Insurance Implications of Remote Work

If your work practices have changed, your insurance might also need to.

Working remotely and from home has become exponentially more commonplace in the past year or two. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed significantly to this (raise your hand if you worked at home during Alert Levels 3 and 4!), it is far from the only impetus driving a trend towards remote work. This trend started well before 2020.

Flexibility in work schedules and locations has benefits for both parties involved (employer and employee), and many companies are beginning to realise that. It widens the hiring pool so they can seek out top-quality people no matter where they are located, contributes to a positive workplace culture, and can also cut office-related costs. Even post-pandemic, many Kiwi employers are offering more flexibility and even fully remote work options.

So, it seems that remote working is here to stay. The benefits are many, but there are a few other implications of this that most people probably have not considered. One of these is insurance. Businesses and individuals may need to adjust their insurance coverage to address added or altered risks that come with a remote workforce.

If you are making the move to allow remote work in your business, here are a few things to think about.

Coverage for your equipment

Most business contents insurance policies will cover contents at a specific location noted on the policy, i.e your office or premises. When your employees are operating outside of that location and taking equipment such as computers, tablets, and phones with them, this can become an issue.

It’s not a big problem to solve. A broker specialising in business insurance will be able to help you ensure you have all of your company’s property covered in all locations, whether at your home or the homes of employees.

Personal house and contents insurance

On the flip side of the point above, many personal policies such as your own home and contents insurance won’t cover business equipment that’s being used or stored there. This means you can’t rely on your personal cover to pick up the slack, so it’s definitely something you should check with your insurance broker. They will be able to tell you exactly what is insured and where. Working from home with a laptop? That’s probably covered. Using specialist equipment? It may not be.

If you as a business owner or employee are conducting any kind of business activities in your home, this may affect your insurances intended for residential use. Again, check this out with your broker to ensure you aren’t voiding any of your policies. It may even affect your natural disaster coverage which can be residential-specific,

Cyber insurance

More people working from home on a variety of devices, which may be multi-use (personal and business), can open up a company to cyber attack. With specialist tools and good training on cyber safety for all employees, you can reduce this risk—but it will always exist.

To fill the gaps and avoid the potentially devastating consequences of a cyber attack, cyber insurance should be a priority for any business. It greatly reduces the risk that comes with online activity, and for companies with multiple remote workers this brings huge peace of mind. If you already have cyber insurance, take this as a sign to review your policies with your broker. The digital world moves fast, and you need to keep up to be covered.

Get expert advice

Every business is unique and will have individual needs, risks, and goals. Working from home can mean many different things to different people, too, and while the shift towards remote work is a fantastic development for many companies and people it does have insurance implications.

A business insurance broker can tell owners and managers all they need to know about remote work and how it might affect their individual practices. If you’re working from home as an employee, you may also like to review your personal policies to find out what will be covered at home—particularly if you are using expensive specialist equipment owned by your employer.

Insurance brokers have the experience and knowledge to let you know exactly what you are covered for and what you should be covered for to mitigate risk. They can then help you to find the best way to fill that gap! Runacres specialises in both business and personal insurance and risk management. Our fantastic team of expert brokers can help Kiwis and Kiwi businesses all over the country to protect themselves against financial losses and create a more secure future.