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But I can’t get insurance...

Insurance is available as long as we check our risks.
Insurance is available but we must make sure we remove or minimise any potential problems.
With two big insurers, Royal Sun Alliance and more recently Aviva no longer wanting to cover our industry, many have expressed concerns. We asked insurance specialist, Anita Jones of Bollington what can be done?

As usual, Anita was very helpful, explaining that insurance was available for our industry without too much trouble but as we are a high risk area of cover, the trick is to make sure you have analysed those risks and taken action to remove or minimise them. Naturally, this also means being able to prove you have taken every step necessary if things do go wrong. That means paper work. Sorry guys, there is no escape from this if you want cover at a sensible price.

Anita then suggested that she would be happy to visit a site with Bollington’s head of Risk Management, Andy Barnes to look at the issues associated with our operations and what’s required to overcome them. In other words, to make our businesses more attractive to the insurer. Remember, this won’t only help get you affordable insurance, but the very process that you go through will make the operation safer, more efficient and in many cases that can reflect in the bottom line.

Anita Jones
Anita Jones has been organising effective cover for businesses in our sector for over 10 years. She understands how we operate and is professionally trained to assess and help you both minimise and manage your risks. By doing so, she can arrange insurance cover that not only reflects your operation but will provide adequate cover when something does go wrong. You can call Anita at Bollington on 07977 432048 or click to email her.
Auto recyclers tend to fall into three groups. Those who operate pick-a-part or self service sites (where the customer can remove his own parts), those who offer full service (removing and preparing parts with no access in the yard for customers) and those who offer both.

It isn’t hard to appreciate that the risks involved with yards where customers can remove parts are different to those where they don’t get passed the counter. As such, Anita agreed to look at two sites. Terry Charlton of Cambridge based Charlton Recycled Autoparts was selected for the full service operation and as luck would have it, he mentioned that his son, Simon operates Erith based Pick-A-Part, a self service site.

In this issue we shall cover Terry’s full service site and follow on with the issues particular to self service next month. Risk specialist, Andy got down to business straight away, explaining that the focus of any visit revolves around the potential harm that the operation may cause, what can be done to minimise the risk from that harm and what paper trail exists to demonstrate the actions taken.

Andy couldn’t stress too strongly the need for this paper trail. “You need this proof so if the worst happens you can demonstrate what preventative action has taken place. You need to cover up to 14 different areas of legislation and that’s why you need specialists in risk on your side”, Andy said.

As we walked the site, he went through the various issues as they arose:
  • Fall from heights - and that means any height that isn’t the ground.
  • Risks from vehicle operations - you must assess the risks that exist and put in place systems to reduce the risk. This could include segregated areas for staff and vehicles or perhaps closing off areas when vehicles are in operation.
  • Manual handling - he mentioned TILE which stands for task, individual, load and environment. He also mentioned shared loads.
  • Stacking at height - you must make sure that things can’t fall.
  • Trip hazards - Policies must be in place to make sure these are removed or reduced to a minimum.
  • Staff Training - This must start with induction followed by specific training and site specific risk assessment. Staff must understand what you are telling them and sign to say they have done so.
  • Fire marshals and first aiders - you need to have members of staff trained in these areas.
  • Security issues - Your site should be secure to prevent criminal activity on the site which includes theft and fire issues.
  • Risk assessments - for all machinery and operations.
  • Machinery and vehicles - make sure all operators are fully trained and that maintenance programmes are adhered to and recorded. Make sure operators understand and perform any pre-start checks that are required.
  • Paper trail - Everything must be documented to make sure you can demonstrate how your business operates.
I am sure there’s plenty more that could go on the list as well but I hope this gives an idea of what is required of you. Don’t be too daunted by it, after all your insurance broker will help you all the way with this. Yes, you have to implement any programmes required and re-evaluate your operation on a regular basis and yes, you do have to keep the paper work up to date. Andy assures me that once Bollington’s have carried out a full assessment of a site they do work with the client to help implement any requirements.

Although you need personnel on site for health and safety etc, you also need experts to call on when you feel out of your depth. That’s why insurance brokers such as Bollingtons now employ these qualified specialists so that you can call on them when you need help. Insurance in our business is no longer simply about paying a premium, it’s about partnering with specialists who then work almost as part time staff whose service you call on as and when required.

If this all sounds overbearing, don’t worry. The bulk of it you more than likely do every day. Where specialists like Andy and Anita help is in formalising what you do and pointing out where there may be shortcomings. As I mentioned earlier, although we all hate paperwork, this process should help protect you and make your operation more efficient in the long run.

Next month we will look at issues particularly associated with a self service operation. In the meantime, if you have any insurance issues you can contact Anita by email or call her on 07977 432048.

October 2013

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