Little can be done to combat rising liability insurance

Government
investigations into sharply rising employers’ liability insurance costs have
recognised the problem, but found that little can be done to combat the
increases.

The
findings come following a review by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWF)
and a fact-finding investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

They
found the sharp rises in employers’ liability premiums are in part due to
increasing compensation claims for workplace injuries and also due to the
rising cost of claims for long-term illnesses, such as asbestosis and
industrial deafness.

Brendan
Barber TUC General Secretary said: "Employer liability insurance needs to
reward safe working practices and protect the rights of victims.

“That
means lower premiums for good employers but, in turn, employers must meet the
full cost of health and safety failures”.

But
John Emmins, national chairman of Federation of Small Businesses said: “The
reports refuse to accept that the market has failed.

“There
are small firms out there required by law to have employers liability
insurance, but unable to find an insurer prepared to offer the cover. Others
just about managed to weather last year’s increases, but will find another
round too much."

How
the Cost is Rising:

Increase in premiums, %
2002    2003/4 (expectation)

Employers
Liability                   50                    20-30
Public Liability                          30-40               15-20
Professional Indemnity              30-60               20

Source:
OFT

By Ben Willmott

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