Explaining Insurance to our Solar Supplier

Risk Management.While we were going through the due diligence process to the perspective suppliers of solar panels for our Melbourne office, we naturally sought copies of their insurance and warranty agreements.

The primary cover upon which the company was installing was a public and products liability policy underwritten by a highly regarded insurer head quartered in the US. The policy itself, however, was issued out of China. (I was going to post a copy of the policy but did not want to embarrass the Australian arm of the Insurer who probably is not aware their brand is being used to sell solar panels by providing false comfort to consumers.

The company produced this as evidence of a product guarantee policy. One glance showed that it was a no frills public and product liability policy with a $1 million dollar limit any one loss any one period of insurance. For an Australia insurer to try and recover under this policy would be next to impossible. Should the product fail and our building burn down, the loss would be far greater than limit and, as it is an aggregate, this limit would naturally be eroded by any previous claims paid in the same insurance year.

I explained all of this and that the policy being in the name of the supplier offered no protection to the Australian based solar company. Company is the wrong term as the owner of the business is a sole trader using a business name. I explained that he could not reasonably rely on this policy to protect himself and that he had significant exposures as a result.

He explained he had purchased insurance direct on the internet and had a home office cover. I explained that this was completely inadequate for his business and referred him to a broker specialising in the solar industry. You could physically see his discomfort when he realised the risk he had taken on by not having the correct insurance.

A lesson for any business owner. Insurance can and is extremely complicated. It is the most important contract you enter into in business as it protects the owner in so many ways such as the physical loss of assets, business interruption, and litigation just as a start. If something went wrong as it currently stood, the business operator could lose his house and everything else he owns because he did not appreciate what he did not know.

NeedabrokerIn such circumstances it is vital to get expert advice. Here is a link to Need An Insurance Broker to those that may need the right advice.

Even after all this advice, we caught the installers working on the roof without their harness connected! When will people learn?

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