Maduka Nweke, [email protected] 08034207864, 08118879331
Lack of understanding of insurance often makes only very few people patronise insurance products. Even those that buy insurance services often need to be convinced and assured that they are not investing in white elephant projects. The apathy with which people treat insurance products and those selling insurance them could be likened to the treatment meted to lepers. Many people don’t even want to hear about insurance which explains why insurance penetration in Nigeria is at the lowest ebb.
There is no gainsaying that construction site workers are often at risk not being covered for injury and illness with a personal accident insurance. According to a survey published by cash plan provider, Sovereign Health Care (foreign-based magazine), despite the many dangers of this kind of work, building site employers are under no legal obligation to have a staff insurance policy like this in place.
Although people might say the problem is peculiar to third world countries alone, this is not the case in developed countries suffer the same problems. In the United States of America and the United Kingdom, you will still be surprised to find a reasonable percentage of construction workers not covered by insurance related to the trade. It is unbelievable to find that only 34 per cent of construction workers in the UK have a personal insurance package while around 60 per cent are under the misunderstanding that their employers must have insurance organised to cover costs should they fall ill or be injured as a result of their work. On top of this, one in 10 construction site employees were confused about whether or not they should have personal injury cover.
Given the obvious dangers of working in the construction industry, the results indicate a worrying ignorance or misunderstanding among respondents about the extent of protection employers must provide for them if they become ill or are injured. In a survey conducted among construction site workers in the UK to find the level of concern and interest, one-third of the site workers questioned admitted they have had to obtain medical treatment for an injury or illness suffered while working in the sector. In addition, 29 per cent said they were concerned or very concerned about the possibility of suffering an industrial injury or illness requiring medical treatment while working in construction in the future.
The scenario is quite different in Nigeria as most of those who are aware may not have the wherewithal to procure the insurance for themselves and the employees. Employers do not see a law that will compel them to take up insurance for their employees. In that regard, general contractors, specialised contractors, homebuilders, remodelers, and even carpenters need to minimise exposure to risk with construction insurance customised to the hazards of the profession. Otherwise, the benefits of the job will go into settling injury/health bills. The right blend of coverage can help limit financial risks due to jobsite injuries, equipment damage or vehicle accidents that may occur during the course of construction project.
Construction insurance can make the difference between a company turning in profit or losing money on a construction project. It’s important to make sure there is adequate and quality coverage. The specific coverage chosen will depend upon a number of factors, including the size of the company, the number of workers employed, and the type of work you perform. Construction and contracting occupations involve some of the most diverse and risky work. Some contractors and construction businesses have storefronts that clients can visit, and if clients get hurt on the property, their medical bills could become the company’s responsibility.
Construction business owners rely on General Liability Insurance to address these risks. This type of contractors’ insurance can offer lawsuit coverage for accidents, injuries, and some work mistakes. That protection can be invaluable in helping a small contracting business survive an otherwise expensive setback. However, the most worrisome is that the Nigerian environment plus the law do not support enforcement of the rules that will make employers and Nigerians see the value of insurance. General Liability Insurance can protect contractors and construction businesses and go a long way in providing liability insurance benefits for a company. This could be done in various ways, including but not limited to the asset protection insurance whereby, if a third party alleges your business caused bodily harm or property damage and you don’t have General Liability coverage, you would have to pay for those damages out of your pocket. As you can imagine, that can really hurt your bottom line.
There is an insurance policy called survival plan when things go wrong. Accidents are unpredictable and happen to even the most careful business owners. General Liability coverage helps ensure you can handle these unexpected expenses without jeopardising your ability to stay in business. There is also the insurance that can serve as protection for a business and its employees. With this coverage, daily work can be carried out knowing that employees are protected from uncertainty. General Liability coverage protects a business against claims brought against the company as a whole, as well as claims brought against individuals employed by the company.
General Liability Insurance offers the peace of mind that a business will have the necessary funds to continue daily operations – even when faced with a costly claim. This policy can cover the legal fees that can easily bankrupt a small contracting or construction business, such as attorney fees, witness fees, court expenses, and more. After a lawsuit, General Liability can be the difference between never opening the business doors again and weathering the storm still on your feet.
As a contractor, you can take on risk of property damage, employee injury and vehicle accidents. You are exposed to the risk of bodily injury or property damage to third parties. With the right business insurance in place, the risk and liabilities that can steal your profits can be minimised. It is a good idea to compare and value a shop before you buy. Make sure you are working with a highly rated insurance company. It is also a good idea to collect at least three rate quotes on similar coverage before you buy. In this way, you can see your options and choose a business insurance policy that is competitively priced, but has all the aspects you need to be protected on the job.