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Burning insurance issues for 2015

By Jonathan Coatman
Claims Controller

As we usher in the New Year, our blog takes a forward-look at the insurance issues that should be on your agenda in 2015...

The emerging risks

Digital and cyber
Cyber risk remains a critical issue as businesses contend with the burgeoning threat of cyber crime and the raft of EU regulations coming to the fore. Insurers will increasingly demand that businesses provide evidence of adequate cyber risk controls, which demonstrate that they are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves from attack.

EU Commission estimates the nanotechnology industry will be worth €2 trillion this year. The potential impact on employees involved in manufacture, consumers and the general environment remains uncertain. Potential exposures include employers’ liability, public liability, products, environmental impact, property and health covers.

The potential for a worldwide disease pandemic remains a concern, but it is difficult to predict. In the event of a pandemic, travel insurance, business interruption insurance, PA health and life covers should respond.

Shift work linked to occupational ill health
The Trade Union Congress asserts that “shift work is now the second biggest cause of work-related cancer deaths after asbestos” and the HSE has commissioned Oxford University to undertake a study on the relationship between shift work and chronic conditions, the output of which is expected in December 2015.

For further information /guidance, please refer to HSE publication HSG256 “Managing shift work: Health and safety guidance”.

Legal climate

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill
The Bill, expected to pass into law next year, is intended to reduce the barriers faced by small businesses that hamper their ability to innovate, grow, and compete. It also includes provisions regarding increased transparency of company ownership.

Data Protection Regulation
The new European Data Protection Regulation is likely to be adopted in May 2015. The new regime will be more onerous, with stricter sanctions (including higher fines) in the event of a breach. It will come into effect in 2017, following a two-year transitional period.

“Fundamental dishonesty” Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
Clause 49 will introduce a range of provisions when a personal injury claim is found to be fundamentally dishonest, including mandatory dismissal of the whole claim. It is unlikely that the reform will see a reduction in claims, but it may deter claimants from exaggerating the extent of their personal injury claim.

Insurance contract law reform
The Insurance Bill is expected to be passed by April 2015.The main areas of reform include the law affecting the insured’s duty of disclosure in business insurance, warranties in insurance contracts and insurers' remedies for fraudulent claims. This Bill aims to increase the certainty in the formation and interpretation of insurance contracts.

The Consumer Rights Bill
The Bill, expected to come into force in October 2015, consolidates and reforms areas of consumer law including consumer rights remedies in respect of goods, services, and digital content, unfair terms in consumer contracts, consumer notices, and consumer redress for anti-competitive behaviour. Businesses should review their marketing claims, contracts, terms and conditions and refund policies for compliance with the new rules.

Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM)
Changes to the CDM are expected to come into force in April 2015. For any project involving more than one trade contractor, a principal designer and a principal contractor must be appointed. Companies and individuals involved in the design stages will need to ensure their PI insurance policy remains in step with the legislation.


Insurance Fraud Bureau Five-Year Strategy
The IFB will now look at areas outside of motor fraud to encapsulate the ever-changing nature of the insurance fraudster, including liability, property, travel, health and pet. 

Increase in occupational hearing loss claims
Deafness claims attract non-fixed costs and are around four times more profitable for claimant lawyers than other areas of personal injury. Consequently, there is heavy advertising for this class of claimant, the numbers of claims received has soared in the last 12 months, and we expect this trajectory to continue.

Spotlight on occupational cancer
The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) recently launched “No time to lose” campaign aims to tackle the causes of occupational cancer. Greater awareness of the causes of cancer could lead to an increase in occupational cancer claims, particularly as solicitors are actively targeting occupational disease claims, which typically fall out of the portal process.

Jonathan Coatman, Claims Controller