Is Your Toolbox Complete? Insurance Solutions for Plumbers
Every day you walk onto a job site, you work with a large array of tools – all of which are essential to getting the job done. Yet you might be missing one vital tool in your plumbing tool kit – insurance! I know what you’re thinking, “do I really need that?” You might even be thinking that you already have adequate insurance in place. However, with a range of challenges unique to your industry, it’s important to consistently check if your toolbox is complete with insurance solutions that protect you on the job.
Just as the work in the plumbing industry varies, so do the insurance policies that are relevant for you. While Victorian plumbers must all have a minimum of $5,000,000 public liability insurance and $50,000 consumer protection insurance under the Plumbers Ministerial Order, there are many other policies that you might need to consider depending on your circumstances. We have compiled a comprehensive list of insurance solutions, giving you the tools you need to stay protected on the job-site.
Public Liability: Public Liability Insurance is considered a must have for plumbers, providing protection in the event of personal injury or damage to a third party or their property. According to AAMI, it is also considered to be the most common type of claim for tradesman during 2011 to 2015. 1. If a claim was made against you or your company, you could be liable to pay for damages and any legal costs incurred, all of which can place a hefty financial burden on you or your company. Not to mention, if you’re a sole-trader, you are legally and financially responsible for all aspects of your business, putting your own personal assets at stake. Plumbers public liability insurance ensures you’re financially protected against such claims. Marsh Advantage Insurance also arranges protection that satisfies the Victorian Plumbers Ministerial Order to ensure the maintenance and renewal of your plumbing licence in Victoria.
Errors and Omissions: Did you know product or installation advice you give as a plumber could put you at a financial risk? If the advice you give to customers results in loss or damage, this form of liability insurance provides financial protection to manage legal expenses and monetary damages, helping plumbing companies or contractors avoid a significant financial hit.
Property Insurance: The second most common claim for tradesman according to AAMI’s business claim data, is the loss or damage of portable and valuable items1, including the tools you use daily to get the job done. If your tools, equipment or resources were suddenly lost or damaged from events such as natural disasters or theft, you inevitably will not be able to carry out the work you intended to complete, leaving you out of pocket as you will need to replace the items, which minimises your potential income. Property insurance helps reduce this impact, providing financial compensation to alleviate any stress.
Motor Vehicle Insurance: Unsurprisingly, the third most common claim for tradesman in accordance with AAMI’s claims data, is claims against commercial motor vehicles. Many plumbers rely on commercial motor vehicles to get from job-site to job-site increasing the risk of damage. It is recommended that plumbers obtain a commercial motor vehicle insurance policy to protect your ability to get the job done and insure your vehicle against damage or loss.
Faulty Workmanship: Did you know that the trade industry as a whole is experiencing a skills shortage? Statistics by the Australian Government, Department of Jobs and Small Business highlights that the plumbing industry has experienced a shortage of plumbers in NSW alone, since 20132. This is worrisome for plumbers and plumbing business owners who could potentially be at risk of claims of negligence or faulty workmanship simply because there is a lack of adequate resources. Fortunately, this is a risk you can insure against.
Income Protection: In 2017-2018, trade workers had the highest recorded rate of work-related injury or illness, accounting for 79 people per 1000 employed persons, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics3. Marsh provides plumbers just like you with a high level of protection that may not be included in your superannuation or employee benefits. Our income protection insurance for plumbers not only provides cover during your labour-intensive work activities but also protects up to 75% of your normal wages for a specified period of time in instances of illness or injury that is not work-related. This benefit offers hard-working plumbers and their families much needed peace of mind and financial security, particularly when it is needed most.
Employment Practices Liability: In 2017, the Australian FairWork Commission reported that a total of 14,135 unfair dismissal applications were lodged, representing the largest category of applications received each year4. This is only one example. If you own your own plumbing company, it is important to understand that employees and former employees have the ability to sue you for a raft of alleged acts such as claims of unfair dismissal, underpayment, discrimination, bullying and harassment. Although the Australian FairWork Commission reports that the majority of unfair dismissal claims were resolved prior to reaching the Commissioner, it is still essential for business owners to be aware of this risk. Employment practices liability insurance for plumbers provides cover for claims relating to such allegations.
At Marsh Advantage Insurance, we have arranged insurance for thousands of plumbers across the country and have come to understand the unique requirements of the industry. For more information on the policies described above or to update your toolkit with appropriate insurance cover, please contact our expert plumbers team at 1300 300 511.
Notice: Master Plumbers Insurance Brokers (Aust) (MPIB) is a trading name of Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 31 081 358 303, AFSL 238 369). MPIB arranges the insurance and is not the insurer. This article contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax, or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire the product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from Marsh Advantage on request. The Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) receives a financial benefit when a policy is arranged by Marsh Advantage, enabling it to continue to provide further services to the plumbing industry. LCPA 19/059.
1 Source: AAMI, (2015) Top 3 Insurance Claims for Tradies
2 Source: Australian Government, (2018) Department of Jobs and Small Business, Plumbers ANZSCO 3341
3 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2018) Work Related Injuries, Australia, June 2017 to June 2018.
4 Source: Fair Work Commission (2017) 2016-2017 Annual Report: Access to Justice. Page 77