IR35 & the Insurance Challenges Freelancers Face

Donna Smith is the Schemes Director at Caunce O’Hara & Co Ltd. As a professional who’s worked within the firm’s Freelance Contractor team for 20 years, Donna speaks with Finance Monthly about the challenges that freelancers face when it comes to insurance.

Tell us more about the services that Caunce O’Hara offers? What are the most common issues that freelancers approach you with?

Caunce O’Hara offers insurance to freelance contractors including Professional Indemnity, Business Combined (including Liabilities) and Tax Enquiry & Legal Expenses. In addition to these policies, we offer many other types of insurance, all tailored specifically to the freelance sector.

The most common issues that we are approached with are clients being requested to hold insurance, at set levels of cover, for their contract.  A lot of freelancers are unaware of what these insurances are, and our award-winning team are on hand to help them. In reality, freelance contractors are busy individuals who don’t want to waste time completing reams of paperwork to get a quotation and they need their certificates immediately. With Caunce O’Hara, we have a very short online application form, which we can also do over the phone if preferred, and certificates are sent instantly by email. You can apply, purchase cover and access your certificates within five minutes.

What are the most common challenges that freelancers and contractors face when it comes to insurance?

Currently contractors are facing an uncertain period due to the changes in IR35 legislation, come April 2020, whereby they are required to prove that they fall outside of IR35 rather than inside.

A large number of freelancers are simply opting not to do anything at this stage and see if the onus is passed onto others, i.e. their agency, but we, at Caunce O’Hara, are being proactive and are offering a number of ways to assist freelancers in proving they fall outside of IR35.  For example, we have a Tax Enquiry & Legal Expenses Insurance, which covers the cost of defending an IR35 investigation. In addition, as an extension to this, we are offering a Contract Review service which will assist you by letting you know if your contract will pass or fail an IR35 investigation. If your contract fails, we will guide you towards the areas you need to get your client to amend to protect you.

Currently contractors are facing an uncertain period due to the changes in IR35 legislation, come April 2020, whereby they are required to prove that they fall outside of IR35 rather than inside.

What are the particular challenges that insurers in the UK have been facing over the past year in relation to changes in what customers expect in terms of products and services?

The main challenge we have seen is competition and customers expecting price reductions. The insurance sector is very competitive and we pride ourselves on not only our extremely competitive rates but also excellent policy wording. Our products are of the highest standard which is matched by the customer service we provide. We have a great number of clients return to us year on year because we are excellent on price and quality.

Looking forward, what’s on Caunce O’Hara’s agenda for 2020?

Growth!  Whilst it is naturally what all businesses wish for we have a huge appetite for growth and are excited to be going into 2020. With the challenges of IR35, we realise the difficulty facing freelancers over the coming months and our aim is to be there and support our clients. The next few months will be challenging but we are ready to meet them head-on!

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