Do you own land with no buildings?
If a plot of land is owned via a trust or offshore company structure it is possible that a person may enter it and become injured. As the owner you have a duty of care to maintain the land in a safe environment and the law will hold you responsible for any injuries sustained.
This insurance cover is called property owners liability and is often provided free of charge within a buildings policy. However, if there are no buildings to insure (perhaps the plot has been purchased for future development or a field adjacent to a house to stop other developers building on it, etc.) then you will need to purchase a stand-alone liability policy.
Unfortunately we find that many trustees overlook this point and therefore potentially leave themselves exposed to legal actions.
A common misconception is that if the injured person had entered the land without permission, or illegally, then the landowner cannot be held responsible for any negligence. Unfortunately a trespasser has the same right to compensation for injuries incurred through the lack of maintenance or care as anybody else.
Furthermore, in today’s litigious society with many legal advisors working on a “no win no fee” basis potential for pursuing financial recovery for injuries sustained is more widely available. This could mean you could be faced with a legal action regardless of any real fault, but simply because an alleged incident has been exaggerated and pursued in order to seek compensation.
A property owner’s liability insurance policy will provide cover for legal costs in defending any such cases and, if successful, any amount of damages that are awarded. In the absence of such important insurance cover, trustees could be faced with a large legal bill and many (unbillable) hours of your own time in attending to the matter. One hour of legal advice can easily exceed the annual cost of a liability policy for a small piece of land.
Vantage Insurance Brokers Limited
We are a specialist insurance broker to offshore service providers and have a great deal of experience in providing advice and insurance solutions for trust company clients. Please do not hesitate to make contact if you have any property insurance enquiries. Click here to view contact details of our insurance broking team.