As a practicing inventory clerk you should be insured whether you are self-employed, a sole trader or a limited company.
Most high street agents require clerks / companies that provide inventory services to have insurance as it protects them against claims from tenants and landlords.
For most clerks (self employed / sole trader) you will need:
Indemnity cover is to help you with any legal action and or claims for compensation when you or someone in your business gets it wrong. It protects you when a client’s reputation is damaged or they lose money and they blame your business.
Why should you get professional indemnity insurance?
Even though insurance is not necessarily required most letting agents now insist on your services being covered and in return it protects their services. Anyone providing professional services or handling client data and intellectual property should have it as mistakes can and do happen and even if it’s not your fault, you could still be challenged. If one of your clerks gets it wrong, or even if you feel there’s no mistake at all, you may still have to defend yourself so being insured is real the only way to protect yourself, your business and reputation.
They could include:
Fixing mistakes - your clerk fails to see and or capture evidence of a large burn mark in the carpet at the end of the tenancy. If the agent then hasn't charged the tenant then its highly likely that the landlord will seek compensation from the agent who, in turn, will seek any costs from you as the business owner.
Misuse of data - a clerk who you use during busy times retains the tenant contact details initially provided for the check in and later contacts the tenant direct to do the checkout outside of your agreement with the letting agent. The tenant is quite rightly unhappy that their information has been retained without permission and as the date controller you are liable for any breach.
Unhappy clients - your client isn’t happy as they believe your advice in regards to tenant liability was wrong and they lost the deposit dispute so are looking to you to recover their costs. Whether they a right or wrong, if they do, we’ll cover your costs.
As professional inventory clerks we interact with a wide variety of business, members of the public and clients so any injury, illness or damage to a property caused by you, your staff or those you contract out to such as self employed clerks need to be covered.
This could include:
- Damage to a smoke detector - unit broke during a push button test so the agent wants to be compensated for the cots of replacing it
- Loss of keys - agent states keys were not returned after the inventory report was compiled but you are sure they were but have no signature to confirm this
- Large vase shattered - item was knocked accidentally by your clerk whilst inspecting the table it was stood on during the check out process
All the above are examples where insurance has managed the claim and in some cases covered the losses.
If you are a limited company then it is likely that you will also need
If you are a limited company or empty clerks then this type of insurance is crucial in order to protect your business against the cost of compensation claims made in the event of an employee injury or work-related illness.
And it's not just for permanent employees – you might face a claim against you from self-employed contractors, temporary staff or even volunteers
- an employee trips and falls over a trailing computer wire at your premises and damages their ankle, you, as the employer, are liable
- your self employed clerk falls off a chair whilst attempting to capture a meter reading; if you have not risk assessed the process and given clear advice and guidance as to how to manage meters at height you are liable
Employers’ Liability insurance is a legal requirement and not having adequate cover can lead to significant fines and as an employer, you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees while they are at work.
Insurance should always be one of the key considerations when operating as either a solo trader, self employed clerk or as a limited company.