Demolition and asbestos removal are high risk activities, and if something goes wrong, can be expensive. To protect yourself, your business and your employees, you must have an insurance specialist analyse your insurance coverage to ensure that all aspects of your business are covered.
Why Do I Need Specific Insurance?
Demolition and asbestos removal works carry a range of health and safety risks for contractors, business owners, and those managing or controlling the workplaces where demolition work or asbestos removal is being undertaken. Demolition Contractors and Abestos Removalist/ Abatement Contractors generally take out insurance to cover themselves in the event of an accident or incident at the work site during the course of their business. However, most companies who seek to protect themselves by purchasing public liability insurance, do not realise that asbestos-related incidents are often excluded from their cover (known as an absolute asbestos exclusion) and only discover they are not covered when an incident occurs and they make a claim. Therefore, it is important that companies ensure their coverage includes asbestos removals and demolition public liability insurance. Even demolition specialists who do not perform asbestos removal must consider mitigating the risk of an incident involving asbestos; if a previously-unidentified piece of asbestos was to cause damage during demolition or dismantling services, insurance cover would still not respond due to the asbestos exclusion. Asbestos removal companies must ensure that their asbestos removal liability is comprehensive and fit for the work they carry out, which may also include extensions to cover transport of asbestos.
Additionally, there have been reports that damage during repairs to asbestos roofing or walls that have resulted in dust requiring clean up and decontamination have not been covered, so the range of asbestos-related incidents that are not covered by general insurance can be very broad.
Relevant cover includes:
Asbestos insurance cover is particularly complex when considering it can take 40 years for asbestos-related medical conditions to become apparent, and the level of exposure to asbestos does not need to be great for a person to suffer from an asbestos-related disease; asbestos, but the nature of its fibres, is very difficult to expel from the lungs, so one breath might be enough for a person to become a victim to a range of disease such as mesothelioma. Business owners must also consider the effects on their employees and liability due to poor repair work in the past.
Furthermore, asbestos claims are complex to manage due to the uncertainty surrounding who is actually liable; is it the landowner, employer, contractor, or another third party? Even demolishers and asbestos removers who are not at fault may find the finger pointed at them, where the other contractors on site no longer exist, don’t have a financial ability to cover an asbestos claim, or are otherwise less attractive to victims seeking compensation.
Therefore, it is necessary for asbestos contractors and demolishers to ensure they have a confident and well-qualified insurer who can provide maximum coverage and long-term peace of mind.
Given the range of insurance options, exclusions, and long and short terms risks you must consult with an insurance specialist capable of recommending the cover most relevant to protecting your business.