AXA calls for improved systems management from firms
AXA UK commercial is calling on construction firms to improve risk management to stem losses on its employers' liability (EL) business.
The move is part of a new push by the insurer to tackle rising losses on its EL construction portfolio. AXA said it is keen to address a 64% rise in the average cost of EL claims between 1998 and 2002.
The insurer is also piloting a survey of construction employers' liability (EL) policyholders to build a picture of the risks it insures.
AXA commercial underwriting head Roy Watkinson said: "Claims arising from the construction sector are a concern for AXA at the moment. There is a concern that the construction sector has been failing to implement sound risk assessment procedures.
"We want to know that firms have safe systems and proof of training. Then if there is a claim, firms would be able to prove they were at least encouraging best practice, which would reduce the EL premium."
AXA commercial casualty insurance manager Steve Browne said that the insurer aimed to forge closer links with its claims department in a bid to slash EL claims costs.
Browne said: "We have been working hard reviewing our liability portfolio and have just agreed a re-focused approach to our construction account.
"One of my immediate aims is to ensure that our revised strategy is implemented as soon as possible."
Richard Ash of the Engineering Construction Industry Association said: "A stricter risk assessment regime by insurers is not a concern for us as we're a highly professional sector anyway.
"However, the proof of the pudding is in the premium - our members would expect premiums to reflect their adherence to stricter risk assessments."
The government made the proposal to recover NHS costs for workplace injuries from EL premiums in its recent Health and Social Care Bill.
But it has now indicated that this measure will not be implemented until at least autumn, when further work into the EL system being done by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office of Fair Trading is concluded.
According to the ABI, if introduced, the legislation could increase EL premiums by as much as 8%. An ABI spokesman said that the latest move seemed sensible.