Claiming compensation from an employer? New rules could help...

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If you have a legitimate compensation claim against an employer, you may already know there is a lot of red tape involved. But now the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is bringing in new rules which will require companies’ insurers to publish information about their employers’ liability (EL) policies, and the claims made against such policies.

Searching the database will speed up industrial illness claimsThis is to replace the old system where insurers searched their records to ‘the best of their ability’ when a claim is made. Now, hopefully from late April 2011, it should take just a matter of minutes to search policies loaded onto a central database and this will significantly speed up any compensation claim against an employer.

This is of particular benefit to workers whose illness was caused by their employment perhaps decades ago – such as asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and pleural plaques – and who need to track down their former employer’s insurers as a matter of urgency.

The new information will include Employee Reference/PAYE numbers which should increase the amount of successful searches and help people claiming compensation from an employer to start the process much sooner than has been the case.

The Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) has welcomed the move and is urging companies to sign up to the database.

The Association of British Insurers’ director of general insurance and health, Nick Starling, adds: "The FSA’s regulations will improve the current situation for both lawyers and claimants as all insurers will now be required to publish their data making any search much more thorough."

Head of Industrial Disease at Simpson Millar LLP, Emma Costin, commented: "This reform has been campaigned for by Claimant and victim groups for many years and is long overdue. It has been a scandal that an insurer can escape liability to compensate victims of occupational disease, because the insured failed to keep proper records of historic policies. However only time will tell if the new system works as hoped and we will be monitoring this closely".

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