Why can't we get the message across about the real causes of the problem, says Andy Cook
Last week I was cheered by the fact that the business community had woken up to the crisis in liability cover. And now the whole nation is aware of the scale of the issue. It is two months since it was flagged up by The Underwriter's Keith Rutter with FSA managing director John Tiner (27 June, Insurance Times) and almost three months since we began reporting that Lloyd's syndicates suspended underwriting liability cover(30 May, Insurance Times).
Dozens of column inches were devoted to the crisis in the broadsheets over the weekend. But is it all too little, too late? Admittedly, employers and their representative bodies have been slow to wake up to the crisis. And it is only complaints by employers that can convince this government, as our experience of terrorism cover shows. However, our industry could have done more to push the issue and probably should have done so.
As I said (1 August, Insurance Times), it is only a matter of time before the finger of blame is pointed at the insurance industry. And, sure enough, Martin Barrow writing in The Times last Saturday said: "Those nasty insurance companies are doing their best to put firms out of business with huge rises in premiums that must be paid by employers." How depressing.
The industry has failed to get its message over that issues such as claims culture and poor health and safety thinking are to blame. And what's more infuriatintg is that the media loves all those stories about crazy claims against local authorities and schools. Why haven't we been able to get these people to think about the issues in tandem?
In September, Insurance Times is publishing a special liability supplement to look at all the issues in depth. And we are looking for ideas and contributions as we speak. So if you have something to say please get in touch.