The Department of Trade & Pensions have launched a consultation with regard to setting up an Employers Liability Tracing Office to manage a database of insurance policies.
At the moment if a company ceases to trade and we cannot identify the companies’ insurance history we have to apply to the Association of British Insurers to check their own sources for any information. Anyone who specialises in disease litigation will confirm that such requests for information are hit and miss to say the least. In many instances we are forced to make multiple request and on each occasion can receive different information.
Membership of the ABI is voluntary and the insurance industry run and coordinates it themselves. Since 1972 it has been compulsory by law for employers to have insurance in place to protect their employees in the event of injury. Unfortunately, there is no need for the companies or insurers to record these details on a central database. This can make tracing companies difficult.
The DWP has set out plans for a fund of last report, similar to the MIB used for road traffic accidents where the party at fault has no insurance. This fund will assist injured people where insurers cannot be traced. This would be funded by the insurance industry however as with MIB cases the Claimant is likely to receive less compensation than if an insurer can be traced.
At the moment if an insurer cannot be found and the company no longer exists, injured workers cannot recover compensation. This is clearly a step in the right direction.