Not-for-profit campaign group, the Association of Personal Lawyers (APIL), has criticised proposed new rules on how insurance companies search their historical records if a potential claim for compensation is being made against them, saying that they are “wide of the mark”.
Responding to a consultation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on new search procedures, APIL has pointed out that for injured or ill workers to successfully claim compensation, it must be established which insurers provided employers' liability cover at the time they were injured or exposed. However, this can sometimes be a problem, as APIL president Karl Tonks explained:
“Victims of asbestos-related disease can become ill many years after they are exposed at work, by which time the records can be harder to find. Sometimes they are never found and those people are left with nowhere to turn.”
“Every insurer should have a tracing policy in place. But the FSA is silent on how it will enforce the rules and sanction firms which do not comply,” he said.
Karl also pointed out that there is a conflict of interest when insurers carry out the searches which would ultimately lead to them paying compensation.
“It is the insurer's responsibility to pay compensation to those people who are ill or dying as a result of simply going to work, but an insurer's primary interests lie with its shareholders, not suffering people or their families. It is imperative that record searches are subject to robust rules.”