The Custodian Insurance Industry Blog

January 16, 2019

Legionnaires’ Disease – what is it, how does it occur and how can insurance help you?

“I’ve never even heard of legionaries’ disease, why does it have anything to do with me?”

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious disease caused by legionella bacteria. This is a form of walking pneumonia and is commonly found in the built-in water systems of hotels, hospitals, office buildings, flats and houses. It is often contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.  It can be deadly if it does occur.

While you may think this is not something within your control, as a property manager you have a legal duty to manage the presence of legionella in your managed properties in order to protect people from harm.

“If a tenant were to get legionaries’ disease what will this mean for my business and me?”

You have a legal duty to manage the presence of legionella in order to protect people from harm. If a tenant were to get legionaries’ disease they could potentially bring a claim against you for negligence.

But please don’t let this scare you. While this is a serious disease there are things you can do in order to protect yourself.

“So… tell me how I can protect myself!”

Well, the first thing to be done is understand the precautions you can take to reduce the risk of  legionella. As a property manager, there are six main risk-preventive measures you can adopt to control the risk of legionella bacteria. Some of these include testing water that is stored in tanks and removing redundant pipework’s. For further detail on this please see our article on Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease. We can provide this on request.  Click here if you would like a copy and drop us an email.

However, the main thing we want to highlight in this article are the benefits of insurance and how this will be the backbone to your protection.

“How do I know if my current insurance policy covers my responsibilities around Legionnaires’ disease? ”

Your currrent insurance arrangements won’t necessarily cover you for the disease. Many businesses do not have adequate insurance in place to protect them from a claim.  This means they are on their own to defend claims and fix the problem.  Which is not a good place to be.

If your policy seems ambiguous or doesn’t clearly state you are covered then feel free to contact us and we will have a look for you. If your insurance policy doesn’t cover Legionaries’ at all then it may be a good idea to get a new policy in place.

“My policy doesn’t cover Legionaries’ disease… what should I do now?”

Don’t panic! Custodian understands the importance of having protection for Legionaries’ which is why our policy for property agents and managers is clear, about the cover we are offering here There is no reading through lengthy policy wording trying to find out whether you are covered or not or worse being faced with a claim and being told you aren’t covered. We are clear at the outset.  Why risk ambiguity? Get in contact with us today to find out more we would be more than happy to help!

Just contact zahid@custodianinsurance.co.uk.

Legionnaires’ Disease – what is it, how does it occur and how can an insurance protect your client?

What is Legionaries’ disease and what is expected from a property client?

Often clients will be unaware of what is expected of them when it comes to Legionaries’ disease and exactly what it is.

Legionnaires’ disease is the most serious disease caused by legionella bacteria. This is a form of walking pneumonia and is commonly found in the built-in water systems of hotels, hospitals, office buildings, flats and houses. It is often contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water and can be deadly if it does occur.

As a business owner or manager your client has a legal duty to manage the presence of legionella in their properties in order to protect people from harm.

What is the impact of a tenant getting the disease?

As mentioned above your client has a legal duty to manage the presence of legionella in order to protect people from harm. If a tenant for example were to get legionaries’ disease they could bring a claim against them for personal injury. Depending on how serious their case is this can be detrimental to the clients business in regards to their reputation, finances and the time consuming nature of defending a claim.

While this is a serious disease there are things they can do in order to protect themselves.

How can property clients protect themselves?  

First things first they need to get to grips with precautions they can take to reduce the risk of exposure to legionella. There are six main risk-preventive measures landlords can adopt to control the risk of legionella bacteria. Some of these include testing water that is stored in tanks and removing redundant pipework’s. For further detail on this please see our article on Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease. (We could add the link to the other article in here as otherwise it might make this one quite lengthy mentioning all the ways of preventing the disease?)

However, the main thing clients need to be aware of are the benefits of insurance and how this can be the backbone to their protection.

Protection isn’t in every insurance policy

Even if they have an insurance policy in place this won’t necessarily cover them for the disease. Many businesses do not have adequate insurance in place to protect them from a claim meaning they are out on their own to defend claims and fix the problem. This can have a negative impact on their business. For example, if legionella was found on a clients premises they would have to remove it right away. With removal comes costs and closing their business resulting in lost revenue. They would also have the possibility of a claim for personal injury being brought against them that they would need to defend.

This is not a risk you want them to take so they need to make sure they check their current insurance policy right away to see if they are covered. If their policy seems ambiguous or doesn’t clearly state that they are covered then they need to get in contact with their insurer. If their insurance policy doesn’t cover Legionaries’ at all then it may be a good idea for them to get a new policy in place.

What if they don’t have an insurance policy in place that offers protection?  

Custodian understands the importance for clients to have protection for Legionaries’ in place which is why our policy for property agents is clear, understandable, and quite simply states they will be covered! There is no reading through lengthy policy wording trying to find out whether or not they are covered or worse being faced with a claim and being told they aren’t covered. So, why risk it? Get in contact with us today to find out more we would be more than happy to help!

Just contact zahid@custodianinsurance.co.uk.

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