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Product liability insurance for USA - advice needed!

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  • Product liability insurance for USA - advice needed!

    Hi,

    Recently, my sales to the USA/Canada, via my website, have increased to about 15% of my total turnover. My current product liability insurance, which is quite affordable at £71/year, will not cover me for those markets any more.

    Quotes that I have received from brokers that will cover this range from £1000-3000. That's quite a jump from £71, and to be honest, I can not really afford that.

    Is anyone familiar with any affordable insurer that could perhaps cover this? Or can I get insurance from an American company that will cover the North American market?

    Any advice would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks

  • #2
    Good to see you here. As I don't sell I am not familiar with costings for insurance but someone will be along soon who can help you.
    Carol
    God helps them that help themselves.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ian Wallace will cover you for export to US, Canada and Oz as long as you put in your T&C that all transactions are subject to UK law. http://www.craftinsurance.co.uk/

      Also these people http://www.a-n.co.uk/air/article/460147/437352 if you fit the artist criteria.

      Both are reasonable cost wise a-n being the least expensive. You will need at least £5 million cover for the US but most craft fair organisers and markets require that sum these days.

      Mo.XX
      Last edited by MornieG Jewellery; 24-03-2013, 01:03 AM. Reason: spelling what else !!
      Mo. Bodrighy Wood.
      Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage..Lao Tzu.
      www.bodrighy.co.uk
      https://twitter.com/#!/AuntieMornie

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      • #4
        I am with A-N and yes as Mo states you can export to the US but have to sell under English Law. A-n are a bit different from normal insurance companies as you do have to meet a strict criteria as set up with membership for artists etc.

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        • #5
          An American friend just told me that product liability bought in America comes in at about $6-700 for $1m cover
          Will never whinge about UK rates again

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          • #6
            Hi there,

            Thank you all for your kind responses and advice!

            I already have insurance from Ian W Wallace, which is very affordable. They have told me that as my sales to the USA & Canada have increased to about 15% of my turnover, they will NOT cover those countries any more. It does not matter that I have stated in my Ts&Cs that all sales are subject to UK law, as you can still be sued in the US. They will only cover USA & Canada for up to about 5% of the turnover.

            I have looked at A-N and they have told me the same, no USA & Canada, and the cover would not be suitable.

            So I am a bit stuck here. £1100 is the cheapest I have been quoted so far. Stop selling to USA & Canada or get the expensive insurance?

            What I do not understand is this: How can someone from the USA sue me in an American court, if I run my business in the UK and have no assets anywhere else? Would they not have to bring legal action in the UK?

            Of course, these issues are unlikely to happen, but better safe than sorry, right?

            Thanks!

            Comment


            • #7
              That is a question of jurisdiction (which court should hear the case) I would think you could made it a condition of any sale to a buyer in America etc that any action be brought in an English court and subject to English law and there's probably a treaty on it, but it's about 15 years since I had to look at jurisdiction so I may be wrong or out of date on the law.
              It may simply be that the insurance companies are pricing up or refusing cover because they don't know and can't be bothered to find out.
              If an American customer brought a case in America, if your terms say all contracts subject to English law then they should yield jurisdiction and the claimant would have to put in an action in a court in England and Wales - but you would have to tell the USA court that of course...etc etc.
              Last edited by Incognito 2; 24-03-2013, 02:56 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pearlescence View Post
                That is a question of jurisdiction (which court should hear the case) I would think you could made it a condition of any sale to a buyer in America etc that any action be brought in an English court and subject to English law and there's probably a treaty on it, but it's about 15 years since I had to look at jurisdiction so I may be wrong or out of date on the law.
                It may simply be that the insurance companies are pricing up or refusing cover because they don't know and can't be bothered to find out.
                If an American customer brought a case in America, if your terms say all contracts subject to English law then they should yield jurisdiction and the claimant would have to put in an action in a court in England and Wales - but you would have to tell the USA court that of course...etc etc.
                Thanks so much for your response. I have been thinking about that, and that may well be the case. I guess it's not in their interest to find out and sell me cheaper insurance. I should perhaps get some legal advice on jurisdiction, an see if the insurance company will accept that. To be continued

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                • #9
                  You mention that A-N say no to the USA etc but I have a letter from the actual insurers who confirm that I can sell to the US etc providing my T & C's state under English law.

