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Should something we don't own be on the fixed asset register?

0 votes
There are two statues on our fixed asset register, which I have now found out do not belong to us, but to two community groups. I queried this with the Clerk who said it's because we insure them under 'third part insurance'.

 So really I have two questions. Should they be on the fixed asset register if we don't own them? Is it ok for us to insure them?

Any information gratefulyl received
asked by (930 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
If a claim arose, an insurance adjuster / assessor would likely need to check title deed - ownership
If you don’t own it, you can’t generally claim for it.
What is the insurance for?
Is it for public liability if it fell over and injured / damaged some one/thing?

Is it insurance for accidental or malicious damage?

You’d need to clarify what the insurance covers, what is the likelihood of that which is insured against actually happening and whether the insurance is even valid if it did happen
Sounds like one of those ‘we’ve always done it this way’ scenarios which people tend to get touchy about when actually questioned
There’s also the angle of whether proper management of public funds is being exercised if there is a financial liability for something that may be irrelevant - although I’d doubt there would be much +/- difference in the policy cost either way  different if there was a claim though, that would trigger different algorithms which would affect premium renewals
Generally speaking - if you don’t own it why insure it?
answered by (4.9k points)
0 votes
Letsbehonest has summarised the insurance position, but no, they shouldn't be on the asset register. The council's asset register, as the name implies, is a register of the council's assets. If the council resolves to insure other items not belonging to the council and can persuade the insurance company to provide cover, the council can have a separate schedule of assets for insurance purposes.
answered by (32.8k points)
Thank you everyone for the replies.  I had already put a review of the fixed asset register on our full council agenda. Your replies gave me the confidence to say if we don't own it it should not be on our register. Pleased to say that the other councillors agreed and the statues are being removed and another item is being investigated.

I think our 'register' has been inherited from quite some time ago and it has not been looked at since! I will now look into the insurance angle. As Letsbehonest said I think this is very much a 'we've always done this' scenario but without the current council fully understanding what it is doing.
0 votes
The asset register for the council is normally sent to the insurer for putting together the quotes. If the statues are in a public place they need to be insured. on the other side of the coin the same  item should not be insured by both parties so maybe confirm that the community group is not insuring the statues aswell.
answered by (4.7k points)
Looks like you’ve got that the wrong way round.
If you don’t own it, you don’t insure it and you don’t have it on an asset register.
It’s for the entity that DOES own it to I register and insure it.
If the public place doesn't belong to the council (eg public highway or charity land), the council shouldn't be involved.

If the council is providing insurance cover, it should first obtain written confirmation from the insurer that cover applies to these assets even though they are owned by an unrelated third party, then seek clarification from the insurer regarding their expectation of condition surveys etc. In the absence of a legal agreement between the two parties defining ownership and liability, the council would be deemed to have accepted ownership of the statues and could be lining itself up for hefty bills in the future.
Interesting - I’m not sure insuring something you don’t own naturally equates to a transfer of ownership / liability.
The world just doesn’t work like that. If it did, I could insure my neighbours car / house / wife and reasonably expect to lay claim to them...

Just doesn’t work like that.
I’d take the point that ‘involvement’, especially over a prolonged period might muddy the waters if it subsequently came to liability by degrees, but ownership is ownership - not with standing adverse possession but that is not necessarily achieved through insurance - take the neighbours car as an example.
Insuring it doesn't define ownership, but including it on the council's list of assets does. What is the asset register, if not a list of items owned by the council?
Neither insuring it, nor including it on an asset list actually defines ownership. Both are equally irrelevant.
OWNERSHIP, title to property. The right by which a thing belongs to some one in particular, to the exclusion of all other persons.

You can put your name on it, you can insure it, you can add it to an asset list - none of that changes the title and right of actual ownership.
If the PC doesn’t own ‘it’, they shouldn’t be insuring it, they shouldn’t include it on an asset register and they shouldn’t assume or accept any liability for it. Unless any such liability has been agreed and assumed after agreement with the owner.
Let’s not over complicate things.
If you don’t own it, you shouldn’t ‘list’ it on an asset register, you shouldn’t insure it and you shouldn’t accept any liability for it.
We'd better have a word with the OED. Assets: An item of property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts, commitments, or legacies.
Yeah, but, yeah, but, yeah, but.....

It’s only an asset (and liability) to the entity that owns it!

If you don’t own it, it ain’t your asset. If it’s in a public place (a statue in this example) anyone can look at it, maybe even touch it....  Anyone could add it to a list of assets if they saw fit - but it STILL wouldn’t make it theirs in title or asset or liability.
So the council's asset register isn't a register of the council's assets, it's just a list of things in a public place that anyone can look at or touch. Now you're starting to make sense!
You might need to re-read the original post Dave. It states that the council DOES NOT OWN THE STATUES.
If they don’t own them they cannot be an asset (or a liability.)

They can be on the asset register. They ‘can’ because they ARE.
THe fact that they are however implies no ownership, it simply highlights what is (probably) an INCORRECT entry on the asset register.
Assuming they also have a monetary value, the fact that they ARE on the asset register is potentially a misrepresentation of council fixed assets.
We seem to be making a simple situation way more difficult than it needs to be.
If you OWN it - put it on the asset register.
If you don’t - don’t.
0 votes
Would be interesting to hear back where this one goes...
answered by (4.9k points)

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