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Three leading causes of manufacturing claims

At a glance

  • Our in-house team of claims inspectors provide expertise to customers across the UK
  • The UK manufacturing industry employs 2.5 million people
  • Here are the three most common cause of claims the team inspects

This article counts towards accumulating your annual CII CPD structured learning hours for Claims.

By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: Summarise latest claims trends and identify how the insurance market is responding.

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Zurich’s in-house team of claims inspectors provide coverage across the UK, working with both commercial and municipal customers in the event of a liability claim.

With 30 experts covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the team inspects a broad range of businesses. Here, Mark Hudson, Claims Inspectorate Operations Manager North & East, shares his insights on the leading claims he sees at manufacturing firms.

The UK manufacturing industry employs around 2.5 million people across the UK, which does see incidents occur.

There are many reasons why we might be inspecting a claim from a manufacturing firm. Here are three of the most common.

Pedestrian vs vehicle

We often investigate accidents involving a collision between a vehicle driving around the factory environment and an employee on foot. The factory floor can be a very noisy place, so it’s unsurprising that people can sometimes find themselves unexpectedly in the path of a vehicle. Warehouses, with large stacks of goods and sometimes unclear sight lines, are a hotbed for these kinds of claims. It is vital that clients have a policy in place which avoids, as much as possible, the mixing of pedestrians and vehicles, and provides designated safe routes. It’s also vital that all staff are equipped with the right protective equipment. Steel toecap boots will offer far more protection than traditional work boots if your foot is caught under machinery or a vehicle.

Floor defects

By defects, we mean physical defects rather than spillages. Defects in the floor of a workplace can cause real issues, for example by presenting tripping hazards to pedestrians or holes for vehicles to catch wheels in. The former can lead to falls and associated consequences; the latter can result in back injuries or a spillage of the load. What starts as a small defect can worsen, increasing the hazard presented to those on site.

Clearly, these defects need to be repaired, but even this can cause our client problems. The location can mean that they need to shut down operations in order to safely complete repairs. Even minor injuries to the workforce can mean time off work and loss of earnings for the employee. There are also potential costs for the employer in lost productivity or in sourcing temporary staff to carry out absent workers’ duties.

Training issues

To successfully defend claims, we will often require the insured to provide us with training records in respect of the employees involved in the incident, in order to show that had the claimant followed the training given, the accident could have been avoided. In addition to confirming that a particular training course has been attended, we need to go further and produce documentation which sets out the syllabus of the training and provide evidence, such as a questionnaire, which confirms that this training has been understood. This can be quite a challenge for some smaller firms and often means that they need to be very clear with their training providers about what level of data needs to be available for disclosure.

Another potential obstacle is communicating on site. In the UK, there is a diverse workforce, and frequently a high proportion of staff do not speak English as their first language. This can lead to difficulties in making sure that employees are able to access all relevant information, and needs to be addressed on a regular basis within environments that have daily briefings.

“It’s our role as claims inspectors to investigate the cause of the accident and ensure that we have sufficient evidence to properly assess legal liability. Thereafter, it is our responsibility to make sure that an admission or denial is made swiftly to keep the costs of the claim to a minimum. It’s important that the customer is fully engaged in the process so that they can, if necessary, take steps to improve their internal procedures and prevent a recurrence. It’s a fully joined up process with our in-house claims teams reviewing the cases to ensure that they are dealt with at the appropriate level.

This triage process ensures that the claims inspectors focus on cases where we can make the most impact. Where customers have it as part of their cover, we also work with our in-house rehabilitation team to make sure everything is done to get any injured employees back to work as soon as possible.”

For more information about our Claims Inspectors, please get in touch with your local Zurich contact.

Image © Getty

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