                  I also know from a commercial lawyer that they would have to bring any case through the English courts as they bought under those terms, normally what would happen is they would go to a US lawyer who would have links within the UK to bring a case.

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                  • #10
                    Jurisdiction is a tricky subject, and not one which many lawyers even have a handle on because it simply doesn't arise much - all EU stuff is covered under the Treaties.

                    It mostly comes up these days when people marry abroad (think about the questions over Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger when they wanted to get divorced and their actual marriage was queried) or when people die away from their own country, when they have been living abroad for some time, but have no will (which intestacy laws apply, for eg)
                    As we travel more such questions become more common but treaties and precedence makes the solutions clearer as well. Some of the old cases are just w e i r d!
                    My terms state 'In case of dispute English Law applies to all contracts' by the way. It doesn't need to be fancy. Just clear
                    insurers aren't interested in anything outside their little boxes. I have a devil of a job over home property insurance as customers come here and buy. Just carrying on a business is enough to scare off many of the cheap insurers (craftspeople working from home need to beware) I think it is only a matter of time until one of them disallows a claim from a regular seller on eBay because he is carrying on a business undeclared

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This could potentially involve contract law as well as liability - it's all very well including something about selling under English law in your T&Cs, but it will need more than just that if contract law might be invoked. I imagine the insurers consider that the more you sell to the US, the more likely a dispute about contract law might arise ... some degree of risk they will cover, some they won't ...


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                      • #12
                        I don't understand your point Eena..if there is a term in the contract which is made between the seller and the buyer that the contract is formed under english law then how will it need more than..what? That is a term of the contract. And in any case US contract law is pretty much the same as contract law here. Worldwide in fact.
                        Tort - the other arm of obligations - is a slightly different matter, of course and one where the US can be more litigious, or at least their higher medical bills attract higher damages.

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                        • #13
                          I have been given to understand there is uncertainty about the validity of an implied contract which is not actively agreed to prior to proceeding with a purchase, and that to merely have a statement about English law applying to all sales, this statement being 'tucked away' in T&Cs, may well be considered inadequate.

                          Having a tick box where a buyer must actively tick to confirm something like 'I have read the terms and conditions and understand them' before being allowed to proceed to purchase might be considered more effective.

                          I was told this by a German contract lawyer whom I know socially, when I was having a whinge about copyright being claimed inappropriately on something which ​would have been eligible for design right instead - if it had been original (which it wasn't). The conversation then moved onto the purchase of items where the seller attempted to restrict the buyer's use of the item, and thus on to contracts and implied contracts ...


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                          • #14
                            You can't have an implied contract. You can have an implied term in a contract.
                            Do you negotiate a written contract every time you purchase a newspaper in the morning..no..but it is every bit as much a contract as a multi million £ one on 500 close typed pages. With certain clear exception (land sales for eg) any contract can be verbal.
                            If your terms are stated and available on a business website that would be enough in english law as it would be implied into the contract by a judge that the seller would not have entered into the contract but for doing it on his own terms. This applies especially when you have a business to consumer contract , as against a business to business one where you can end up with a battle of the forms as it is called.
                            But unless your customer opts out of your terms then the contract is formed on those terms and, provided they are clear enough and accessible to the customer, that would be enough. It is, to some extent up to the customer to find out what sort of deal he is getting himself into.
                            Consumer law allows a consumer to be monumentally stupid, contract law doesn't.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Caroleecrafts View Post
                              You mention that A-N say no to the USA etc but I have a letter from the actual insurers who confirm that I can sell to the US etc providing my T & C's state under English law.

                              I also know from a commercial lawyer that they would have to bring any case through the English courts as they bought under those terms, normally what would happen is they would go to a US lawyer who would have links within the UK to bring a case.
                              I spoke to A-N's underwriter, Hencilla Canworth, who said this would not be suitable for me.

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