Unforeseen legal matters can be an extremely expensive exercise and businesses need to protect themselves for when the unexpected may occur.
Legal Expenses Insurance
A legal expenses policy protects your business when defending or pursuing a legal matter.
You may be wondering, “Isn’t that what I have liability insurance for?”. The answer, is that your liability insurance policy is there to protect you from costs/damages that you may be asked to pay by customers, suppliers, employees or the general public. The legal costs covered under your liability insurances are limited to defending the liability claim against you.
A legal expenses policy covers legal expenses not covered under your liability insurance and from events which differ from your business being held liable. A stark difference between a liability and legal expenses policy is that a legal expenses policy will respond when you are actively pursing a legal matter. You’ll see below that there are many instances where a legal expenses policy would respond and protect your business for excessive legal costs.
WHAT DOES LEGAL EXPENSES COVER?
- Contractual disputes – covers alleged breach of contract for supply of goods/services.
- Tax audit – covers costs in responding to an audit or review by the ATO.
- Statutory licence protection – covers costs incurred seeking to protect a statutory license from being revoked/suspended.
- Third party damage to goods or premises – covers costs incurred for pursuing a third party for damage to your premises or goods/machinery.
- Landlord disputes – covers costs incurred during commercial lease disputes.
- Restrictive covenants – covers costs incurred during dispute with a former employee for breach of a written employment contract.
From contractual disputes to expenses incurred during an ATO tax audit, a legal expenses policy can protect your business from incurring crippling legal costs.
Trident have access to a legal expenses product which includes access to free general legal advice for any questions or concerns that may arise for your business, regardless of whether it is a covered incident or not. We believe that this is an invaluable benefit for your business, as you’ll have direct access to legal advice at anytime, without the usual exorbitant legal fees.
– Debt Recovery and Conractual Disputes:
XYZ Cleaning Company (the policyholder) supplied their customer with cleaning services in their commercial office space as agreed in a written service agreement and invoiced them appropriately for the agreed fees of $60,000 for the quarter.
The client failed to pay within the terms of the invoice. The policyholder contacted the client to
see what the hold-up was, but after 2 weeks of no response started the Debt Recovery Service
process by issuing the template letter.
This was met with silence, so a Debt Recovery claim was made and the debt recovery
professional took up the matter finally triggering a response from the client who claimed the cleaning services provided by the policyholder were of a poor standard and did not meet the client’s stated needs as outlined in the contract.
This triggered a Contractual Disputes claim and a lawyer was appointed seeking recovery of the
amount owed. The lawyer engaged with the client and tried to seek a negotiated settlement, but when this failed court proceedings were issued and the policyholder was successful in the case, recovering the full $60,000 owed. The insured’s total legal costs of $35,000 were all covered under the policy.
– TAX AUDIT:
XYZ Retail Co (the policyholder) received a notification from the ATO that there was to be an
audit of their tax return due to a suspicion of an underpayment of GST.
The policy responded to pay for the policyholder’s accountant to gather all necessary evidence and
file a formal response to the audit, fully explaining the apparent discrepancy. No further tax or penalty was ultimately payable.
– LANDLORD DISPUTES:
XYZ Roofing Co (the policyholder) leased a storage and workshop unit from their commercial landlord. The building developed a major structural fault which meant part of it was off-limits and unusable, which had a significant impact on the policyholder’s ability to meet orders for its clients.
The policyholder was adamant that this was the landlord’s responsibility under the terms of the
lease but the landlord refused to make the necessary repairs, claiming it was down to the
A claim was made under the Landlord Disputes section of the policy and a lawyer was appointed to
act on behalf of the policyholder. Through strong negotiation with the landlord’s lawyers, the repair work started within a week.
All of the policyholder’s legal costs were covered by the policy.