Recently at an SSKB managed scheme the Resident Unit Manager fell and was injured as he performed his duties. He was unable to perform his duties for a period of time, incurred medical expenses and suffered a loss of income. He thought his insurance policy would cover this but as he found out, it wasn’t as straight forward as he had hoped.
What are you Insured for as a Resident Unit Manager?
There is a lot involved when it comes to managing a property. As a Resident Unit Manager, your responsibilities not only include balancing the expectations of property owners and tenants but also involve arranging for general maintenance and additional duties handled behind the scenes to ensure the properties under your care are well-kept.
As a Resident Unit Manager, you are not only responsible for the safety of residents, but also for any visitors to the property. Visitors will come into contact with common property, whether they are walking through the foyer, using the lifts or a staircase, or parking their car in an underground garage.
Navigating the complexities of the best insurance for your business as a RUM is often difficult and confusing. So, let’s take a look at the number of key insurances all RUMs should consider to ensure that your fully covered.
There are many key insurances all RUMs should consider:
- Public Liability Insurance – protects RUM’S against claims such as bodily injury or property damage for which the RUM can be held legally liable.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance – protects you for claims made against you by third parties for errors, omissions or negligent acts arising out of the operation of your professional business and therefore potentially a breach of Professional Duty which then results in the (alleged) loss or damage including financial loss and personal injury or property damage.
- Management Liability Insurance is designed to cover you and your business against actual or alleged mismanagement of your business. Management Liability insurance can also help cover Employment Practices claims made against you by current or former Employees.
- Business Interruption Insurance. If your business is interrupted or interfered with as a result of loss and/or damage to the buildings, contents or documents, the Insurer will indemnify you for loss of fees.
- RUM lot Contents and Office Equipment Insurance. This insurance covers your RUM lot contents and any business equipment you may have to run your business.
- Workers Compensation Insurance – Protects all workers for accident or injury while working. However, if you’re a sole trader or a director or partner of your own business, or you’re employed by a Trust of which you are a trustee, you’re not considered a worker, so you’re not covered by your accident insurance policy. You can take out Workplace Personal Injury Insurance to cover you if you’d like to, but it’s not compulsory.
- Workplace personal injury Insurance. If you’re a sole trader or a director or partner of your own business, or you’re employed by a Trust where you’re a trustee, you’re not considered a worker, so you’re not covered by your accident insurance policy. Workplace Personal Injury Insurance insures you against work-related injury or illness. This type of policy may cover you for injuries at work or while travelling to or from work.
What are some scenarios Resident Unit Managers may face?
Scenario 1: Injury to Holiday letting guest
An elderly woman who enjoyed travelling rented a holiday unit managed by RUM. As she sat on a plastic chair on the balcony, the chair broke under her weight. The guest suffered serious injuries as a result of this fall. She took legal action against the RUM, as well as the owner of the property as she believed they were negligent in keeping a defective chair at the holiday apartment.
Outcome: Fortunately, the RUM had Public Liability Insurance and the insurer was able to help cover the legal fees he incurred in defending himself, as well as the compensation he was required to pay the elderly woman.
Scenario 2: Repairs & Maintenance
The RUM was requested to make some minor repairs to the non-mechanical entrance door to the foyer of the building, common property. The repairs were made. Later in the week the door slammed shut and shattered glass it one of the occupants of the scheme.
Outcome: The lot owner sued the RUM alleging the repairs contributed to the incident. The Professional Indemnity insurer represented the RUM and successfully argued the incident was not caused by the minor repairs completed by the RUM.
Scenario 3: Building not fit for Occupation
The building the RUM manages had a substantial fire and will not be fit for occupation for 18 weeks.
Probable Outcome: As the RUM had taken out Business Interruption Insurance they stand a good chance of being covered for the loss of income due to the business being uninhabitable though the insured should always understand the inclusions and exclusions of their policy.
Scenario 4: Personal Injury to a RUM
A Resident Unit Manager was injured doing his duties and trimming the hedges. The caretaker lost his footing and slipped on the pool decking and fell over the edge onto the shoreline below fracturing his heel.
The RUM lodged a Workcover claim and was told he was not insured as he is a Director of his company. Even though he has paid his premiums to Workcover for several years and does the majority of the Caretaking duties personally, he discovered that he is not covered under the particular policy as he is a director of the company.
Probable Outcome: If the RUM had taken out a Workplace Injury Policy, he would have potentially been covered for his medical costs and up to 85% of his weekly earnings.
SSKB General Manager Brendan Edwards stated, “As many of our RUM’s are Directors of their company and in most cases the only people that perform the Caretaking duties, I encourage all RUM’s to contact their Insurance Broker to ensure that they are adequately covered in the event that they are injured performing their contracted duties with the Body Corporate”.
As a Resident Unit Manager, it is crucial to ensure you have adequate insurance cover for all types of insurance, especially Public Liability and Professional Indemnity. In terms of responsibilities for occupational health and safety in the operation of a strata scheme, your responsibilities are to identify risks and hazards, assess these risks, and add control measures to combat these potential risks. If you are a RUM and are unsure if you are adequately insured, please don’t hesitate to contact your SSKB Community Manager for more information.
If you are a Resident Unit Manager and would like to speak with one of SSKB’s experienced insurance brokers please contact your scheme’s Community Manager.