Everybody needs insurance

Household worker insurance is available, in Queensland, through a government agency called WorkCover Queensland. It now costs $50 for two years. It is very easy to organise.

Household worker insurance covers you against injury claims from any private person you employ, for money or for LETS Units, to work at your private residence. That employee might claim you failed to provide a safe environment. The definition of employee certainly includes fellow LETS members.

Everyone who is likely to employ a private person should have this, not just LETS people.

Public Liability Insurance

BrisLETS, as an incorporated association, has not paid for PL from late 2001 because of the soaring cost. The purpose of PL insurance is to protect the incorporated organisations against members of the public (and members of BrisLETS) suing them as a group, and against negligence or carelessness (but not deception and fraud). But we can’t afford the premiums, even with the government scheme.

BrisLETS is incorporated mainly to protect individual committee members. The organisation can be sued, but not the individuals, unless they cheat and lie. Some of us are not so sure if it is safe to be on a committee anyway, not accepting this assurance as a valid indemnity.

In Queensland, if you don’t own property, you are not required to have PL insurance, whether you are incorporated or not. It is spelled out on the Department of Fair Trading website. Some other LETS systems invoke the “Yellow Pages” defence and argue that, like the Yellow Pages, a LETS system is nothing more than a list of contacts and so cannot be sued for anything. Other systems, including BrisLETS, concede that we are more like a club than a publisher of lists.

In the case where you host a BrisLETS market event at your home and members provide services to other members, they are not covered by your Household worker insurance policy. Accident Insurance has broader cover. Meetings at private homes are at your own risk. Events open to the public are better held at public venues.

Legal Liability Insurance

The above is not to be confused with Legal Liability insurance, which is usually part of a normal householders building and contents insurance policy. This provides cover against being sued for damages by guests or the person delivering your mail. Insurance companies sell you this cover along with fire and general insurance. Some home and contents insurance cover committee members of community social and sports groups because from certain actions arising out of their activity as committee members, presumably because they usually operate out of a home office.