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Business Insurance

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will publish the follow up report on Business Insurance. [130929]

In the Autumn.The First Stage Report on Employers' Liability insurance was published by the Department in June. Action in relation to Employers' Liability includes both immediate initiatives and longer-term policy choices. In the timing of our further report, we have to strike a balance between a desire to report immediate action quickly and allowing time to reflect longer-term developments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will work more closely with trade bodies representing the insurance and construction trades on issues relating to insurance. [130930]

As part of our work on Employers Liability insurance, Ministers and officials have met a range of insurance and construction industry interests. These have included: the Association of British Insurers, individual insurance companies, the British Insurance Brokers Association, the Federation of Master Builders, the Construction Confederation, the Federation of Small Builders, Scottish Building, and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors. Further meetings are planned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action his Department plans to take as a result of his assessment of the effect on small and medium-sized enterprises of large increases in insurance premiums. [130931]

The First Stage Report into Employers' Liability Insurance published by my Department in June identified a number of areas for further consideration and action. These included: renewals and risk-related premiums; long-tail occupational disease; the cost of resolving claims; rehabilitation; and enforcement. Both the Government and stakeholders have continued to work on these issues and the Government will report in the autumn on the progress that is being made and any further steps we intend to take. We continue to work closely with the Small Business Service and representatives of small and medium-sized businesses on these issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward the planned publication date of the Department's report on business insurance by the construction industry. [130932]

Davis Langdon Consultancy undertook a scoping study for the Construction Sector Unit of the Department for Trade and Industry looking at the difficulties construction contractors face in obtaining insurance. This report was published in January 2003.The aim of the study was to provide DTI with a clear understanding of the nature and extent of the difficulties facing contractors in obtaining and maintaining adequate insurance. The report aimed to provide perspective on construction specific aspects of the issue and to add value to the work of other studies in this area such as the DWP Employers' liability review.We are not currently undertaking any further construction specific reports. However, the Government will be reporting in the autumn on the progress that has been made more generally on Employers Liability insurance (in which there is a keen construction sector interest) and on the further steps it intends to take.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of long-tail insurance on the levels of employers' liability compulsory insurance. [130933]

The issue of 'long-tail' risks was considered as part of the First Stage Report into Employers' Liability insurance published by the Department in June. The report found that concerns about long-tail risks were clearly keenly felt by insurers and might have an impact on decisions about capital provision but it was not able to translate these concerns into quantifiable impacts on pricing. Recent price increases appear to relate most closely to accident risk.We understand that the Association of British Insurers has separately commissioned work that will attempt to quantify the impacts of long-tail risks on the market. They expect to complete this study later this year. The Government will consider this with interest.