Is your business fully insured?

Insurance issues
Andrew Dix, partnerships manager at OAMPS, believes: “There are many risks involved in the distribution and haulage of fuel. Whilst there is the fear of an accident on the road, there is also the additional risk of a product spill or crossover and it is crucial to consider the safety of your staff. Ensuring that insurance policies are suitable is a major responsibility for companies.
“There are a number of specific issues for fuel distributors or hauliers to consider when purchasing insurance.

  1. Limit of indemnity – be aware of any inner limits set within the insurance policy. It’s not uncommon for cover extensions to be restricted to a lower level than expected.
  2.  Bona fide subcontractors – by using a bona fide subcontractor a business is not removing its legal liability. The insurance policy will place responsibility on the policyholder to check and document that the subcontractor has a suitable insurance policy in place, and the level of cover matches that of the policyholder to avoid any gaps.
  3.  Terms & conditions – it is important to review your terms and conditions for commercial work. Insurance is a contractual liability and the terms and conditions in a contract can set the parameters for any claim as long as they are deemed reasonable. In the case of domestic deliveries terms assist in mitigating any claim, however, the business will be deemed as the professional and invariably will be seen at fault.
  4.  24 hours spillage remediation service – whether responding to a major spill on the highway or a smaller spillage at a household delivery, this cover is invaluable. By including this in the insurance policy, the total cost of a claim can be minimised. This will be achieved by the insurer arranging for clean-up work to start immediately, using known contractors and with a set outcome and pre-agreed rates.
  5.  Statutory environmental costs cover – sometimes called the Bartoline Extension. This cover will ensure that should the Environment Agency or any other regulatory body impose an enforcement following a sudden and unforeseen pollution incident, your insurance policy will respond. Most insurance policies will exclude this in full and some extensions will provide a limited level of cover. The ideal is a policy that provides cover to the full limit of indemnity under Public and Products Liability.
  6.  Secure insurer – whilst it is a much used phrase, most insurers don’t explain what this means to the client. Firms such as Standard and Poor’s undertake financial checks on insurers confirming that there is sufficient financial stability to pay claims in the event of major losses. Whilst there have been instances where A rated (very secure) firms have had financial difficulties, these have been few and far between. Having an insurer with a strong security rating will afford you an additional level of comfort.
  7.  Crossover/wrongful delivery – if the driver accidentally contaminates a third party’s product as a result of negligence, the cost can be high. This is not covered in most insurance policies but is definitely worth adding.”

Communication is key
Paul Martin, joint managing director Reynolds Trade Credit believes that communication with policy holders has improved, and as a result, insurance cover has benefited. “A no benefit of the doubt attitude has been replaced with a credit where it’s due mentality. While high levels of insolvencies are likely to continue during periods of economic gloom, the good news for businesses is that credit insurers have the capacity to offer increasing levels of cover.”
Reynolds’ insurance is bespoke, designed for the individual needs of a client’s business. As a business changes, the insurance is designed to develop alongside, meeting the client’s needs for the lifetime of the relationship. Access to credit information can also help grow a business rather than simply protect against bad debts. It can form an integral part of an existing strong credit management process.
Reynolds is one of the oldest independent specialist credit insurance brokers. “We have an extensive client portfolio over a wide range of industries and are the largest providers of credit insurance services to the oil industry,” adds Paul. “Credit insurance is designed to speedily replace cash lost through the insolvency or default of an insured customer. Clients benefit from our insurers’ expert knowledge of their trade and are made aware, at an early stage, if other suppliers are experiencing payment delays.”

sept photos combines
At Reynolds’ golf day over 90% of attendees were fuel clients. Left: Matt Greensmith, Crown Oil, Paul Martin, Ian Bocca, QBE and Rory Clarke, Rix Petroleum. Right: Dave Ainsworth, GB Oils, Danny Greechan, Coface, Paul Martin, Steve Carrick, BWOC and Tony Wilson, Inver Energy