Many businesses, especially smaller ones with sketchy admin, run frightening risks daily owing to unsuspected gaps in their insurance portfolios. Motor vehicles, for instance, are such a familiar part of our lives and businesses, we scarcely spare a thought for the large, powerful, dynamic machines that they are, even “old”, “small”, “slow” ones! They cause horrifying injury and damage with unexpected legal consequences.
An Admin Assistant / Secretary would not ordinarily have to do anything for the firm outside of the office. But what if the banking is late and Jenny (let’s call her) is leaving early? It’s, “Oh, Jen, do us a favour and deposit this on your way home?” (Same applies to Post Office, L+W, Home Affairs, stationery supplier …!) Now, what is Jenny driving? Her own car, no doubt. But, is it insured? Oh, yes – great (!) But, wait, only for Private Use (eish!!)
Jenny is effectively without cover from the moment she agrees to “just do you a favour”, and so is the firm. Her car may be a run-down mom’s taxi, but, if there’s an accident, the other party’s vehicle / property could be very valuable and they may blame her for the prang. And when her policy declines to pay, recourse against your company is a logical step to follow.
What to do?
For a modest premium (depending on how many employees you have) you can add an extension to your Motor section, namely CONTINGENT LIABILITY, to guard against exactly this. It covers the firm against any indirect (ie., “contingent”) liabilities it could pick up by being legally responsible for the actions of its servants going about its business in cars other than its (the firm’s) own.
Avoid like the plague the temptation to have employees go outside their “course and scope” to run errands for you, esp.in vehicles. (Has other implications too – eg., Personal Accident; OHSA.)
If they must go, rather have them use a company car, not theirs.
Examine / Copy / Certify the Current Drivers’ Licences of All Staff and keep these on their staff files.