Al Swan's Top Tips:
When your business is virtually on wheels, having the right cover is vital!
- Having a van fitted with a system is considered a modification, are your insurers aware? We have pre-negotiated terms.
- Your insurers may provide a van in the event of a claim but does it come fitted complete with a system?
- Beware. Cheap cover may not be so cheap when your business suffers due to incorrect insurance.
Our niche in the window cleaning industry was born in 2003, when we were approached by Ionic Systems Ltd, to develop a policy for their clients to provide fully comprehensive cover for their Reach and Wash Systems.
Insurers recognised a reduced theft risk of the most valuable item – the water fed pole system itself – as it is bolted to the chassis. However, they also include “all risks” cover for the poles. Once we were happy with the cover, rates and terms we began offering the product to our clients. We still offer this superb policy today.
We felt there were other areas we could help window cleaners in so we set out to source equally superior products for our window cleaner clients, including commercial vehicle (noting modification), public and employers liability, personal accident, etc.
It was a huge surprise to us in 2008, when we had a couple of claims where our clients were without their Reach and Wash fitted vehicles and they found it impossible to source one for hire. We also phoned around for them and it was impossible to get hold of one. This discovery led us to our idea of buying them ourselves and providing them to our clients during a claim. Whether a theft, or an accident where their vehicle is off the road due to repairs or write off, we wanted to offer a solution.
We quickly realised how vital the van and water fed pole system is to window cleaners, as their business is on wheels. Therefore, having the correct cover for the van and water fed pole system became our mission, making sure we can keep them on the road following a claim.
Naturally, we have seen growth as clients have snapped up our fantastic offering, and in turn, our fleet of Reach and Wash Vehicles has increased, to ensure we can sustain our excellent and flawless reputation of keeping your business flowing.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance (modified vehicles)
When the truck mounted water fed pole systems were new to the market, insurers were not aware of them. Insurance risk is calculated from statistics, and with no statistics, it was initially very difficult to convince an insurer to accept the modification of a permanently fitted water tank.
As time has gone by, more and more insurers accept the modification of truck mounted water fed pole systems. However, our panel of insurers all have slightly different acceptance criteria. We carefully select the best and most competitive insurer for you.
There is a difference with a van insurer accepting the modification and insuring the system and poles themselves.
We do not cover the water fed pole system as part of the van policy for the following reasons:
- Vehicles depreciate at a much faster rate than plant (essentially, a water fed pole system is plant). If you insure your water fed pole system as part of your van, you will not receive an adequate claim payment which means you won’t be able to buy a new one without putting a lot of your own money towards it.
- Whilst the van policy may extend to cover the water fed pole system (bolted inside the van), they will not cover portable items so your poles and other associated tools of the trade would be excluded.
Instead, we recommend insuring your Water Fed Pole System and Poles under a separate Plant and Tools policy.
Fleet of Vehicles
If you have a fleet of four or more vehicles, it is recommended that you cover your vehicles under a fleet policy. There is a misconception regarding this being a “cheaper” option, certainly in the first year or two.
When you are new to fleet, some insurers allow discount per individual vehicle no claim bonus. However, fleet no claims discount is calculated on the performance of all vehicles and confirmed in a document called “Claims Experience”.
If your “Claims Experience” is good (low claims frequency and costs), you will benefit from additional discounts as time goes by. It is certainly easier from an administration perspective as these policies are more flexible when it comes to changing vehicles and often include open driving.
To discuss our fleet products in more detail, contact; Sarah Richards.
Water Fed Pole System and Poles
Our bespoke plant and tools policy covers your fixed water fed pole system and your poles (portable). The premium is rated on the total sum insured and the cover extends to include:
- Fire, Theft* (including overnight), Accidental, and Malicious Damage
*Theft cover is restricted to forced and violent entry.
This policy is only available to Alexander Swan clients also insuring their vehicle with us.
Replacement Reach and Wash Vehicle during a claim
If your vehicle is stolen or written off, or it requires a repair due to an accident, will you be able to continue to trade?
The chances are you will lose customers and revenue if you are without your fully kitted out van.
Alexander Swan own their own fleet of vehicles fitted with water fed pole systems for you to use in the event of a valid insurance claim. This is not an insurance policy, and only available to Alexander Swan customers that opt into this fantastic facility.
We pioneered this service in 2008 and have been successfully keeping your businesses flowing ever since!
We offer Motor Legal Expenses and Vehicle Breakdown as “optional” additional products to your motor policy:
Motor Legal Expenses
Legal Expenses is useful for defending you in the event of a dispute in liability as to who was “at fault”, and to claim any uninsured losses such as loss of earnings and personal injury. We highly recommend this low cost product.
Your vehicle is clearly your most valuable business asset, as it holds the equipment you need to work and gets you there! Breakdown cover is another low cost product we strongly advise you include as part of your package (if you don’t already have cover in place of course).
This policy provides indemnity for legal liability for:
- Accidental death and/or bodily injury to third parties; and/or
- Accidental loss or damage to third party property arising out of the company’s business
The limit of indemnity chosen applies to each and every occurrence, unlimited in the period in respect of public liability, but applying in the aggregate in respect of products or pollution.
Our cleaning specific liability products extend to include “damage to property being worked upon”. This extension (which is a standard exclusion on most public liability policies) gives you added peace of mind in case you scratch the glass you are cleaning.
This is a basic requirement of law and provides an indemnity limit of £10m against legal liability to pay compensation for bodily injury, death, disease or nervous shock sustained by employees of the company arising in the course of employment.
- Costs and expenses in defending an action against you payable as part of your limit for this Section
- Compensation for court attendance £250 per person per day/£500 for directors/partners
- Injuries to working partners or proprietors
- Contractual liability
- Indemnity to principal
- Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 defence costs
- Data Protection Act 1998 compensation for distress to employees
- Unsatisfied court judgements
- Corporate Manslaughter defence costs £1m
- Injuries arising from war or terrorism but limited to £5m and further sub-limited to £1m in hostile territories being a territory designated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as one:
a) to which personnel are ‘advised against all travel to’;
b) that personnel should leave having designated the territory ‘advised against all travel to’
If you are a self-employed window cleaner, have you considered what would happen if you had an accident resulting in a serious injury, such as a broken leg?
You will be pleased to know, we have negotiated an exceptional scheme exclusively for our window cleaner clients. The rates have been slashed to recognise the reduction in risk due to the high percentage of ground level window cleaning you do. The even better news is, with our unique scheme, you are still covered if you fall off a ladder or injure yourself out of work.
For £500.00 per week cover, the premium is as little as £159.00 for the year! Give us a call for a quotation and more details on this amazing offer.