In this article we focus on public liability insurance and the claims that arise as a result there of. First things first what is public liability and what public insurance is. Public liability insurance is designed for professionals who interact with customers or members of the public? It protects against claims of personal injury or property damage that a third party suffers (or claims to have suffered) as a result of your business activities. Public liability may also arise as a result of government’s failure to fulfill its statutory obligations. Private Companies may also be liable for failure to adhere to specific legislations such as the Consumer protection Act. Since the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act (2011), consumers seeking compensation for damages caused by goods, are no longer required to prove that producer of the goods was negligent, only that the goods were purchased and that harm resulted from using them.



Types of public liability

According to “claimhelp.co.za” the below may be seen as types of public liability:

  • General and tenant insurance covers cases in which damage to a member of the public occurs to a member of the public e.g. If an air conditioner mounted outside of the building falls and crashes onto a car, or if the tenant or member of a gym, slips on the way to the pool.
  • Employer’s liability discharges the responsibility of the employer from the injury or damage done to an employee or their assets as a result of negligence on the part of the business. e.g. If a pipe bursts in the office and spills dirty water all over the desks of your employees, liability insurance will cover the employer for injuries suffered and damages to the employees’ phones, clothes, computers etc.
  • Product liability protects businesses from damages caused by goods to customers, and also from products arriving in a damaged state, and wrong delivery.
  • Contractor’s liability provides protection against damages and injuries to third parties resulting from construction and maintenance work.
  • Professional indemnity protects professionals from loss/injury/damage to third parties due to erroneous advice or treatment, this would typically be in relation to lawyers etc

Types of claims

  • Small and frequent claims that usually involve smaller compensatory amounts.
    These are often due to simple negligence on behalf of the accused
    g. unkempt walkways, potholes, objects falling off of construction sites.
  • Large but rare claims involving exceptional sums and severe injuries. Generally occur due to failure on the part of the business to protect the person from injury.



Who needs Public Liability Insurance?

According to Galileo Risk Insurance, almost all businesses should have some form of Public Liability Insurance. Any business can potentially damage people or property. All businesses are bound by a duty of care for their clients, suppliers, distributors, neighbors & the environment. In today’s litigious society, companies are being held more & more responsible for injuries or damages they cause to their surroundings or to other people.

Public liability Insurance

The unfortunate thing is that no business is immune from accidents even with the best laid plans. Even if your company has not been negligent, the legal costs incurred in defending your company could cripple a business if not insured against. It needs no emphasis how important public liability insurance is to a business. The typical examples of claims are the following

  • Small frequent claims include client’s vehicles being damaged by unkempt parking areas, items falling off of buildings hitting nearby cars or other buildings, gates closing on third party vehicles, general lack of maintenance which causes damages to the surrounding areas & so forth.
  • The rarer but crippling claims occur when third party people are injured because a company failed to protect them. We have also had huge claims where entire hotels or townhouse complexes had to be evacuated & repaired because of accidents made by businesses, the claim was therefore not only for the repairs but also for providing accommodation of a similar nature to all the distressed occupants


  • There are certain professions that are obligated to take out public liability Insurance such as attorneys , if you find yourself having a claim against them speak to their fund first that may eliminate a lot of “cat and mouse “chase in the event that they do not want to compensate you for damages incurred whether general or special damages .
  • If you are a business owner public it may be a good idea to take our public liability insurance, the courts are inclined to favor the consumer or the claimant because they are afforded such great protection by the Consumer Protection Act . The perk is it does not cost a lot of money and because most insurance companies offer this kind of cover you can compare quotes.

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