the policy is written. This is done on a claims made basis. For insurance professionals they may be aware of the pro's and con's of doing this, but for everyone else ANZIIF have provided a really good information page located at https://anziif.com/members-centre/articles/2014/03/claims-made-vs-occurence-based-liability-insurance
If you have a claim, make it promptly
In summary Professional Indemnity/Directors & Officers/Employment Practices/ and the Airtasker Liability policy are on a claims-made basis. This simply means the claim or incident/circumstance which may give rise to a claim, must be notified to the current insurer as soon as the insured is aware of a potential claim BUT importantly, during the current period of insurance. The Airtasker policy goes a step further and states Claims must be lodged within 30 calendar days of the date of the incident.
The claim must also accord with the retroactive date which was not investigated at the time of writing this article. Meaning incidents which occurred before that date will not be covered.
Claims-made policy Pro's:
The current insurer can be readily identified & accessed
Claims-made policy Con's:
Once the policy has expired, if not renewed, generally no further claim can be made under that policy - for any claim that has not already been reported to the current insurer.
So users of the service would be banking on the constant renewal indefinitely of the policy with the current provider, or an alternative provider offering comparable cover.
In summary I'm a huge fan of Airtasker and others that use technology to disrupt industry, create work, and help connect problems with solutions. The cover being afforded to users like all insurance policies will have certain exclusions and limitations. And essentially users are obtaining this cover for free so ultimately can't feel too upset should it not cover their specific task. But, as my client's situation highlighted there could be a fair disconnect between what users think is covered, and what is actually covered by the Airtasker insurance policy. Like most everyday circumstances it's incumbent on all users to check the cover prior to commencement of tasks and make alternative arrangements where necessary.
For advice about your specific situation get in touch.
General Advice Warning
The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.