Insurers and brokers are set to benefit from increased sales of business interruption (BI) insurance, following publication of the government's new Civil Contingencies Bill.

Association of Local Authority Risk Managers (Alarm) chairman Bob Cope said that he expected the uptake of BI to increase, albeit off a low base.

Under the Bill, local authorities will have a duty to assess the risk of an emergency occurring and maintain appropriate business continuity plans.

The Bill , which was published on 7 January, applies to councils , police and fire authorities, and NHS trusts , as well as the Environment Agency and the Maritime and Marine Coastguard.

The Bill would update current emergency legislation based on the 1920 Emergency Powers Act and the 1948 Civil Defence Act.

It gives the government powers to amend any Act of Parliament without parliamentary approval in the event of an emergency, such as a terrorist threat or natural disaster.

The special powers available to government in such circumstances could include deploying the armed forces and requisitioning property.