Although the change of government has created some uncertainty about immediate developments, Airmic has told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that its members overwhelmingly support the creation of an office to trace historical employers’ liability insurers.

Members also generally favour the idea of an employers’ liability insurance bureau, along the lines of the Motor Insurance Bureau, that could settle claims when insurers cannot be traced.

According to Airmic technical director Paul Hopkin, members do not object either to the idea of a 1%-2% levy on employers’ liability premiums, provided the burden falls fairly and not on companies that have no exposure to latent industrial disease and illness, such as recent start-ups. They would, however, prefer the government to pay the costs.

These comments are a response to the consultation by the DWP on its proposals for an employers’ liability tracing office and insurance bureau.

The measures are intended to overcome the difficulties of tracing insurers liable for mesothelioma claims, and probably similar long-latent industrial disease. The new government must reintroduce the bill to create the bureau, and it isn’t clear how soon that could happen. Another issue that concerns members, says Hopkin, is the enforcement of the compulsory employers’ liability insurance.

“This isn’t a problem among members but they are concerned when smaller companies do not buy employers’ liability insurance. This is an ongoing issue that is not very strongly enforced. “Members believe enforcement should be upgraded and applied, including disqualification from serving as directors for directors of companies that fail to meet the legal requirement.”