The future of employers' liability remains a key topic for risk managers

Peter Berring, chairman of AIRMIC's environmental, liability and health and safety focus group, believes that the government and Association of British Insurers (ABI) should involve AIRMIC in discussions far more than they have done so far. He is asking the Council of AIRMIC to consider how to get its views across to the government and the ABI.

Berring is concerned that reform schemes under discussion, which suggest the transfer of long term occupational disease into a government 'not for profit' pool could discourage further investment by employers in health and safety, because the entire industrial grouping would be levied to pay for the losses of a small number, "... so it would almost be encouraging a reduction in loss prevention, which, for AIRMIC, would be an abysmal perspective".

Instead, Berring would like to see a no-fault scheme for workplace injuries replace the current liability regime. It should, he says, reduce the number of people invalided out of work permanently, because the current adversarial system delays rehabilitation for injured employees, as well as generating a large legal cost.

People point to the US workers' compensation system and say it costs more than employer's liability cover for the same accident, Berring admits, but says, "They're not comparing apples to apples. Workers' compensation, for example, pays medical costs which the UK employer's liability doesn't".