HSE seeks risk profiling index to assess health and safety record

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is expected to release its long-awaited second report into the employers' liability (EL) crisis in November.

Speaking at the CII conference, Health & Safety Executive (HSE) policy adviser Steve Vinton revealed that the DWP would release its report after the completion of work being done by the ABI and the HSE.

The ABI has commissioned studies into legal costs and the separation of long-tail claims from accident claims, while the HSE has asked consultancy Greenstreet Berman to develop a risk profiling index.

Vinton said the draft Greenstreet Berman index has the potential to become a universal index used by insurers to assess health and safety management. It would give each company an overall rating out of ten, taking into account its health and safety management system, injury rate, occupational health risk management, absence rate and major incident rating.

Vinton added that the HSE has also commissioned Greenstreet Berman to conduct a survey into the level of evasion of EL insurance.

The possibility of separating long tail disease claims from accident claims remains at the top of insurers' agendas. Royal & SunAlliance head of technical insurances Phil Bell said that, although there was no set definition of what constitutes a long-tail risk, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was using a disease-based rather than time-based definition in its report for the ABI.

PWC had classified repetitive strain injury (RSI) as a short-tail disease, while asbestosis and industrial cancer were considered long tail.

The ABI's head of general insurance, John Parker, said PWC was also investigating how equity could be achieved in the funding of a long-tail pool.

Parker said that such a pool would be funded by a levy on employers, and issues remained over the proportions that should be paid by current and future companies.