Insurers say it is ‘essential’ remote workers review policies

Liberty Insurance highlights a number of the most important insurance considerations

Employees and employers have been told it is “absolutely essential” to review their insurance policies if they are to adopt remote working practices in the long-term.

Brokers Ireland, which represents 1,225 broker firms, said people could find themselves liable for workplace accidents in the home.

Cathie Shannon, director of general insurance services at the group, said: “It is absolutely essential for home workers and their employers to take a fresh look at insurance cover in the new working environment.

“There are risks they may not have considered, and, unfortunately, it’s not until something arises that the prospect of being liable in the event of something going wrong may actually dawn.


“For example, suppose a client comes to your home office for a meeting and slips on the way out.

“We would recommend that employees and employers review their insurance cover. Practices can vary between insurers but a good broker will always find the best policy to suit individual circumstances.”

Liberty Insurance has highlighted a number of the most important insurance considerations for employees working from home and employers considering a more permanent role for out-of-office remote work.

“Most home insurance policies that include contents cover will include cover for a limited amount of home office equipment, such as a computer and printer,” it said.

“However, some home insurance policies may not give any cover for office contents, as they are not deemed to be household goods.

“Over the last 15 months, many employees have borrowed workplace hardware to facilitate their remote working, in many cases at short notice.

“The main purpose of business insurance is typically to cover company assets in a specific workplace, although some commercial business policies allow for an element of cover for business equipment being temporarily removed.

“Therefore, if an employer is moving to a remote working model, they will need to speak with their insurer and update their insurance policy accordingly.”

The insurer said it was also important to prepare for hacks, data breaches, and lost devices.

“It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure all computer hardware is provided to an employee to enable remote working,” it said. “Typically, this is covered under the business’s material damage section of its insurance policy.

“What’s most important is that employers update and communicate their security policies to reflect emerging teleworking practices and the rapidly evolving space of data security.

“Insurance products in the data security space are constantly evolving. Some insurers provide custom computer insurance cover, such as ‘all risks basis’ cover that enables employers to insure for damage or interference to computer systems and loss of data, whether electronic or non-electronic.”

On the issue of accidents in a remote work environment, it continued: “All employers have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure employees have a safe and ergonomic place to work, regardless of whether that is on-site or at home.

“If remote working is a relatively new development within an organisation, Liberty encourages employers to ensure their employer liability policy provides the appropriate level of coverage.”

The group added that meetings held at home should be digital only. “Remote workers hosting meetings at home has implications for the employer and employee,” it said.

“Most home insurance policies require people to specify that their home is not used in connection with their business or profession. Therefore, were an accident to occur in the home during a meeting with a client or customer, this would not be covered by their insurer.

“Liberty advises employees and employers to hold only digital meetings at home and go to a co-working space or the office for in-person meetings.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter