Virtual Assistants are becoming more and more popular with the current economic climate. The role of a VA not only fits in with the much admired perfect work/life balance but it also allows people to utilise their skillset and earn an income on their own terms.
But what about the risks associated?
Working for your client you have a lot of sensitive information at your finger tips. Personal data, contact details, intellectual property, cloud storage, bank accounts, social media accounts and even homes
A few things to consider;
What happens if you accidentally delete a client’s entire mailing list or CRM?
What if you go to a client’s home or office and spill coffee on their laptop or break a piece of original artwork?
What happens if you post something for your client on social media and it blows up and damages their reputation or results in them being sued by another company? What if the client blames you?
Many companies won’t use contractors who don’t have insurance.
Most Associates won’t outsource work to a VA who doesn’t have insurance.
These risks cannot always be removed completely but we can reduce the reduce the risks put systems in place to rectify the situation should the worst happpen
This is likely to be the greatest risk for Virtual Assistants who provide professional services. The policy will cover legal costs to defend against allegations of a mistake in the advice provided and any resulting damages award or settlement amounts agreed to.
Example - A VA provides website management and social media updates on behalf of a business. A third party alleges the content of the post is misleading and deceptive and the third party sues the business. The business, in turn, joins the Virtual Assistant as a defendant to the action or the business may seek to redeem all associated costs and expenses from the Virtual Assistant after the claim is finalised.
Public liability insurance covers the VA if they cause bodily injury or property damage to a third party. However, most VA's wouldn’t usually be that hands-on nor have foot traffic. This presents a significantly lower exposure and would result in greatly reduced insurance costs. It’s important to remember that many domestic home insurance policies will specifically exclude any claims resulting from business-related services.
Example - A simple example of a claim could be a client tripping over your laptop cable used by you when you are visiting their premises or when they are visiting your premises and suffering injuries resulting in them not being able to work for an indefinite period. As this is not a Professional advice claim (such as that which may fall under a professional indemnity coverage) you would need a Public Liability Insurance policy which covers the cost of the claim after negligence has been established, or, if no negligence is involved, provide cover for the legal defence costs.
Cyber liability is the fastest growing insurance risk in Australia. The policy will cover claims where a loss of personal data results in a breach of privacy or a hacker attacks the Virtual Assistant system.
Example - You are completing bookwork for a client remotely. Your system is hacked by a cyber criminal of the business' clients are stolen. The hacker also inserts malware to encrypt the system and a virus, which is passed back to the business and infects their system also. A cyber policy will cover the cost of a ransom payment, the costs to restore and recollect any lost data, the costs to remove malware and fix your system and any business your system infected and the loss of income during the downtime, as a result of the hack.
Accepted Duties of a VA
Small Business / Sales Administration
Email inbox support and management
Business event coordination
Client communication & support
CRM updating and support
Cloud filing set up, coordination and maintenance
Social Media support
Invoicing & paying bills
Team & Subcontractor Coordination / Management
Customer relations / support
Database / CRM creation and management
Filing and records management
Policy and procedure creation / management
Project management support
Online Business Management
Business process review
Business process strategy development
CRM system set up and management
Developing and maintaining business processes / procedures
Team coordination & management
Book medical appointments
Coordinate household support
Book hair appointments
Coordinate private events and functions
Arrange vet appointments
Arrange pet accommodation