Employees injured at work are usually able to claim damages through their employer’s insurers. Employers Liability insurance is, in fact, a legal requirement of all employers.
Unfortunately, all too often employees find themselves in a position where their employer either has no insurance at all, or their insurers refuse to indemnify them for a number of reasons. Currently, the employee’s only redress is to pursue the company or it’s directors presonally, which is not always practical. Often the company may no longer exist. In that case, unless the employee has their own insurance policy containing a reverse indemnity clause, any judgement will usually remain unsatisfied.
In the case of a road traffic accident, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) is a government agency which compensates the victims of untraced or uninsured motorists.
The Personal Injury legal profession, led by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) are campaigning for a similar scheme for the victims of uninsured employers.
New Financial Services Authority (FSA) rules came into force last month requiring insurers to publish Employer’s Liability policy information, although this does not include details of any past policies. The insurance industry has also introduced the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) and from April 2012 insurers will be obliged to collect additional information on new and renewed policies.
However, APIL remind us that such steps alone will not assist many injured employees;
“We welcome the fact that the FSA has at least undertaken to look at the inclusion of historic policies in the rules which may well help injured people in the future. But this is not where the real problem lies, and the insurance industry knows it.
Many sick and dying workers who can’t trace their employer’s insurers from decades ago still won’t be able to claim the compensation they need. Some people are dying from asbestos-related diseases without receiving their compensation and this situation cannot go on.”
Last month marked the first anniversary of APIL’s campaign. They urge the government to take urgent action to introduce the fund and their campaign goes on.