About > ABA Rules & Guidelines > Advice to Members > Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

Following an enquiry from a member, we have consulted Richard Thompson Insurance Brokers who write:

“I think that this scenario was highlighted by someone who supplied or lent a book to a County Council for display and was asked to arrange public liability for £5 or £10 million.  The Council subsequently agreed a lower indemnity level of £2 million.

We as brokers would have taken a view that any commercial operation whether a sole trader/proprietor or limited company would need public or products liability cover if you are supplying goods, and especially if you are delivering or collecting, and doubly so if you are installing.  The issue these days seems to be that the councils are asking for higher levels of indemnity, which can be difficult for the smaller operators to achieve or want to achieve because of cost factors.

If you are acting as a private individual then your home insurance contracts should provide you with a personal liability cover.

Remember that it would be difficult to establish any public liability attaching to a member once the book has left your custody and control, as the responsibility will rest with the new owner or custodian once purchased or even on display, as it is difficult to see how any individual or company can exercise any control when on third party premises, unless specifically contracted to do so.

The most obvious example of liability in my view would be poor or inadequate packaging which could lead to dropped books on feet, or damaged hands/feet, and/or property if say there was crating involved.  That could of course involve further parties if this work is carried out by third party carriers or contractors.  Not something that you would imagine would lead to multi million pound claims.

The advice is to discover the insurance requirements first, especially when dealing with Local Authorities or Government Departments, to establish levels of indemnity required and to build in the additional costs of cover in any commercial transactions”.

Please consult your insurance broker if you are in any doubt.