Employers Liability Insurance: Paying Your Industrial Injury Compensation & Tracing Former Employer’s Insurer

Employers liability insurance is essential to ensure that you receive compensation for injury at work.

In this article – we discuss the legal requirement on your employer to have employers’ liability insurance; the importance of liability insurance for industrial disease claims; why your solicitor needs insurance details to commence your work injury claim; how to access the insurers database to trace your employer’s insurance details; finding employers insurance policies spanning the last 100 years; what happens when your employer has been taken over by another business; who can access the insurance database and how to have specialist solicitor free help with making a work accident or industrial disease claim.

Must your employer have employers’ liability insurance?

“Yes” – employers liability insurance is a legal requirement for all employers in the UK.

Exception – a limited company that has only one director who is the only employee may not need employer’s liability insurance.

Why is employers’ liability insurance so important when claiming personal injury compensation?

Your employer may be a sole trader, partnership or limited company.

If you are injured at work, you may have a compensation claim against your employer as an individual or as an employer business entity. Employers’ liability insurance meets the liability of your employer for successful compensation claims.

This might include injury claims by contractors or the self-employed, if legally considered to be effectively an employee.

For example – you may work for a builder trading in his own name or alternatively you may be employed by a large building company. If you were to make a claim against the builder – he would likely not have the means to pay and the building company would have limited liability. Hence – employers’ liability insurance ensures that you will always receive compensation whatever the business structure of your employer.

Are there extra considerations when you are looking to claim for industrial disease?

There are some important considerations you should appreciate when your suffer an industrial disease.

Industrial diseases claims are often large claims

Industrial disease are often very serious and may affect you for rest of a your life. Your ability to earn an income may be greatly affected.

An industrial injury compensation claim is therefore likely to be very large and if your employer was not required by law to have insurance it is very easy to see how he would go bankrupt if he had to meet several such claims.

Industrial illness may take many years to show symptoms

Because it can take so long for an industrial disease to develop – companies may no longer be in business by the time your claim is started

Do not worry – as long as insurance was in place at the relevant time of your employment then the insurance company should still meet your claim.

Insurance company compensation schemes

Some insurance companies have so many claims against one employer that they may set up a compensation scheme requiring any new claims to follow the scheme that they have set up.

UK government compensation schemes

For example – British Coal or the National Coal Board employed a great number of workers many of whom suffered lung disease and other industrial injuries. To deal with the payment of worker’s industrial injury compensation claims a national compensation scheme was set up called “The Department of Trade and Industry Coalhealth Compensation Scheme”.

employers liability insurance compensation claim
Employers Liability Compensation Insurance Claim

Does your solicitor need the insurance details of your employer to commence a claim?

Although the initial notification of the commencement of your claim may differ depending on the severity of your work injury or the type of claim you are contemplating – generally from the outset your solicitor will need the details of your employers’ liability insurer or at the very least to know that such insurance exists.

Some practical considerations your solicitor may take into account, include:

The ability of your employer to pay compensation

Before advising you to commence a claim – your solicitor will need to appraise your chances of recovering compensation from your employer.

In other words – does your employer have the means to pay you compensation in the event of a successful claim.

Ability to pay compensation is an essential requirement when considering a no win no fee funding arrangement.

Commencing Low value work injury claims

If your claim is considered a low value personal injury claim (at the time of writing £1,000 – £25,000) – it will proceed via the process set out in the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability and Public Liability) Claims requiring a Claims Notification Form to be sent to the Defendant (your employer) and the Defendant’s employers liability insurer.

How does your solicitor find out the details of your employer’s liability insurance?

Your solicitor can check an existing employers liability insurance details using the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office / ELTO services, which is managed by a subsidiary of the Motor Insurers Bureau.

This might be necessary because your current employer’s insurer is not known or your former employer is no longer trading, dissolved or insolvent.

Don’t be put off – in industrial disease claims, such as mesothelioma, former employers have often no longer in business as the work conditions are caused by hazardous work exposure taking place many years ago).

What if your former employer has been taken over by another business?

If your former employer has been taken over by another business, it is likely the new business will have taken over the responsibility for liability of your work injury claim via the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations also known as TUPE.

Is the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office likely to have your employer’s insurance details if it exists?

“Yes” – the ELTO obtains it search results from accessing the Employers Liability Database / ELD. The ELD is a rich source of information – containing employers’ liability insurance policies spanning back over the last 100 years.

There are some gaps especially for historic employers’ insurance details – but the vast majority are included.

Example – the employers’ liability database can prove essential in industrial disease claims. A search of this database should reveal the insurance that was in place at the time of your past employment.

Remember – it will be the employers’ liability insurer who will be held responsible for paying your compensation, in the event of a successful claim, even if your former employer no longer exists.

Who can use the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office services?

The Employers’ Liability Tracing Office services are primarily used by solicitors, but they are open to members of the public contemplating a claim against an employer as a litigant-in-person.

Summary and Specialist Solicitor Free Help

In this article you have discovered the importance of employers liability insurance, how to trace the details so you can commence a work accident claim or occupational disease claim.

Should you wish to ask a question or discuss your claim with our specialist solicitors – see our free legal help options.