Professionals who work from a virtual office, or from home, must tell their insurers how, where and when they use their electronic devices.
Many South Africans do not have fixed offices.
A 2016 study by Regus reported that more than 50% of South African workers are now out of the office for two and a half or more days a week. A third of respondents also reported that they work from different locations in the same city, while a quarter said they work from other cities, so they remain productive as they move from meeting to meeting, says Bradley du Chenne, chief executive of online comparison website Hippo.co.za.
“These statistics show people are on the move, now more than ever, and to do their work remotely, they have to take their technology with them wherever they go.”
Furthermore, as advancements in infrastructure and mobility surge ahead (5G networks in South Africa are reportedly only a few years away), telecommuting and working from home or shared workspaces is likely to become more prevalent.
“With so many people working outside the traditional office, it is vital mobile workers have the correct insurance in place.” Du Chenne says lists three types of insurance that could affect your claims: Household cover: This policy only covers damage or loss at your listed home address.
“If you travel away from home with these items, you will not be covered unless they are specified separately on your policy, usually under the portable possessions or all risks sections of your policy.
“If you run an office from your home, you need to disclose this to your insurer as you may require business insurance.”
Portable items: If you use laptops, cameras, smartphones, iPads, voice recorders and so on for business use – which means you derive an income from using these devices – you have to stipulate this to your insurer who will advise you on the best cover for your specific needs. A policy holder could either cover these devices as specified items on their household insurance policy, or may require business cover under “electronic equipment”.
Car insurance: Du Chenne says depending on how frequently one uses their car for business purposes, they may require business insurance. “In the world of insurance, there’s no such thing as too much information. Tell your insurer everything about how, where and when you use your technology, car and other equipment.”
People should update their insurers if they start using personal devices for professional purposes. “To protect yourself against a rejected claim, disclose everything to your insurance provider,” he says.