Ten members of staff at Royal & Sunalliance have been sacked (although they are currently appealing) for sending rude emails against the company's stated policy on the matter.

The family of a black man who committed suicide after alleged racial harassment at his work place, the Royal Mail, has just been given the go-ahead to bring an employment tribunal posthumously on his behalf.

And a handful of people so far have been convicted of any form of corporate manslaughter, but they have been small fry rather than directors of large corporations. The threat of the new corporate killing law hangs over firms.

The rate of change of employment law is outstripping even the rate of change within the insurance industry. How are companies to keep up?

The big companies have few excuses. They have huge personnel or human resources departments. They have their own in-house lawyers and can buy in external expertise. And they are well served by their insurers and brokers, which provide risk management advice on a range of issues from health and safety to corporate governance.

But what about the rest of the UK's huge industrial and commercial base? What about the medium-sized firms, let alone the small businesses with just a handful of employees? And let's not forget the million or so micro-businesses, perhaps just taking on their first ever employee. What advice do insurers give these firms?


Apart from a few minor web initiatives, insurers have yet to see the claims come through from this sort of business, so they are in no rush to provide that risk management advice. The small business commercial market is still a major target area for many insurers who see it as an almost claims-free environment.

But this will not last. As ever, the competition will lead to oversupply, which will lead to softening prices and this will inevitably coincide with the start of the claims – because claim they will. And then insurers will start to make losses.

Small businesses need help in this changing world. And they need it before it is too late, for them, and for their insurers.