With millions of people around the globe working from home during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many organisations had to delve head-first into online working models, stress testing their effectiveness and adopting new working platforms.
With the realisation that many office staff are able to operate remotely with ease, more companies are likely to embrace the idea of making this approach a more permanent scenario, in addition to engaging with remote suppliers around the globe in order to adopt a more agile workforce.
According to Aon South Africa, there are a number of important aspects to consider from an insurance and risk perspective when working from home:
- Assets cover: The inventory of assets is normally vastly different between your standard furniture contained in a home to the specialised equipment used in your business. This becomes more complex if you are ordering and keeping stock for clients on your premises. A commercial insurance policy is geared for fire risk, damage or theft as well as the liability risks that a business could face.
- Business all risks cover: If you have company equipment at home such as a laptop, a printer or even an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), then check with your employer whether these items are covered under its business all risks cover.
- Motor insurance: There is a distinct difference between taking a weekend road trip or transporting friends to a rugby match and that of regularly driving to visit job sites or earning an extra income as an uber driver. Your personal car insurance will normally not respond to a claim when you are transporting people or goods for remuneration or using your vehicle to conduct work activities.
- Liability Cover: Work environments are evolving, and more practitioners like dieticians, chiropractors, physiotherapists and psychologists set up home-based practices. While a liability claim may seem highly unlikely for a private practice, they can and do happen and typically spell financial ruin without insurance cover. This is why it is crucial to do a thorough needs analysis to ensure that your home-based business practice is covered for every possible scenario.
- Cyber risk: The COVID-19 induced shift to remote working has provided a golden opportunity for cybercriminals to target one of a business’ biggest cyber vulnerabilities – the workforce. Businesses should ensure they review the relative cyber risk to their operations and understand that systems which may have been secure before, may now be vulnerable due to the change in operations.
- Goods in Transit and Stock stored offsite/at home: Whether you’re a tradesman or contractor transporting expensive tools and materials from your work site to client site, or a renewable energy specialist installing PV systems at homes or businesses, the protection of your valuable stock and customer orders while in transit against damage or loss due to an accident, theft or hijacking is critical to the sustainability of your business, your reputation and financial stability.
- Load Shedding: Unfortunately load shedding is a reality for South Africans for the foreseeable future. One of the aspects to contend with is the fact that it compromises safety and security. Battery back-ups on security equipment such as electric fences, alarm systems, security cameras and outdoor motion passives can run out before power is restored. Once the power is back, your electronic equipment is also at risk of power surges, which necessitates the use of surge protectors where appropriate.
- Stay Vigilant: The lockdown and its devastating economic consequences have exacerbated the vulnerability of many South Africans, making it essential for all to remain vigilant, especially if you are home.
- Update your insurance: With the work from home movement, it is likely that you have had to make a few changes or additions to your home to accommodate the new normal. Don’t forget to update your insurance covers to include these additions to your home, or where applicable, to insure these additions under a business insurance policy.
The value of a professional insurance broker comes to the fore when considering the various insurance aspects that could possibly impact your work-from-home environment and your pocket, making sure that your personal and business insurance toes the line. A thorough needs-analysis will ensure that you are correctly covered at the inception of your policy, so that come claims time (and crunch time), there are no unforeseen surprises.