Martin Hill denies insurers are avoiding settlement of claims

Martin Hill

The insurance industry will never be popular, but I want to defend it against the charges that it is looking for ways to avoid claims.

The problem arises from the extreme financial pressures insurers are under. The over-capacity of the late 1980s and subsequent recession, with its recession-led claims, have resulted in the stringent examination of underwritten risks.

Insurers and their customers need to take a more radical approach. Rather than the prospect of increasing numbers of claims under corporate insurance policies for material damage and consequential loss, these claims could be dramatically reduced if contingency planning became a term of cover.

Making contingency planning a condition of an insurance policy for commercial risks could reduce the amount of claims and aid underwriters with risk assessment.

All perceived risks should be assessed to allow an organisation to plan where it is vulnerable. For example, a food manufacturer is specifically liable to contamination caused by the overflow of drains.

Companies with contingency plans are better equipped to survive a disaster and less likely to claim business interruption cover. This approach could mean that premium increases are kept within reasonable bounds.

Martin Hill is an insurance litigation partner with Alsop Wilkinson.