5 costly risks freelancers face whilst working from home

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Professional Liability Insurance Expert Liam Greene at Markel Direct explains the top five costly risks of working from home as a freelancer

With government support programs coming to an end this month, freelancing seems like an attractive option for those who may have been laid off recently, or simply those looking for a career change and not enjoying a regular 9-5 -Have a job. The benefits of being a freelancer can be hugely beneficial – more flexibility, the autonomy to “be your own boss” and the freedom to only work on the projects you want. However, starting your own business during COVID-19 puts an increased risk for freelancers who work from home. Therefore, it is important for both seasoned freelancers and those examining their self-employment opportunities to understand the key considerations that can help avoid costly customer claims.

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In the current climate, there is increased pressure on all workers to be extremely responsive. It’s easy to slip in such a climate.

If you email the wrong person a confidential file or make a typo in the work you send to a client, those mistakes could lead to a dispute with your client or even a professional liability claim against you – specifically, when the mistake costs them money.

It’s useful to list every action in the course of your work, however minor, to make sure you check all the boxes before anything is sent to the client.

Keep data safe

Freelancers who work closely with customer data may be at higher risk while WFH, especially those who have confidentiality agreements. The use of personal email addresses or devices can present high-risk scenarios in which private data could be stolen.

For example, an e-mail inbox containing confidential files can be compromised or a security gap in exploited devices can be closed. Either of these can lead to a data breach.

To avoid these errors, it is important that you back up files with password encryption, store them according to your customer’s needs, and keep the operating systems up to date.

Contractual issues

Contracts between freelancers and clients are broken, causing projects to be delayed and results to change – but client expectations remain high.

If a customer is dissatisfied with the work it can lead to disputes or negligence. While these may not be successful, freelancers may incur costs to defend the claim (which professional indemnity insurance can cover against).

Online Safety

Phishing emails have become more sophisticated and unscrupulous groups are using the pandemic to target freelancers.

Freelancers responsible for handling client funds should take extra care not to fall victim to fraudulent emails. Simple steps like contacting a supplier to review unexpected invoices can help.

Similarly, platforms on which freelancers issue invoices can be targeted, and hackers can modify the banking information stored on the account and issue invoices to your customers.

If you make sure your account security is turned on e.g. B. the two-factor authentication, this offers an additional protective measure. If your account is compromised, a second authorization method prevents cyber criminals from gaining access.

Break off the cover

It may be tempting to save money by canceling coverage, but if freelancers don’t maintain their professional indemnity insurance, they won’t be covered for previous work. Because policies must be in place at both the time the work is done and the time it is claimed, it is important that the policy not be canceled to ensure that you are covered for previous work.

If you’re having trouble paying premiums, speak to your insurer – they likely have options to help you at this point.

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April 16, 2021