Does it sometimes feel as if there are too many ‘extras’ on offer when insuring your block? Why can’t they all just be included in your basic buildings insurance policy? The simple answer is choice.
Insurance is a big-ticket item in a service charge budget and you, your managing agents or your residents management company need to buy carefully and to look at the pros and cons.
In our view, not every block wants or necessarily needs all of the cover options we offer, but every block should at least consider them and make an informed choice.
What’s Group Emergency Assistance cover?
Take Emergency Assistance cover . By offering a policy that covers all the flats in a building as well as common areas, we help you to ensure that emergencies can be dealt with quickly with minimal disruption.
It covers both the common areas of the building for major incidents, such as drainage failure or roof damage, as well as individual flats which might experience, for example, heating breakdown, failure of power supplies, or plumbing blockages and bursts.
The added advantage of this group approach is that each individual leaseholder has access to a 24/7 helpline and, in all likelihood, the shared cost of the premium – paid through service charges – is likely to be less than if they tried to arrange cover individually.
Having the cover can also offer peace of mind to owner-occupier in blocks with a high proportion of sub-let flats. It means there is no need for tenants to wait to get hold of their landlord enabling them to get emergency repairs in hand before damage spreads.
At Deacon, call out fees, parts and labour are covered up to £500 per incident. There is no excess to pay and most emergencies will be covered by this policy – all it takes is one phone call to the helpline to get the ball rolling.
Policy limits and exclusions may apply, please see policy wording for full terms and conditions.
So what’s Engineering & Inspection cover?
Don’t confuse group Emergency Assistance cover with Engineering & Inspection cover, the two are very different.
Engineering & Inspection insurance covers you for the emergency repair of shared mechanical, electrical or lifting equipment. It also helps you manage safety inspections, which are a legal requirement and identify maintenance issues so that they can be addressed before becoming major issues.
As an owner, property manager or member of a residents committee, you are probably already aware of your legal duty to ensure that certain equipment at the premises may have to be inspected at regular intervals and maintained at all times.
Lifts, for example, must be inspected by a competent authority at regular intervals: the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) requires that they are checked every six months and that you hold a written report on their condition; which will also specify any remedial work required and suggest a time scale.
As well as lifts, other items at your flats may require inspection as well. This could include boilers, stair lifts, car parking lifts, electronic gates and barriers, gyms, etc. You can find out more here.
Do remember that inspection on its own isn’t enough: you must actively maintain equipment at all times, but the inspector’s recommendations will guide you on this. The tragic death of five-year-old Alexys Brown highlights the awful risks of failing to inspect and maintain.
Deacon is part of Gallagher, one of the world’s largest insurance, risk management and consulting services companies in the world. Deacon specialise in arranging buildings insurance for blocks of flats, apartments and let property, from 2 flats in a conversion to 200 in a purpose built block, of standard and non-standard construction, including listed buildings.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited (Gallagher) trading as Deacon accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.