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Health and safety: Legislative changes your customer needs you to know

At a glance

  • Companies must be kept aware of all health and safety legislation changes.

Recent legislative changes in health and safety, and personal injury claims, will have major impacts on all employers. However, most organisations have no automatic point of reference on risk issues.

As a broker, you are in a unique position to raise risk issues with existing and potential customers. This will be particularly powerful when you are competing for an appointment and talking to decision makers.

By understanding these issues and explaining the relevance, a knowledgeable broker can add value for a customer and enhance their own standing. Customers need a broker and an insurer that both understand the issues and can give guidance that adds value to the customer.

In terms of health and safety, October 1 2012 saw the introduction of ‘Fee for Intervention’ (FFI). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can levy charges on employers where a material breach of health and safety law is revealed.

Are your customers aware of this? And how should they respond to protect their business? Some companies are already making budgetary provision for such costs. The government is proposing to alter the law in relation to ‘strict liability’ – how will this impact on your customers?

The HSE is currently reviewing all the ‘Approved Codes of Practice’ (ACOPs) which give authoritative guidance on workplace hazards. There is pressure to reduce or remove some ACOPs. How will this development impact on how organisations manage workplace risks? And where will they go for advice and guidance if HSE is no longer viewed as a body to turn to (because of FFI)?

Beyond health and safety law, the government is proposing to introduce the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) in April 2013.

Putting customers in the picture

As a result, there will be major changes in the handling of bodily injury claims. Do your customers understand what is going to happen? Do they understand the alterations that will be needed in their administrative systems if they are to cope with the changes? Are they aware that bodily injury damages will increase by 10-20% in 2013 because of LASPO and JSB amendments? What will happen to contributory negligence?

The LASPO changes, which incorporate many of the recommendations of the ‘Jackson’ Review Of Civil Litigation, are aimed at controlling legal costs. Success fees and after-the-event insurance premiums will not be recoverable from defendants and there will be a ban on referral fees. There is no certainty at present that all the measures will be implemented simultaneously, and only time will show the impact on legal costs.

To maximise the benefits and avoid the pitfalls that may materialise from these changes, customers will require a more proactive approach, which supports quick decisions on liability and the timely provision of documentation.

These issues are hot topics at the moment and your customers (and potential customers) need authoritative guidance. Zurich has been proactive in these risk areas and can give you the expertise to make a difference.


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