Biba and ABI in talks as government proposes scrapping rule on record-keeping.

The ABI is set to overhaul its code for tracing old employers’ liability policies, which has a success rate of just 40%.

The move follows a government proposal to scrap the requirement for employers to keep insurance policy records for 40 years.

The ABI’s tracing code helps claimants and defendants to track down employers’ liability policies by circulating enquiries to ABI members. It is a free of charge, automated online system that processes enquiries and emails the results.

But the ABI has admitted that the voluntary code is only effective in about 40% of cases. There are fears that the government’s plan to drop the rule on 40-year records will make it even more difficult for claimants to trace old policies.

Biba held a meeting with the ABI last week to discuss proposals to overhaul the tracing code but refused to divulge the details.

Graeme Trudgill, technical and corporate affairs executive for Biba, said sweeping changes should be expected.

“This is a major change and something that Biba and its liability committee are having a careful look at,” he said.

“The ABI’s current system hasn’t been perfect so it is the time to have a look at it. There are all sorts of issues, such as international issues. So we want to put some careful thought into it.”

He added that the tracing code would be the main item on the agenda at Biba’s next technical committee meeting, which is scheduled for early next month.

The system is for claimants who suffer personal injury or disease caused during employment. It can also be used if the claimant’s former employer has ceased trading.

Defendants who are facing an employers’ liability claim can use the service if they are unable to find insurance policy records before1999. Enquiries can also be made in mesothelioma and lung cancer cases if a co-defendant (another employer in whose employ the employee was exposed to the cause of the disease or injury) has ceased trading.

The government has said the code is a burden on business. If the proposal to abandon the 40-year requirement is successful, it will take effect from 1?October.

For more information on the code, call the ABI on 020 7216 7492.