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Insuring Against Employee Issues - Can it be done?

Gow Gates Insurance Broker

When things turn sour in the workplace, what cover do you have in place to protect yourself?

For any travel business the hiring and management of staff is a complex area. Legislation is always changing and the responsibilities associated with managing and employing staff are numerous.

At law, when you have employees (or deemed employees), you are required to have Workers Compensation Insurance and many businesses in addition to this statutory requirement effect Corporate Travel policies to cover their staff when travelling for work, be it within Australia or overseas. But what about situations where a disgruntled employee alleges that they have been mistreated or when Occupational Health and Safety arrives to investigate an injury at work?

One of the most important Risk Management Protocols for any business is to have correctly written procedures. Manuals for Occupational Health and Safety Procedures are crucial and now with the increase in social media, having a written Social Media Policy for your staff is becoming a necessity. However, the best written procedures are nullified if managers and staff are not made aware of the importance of adhering to them.

Insurance can also provide some protection - under a Management Liability Policy, you can be covered for the unfortunate consequences of wrongful accusations. Management Liability Policies have evolved in the last twenty years to include this important protection for both owners / directors of the company and the company itself. Whilst not all cases are as high profile as the David Jones harassment claim, we are seeing an ever increasing amount of claims. 

Management Liability is a policy with many facets but the ones most related to employee issues are:

  • Employment Practices Liability insurance. This section is specifically designed to help employers minimise the risk and potential cost of claims taken against them by employees. These actions may be related to such things as alleged discrimination, unfair dismissal and sexual or workplace harassment and bullying.

  • Statutory Liability Insurance. This section can protect the directors and company from monetary consequences arising from regulatory action by Occupational Health & Safety organisations working with the various WorkCover State Bodies. The defence costs protection under this section can save a business from financial difficulties.

  • Fidelity Insurance. This section covers direct financial loss to the company caused by an employee stealing. Many Management Liabilities also include provisions for the cost of external forensic accountants to assist after the loss is discovered.

Under the Fair Work Act, just for the October/December Quarter in 2014, 3,610 unfair dismissal applications were lodged across Australia. Under the Work Cover Act in NSW, 2013-2014 statistics show that 6,900 notices were issued by inspectors and there were 14,544 workplace visits.

Management Liability can be surprisingly affordable for companies, and Gow-Gates have negotiated a special policy for Travel Agents.

This is a beneficial insurance very much relevant to your business especially when considered that the amount of liability / cost remains unknown until final adjudication.

Please contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Travel Industry Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or rfleming@gowates.com.au to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers advises that persons should not act on the material contained in this article as the items are of a general nature only and may be misinterpreted. We therefore recommend that advice be sought before acting in these areas.