The five-year scheme sees the government liaise with an MGA, reinsurer and technology provider to address protection gap

The UK government and insurance industry have teamed up to offer property surveyors in the UK access to a government-backed professional indemnity (PI) insurance scheme, aimed at those who conduct assessments on external cladding.

The new scheme for EWS1 assessors, which was first announced in September 2022, is operated by London-based MGA MGAM, uses capacity from reinsurer Scor and is delivered in partnership with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). It is available now for property surveyors now.

MGAM said the product had been launched in response to the significant shortage of insurance companies willing to provide PI cover to firms undertaking assessments of external wall systems – which includes the completion of EWS1 forms - in mid and high-rise residential buildings.

EWS1 forms were developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association to support the valuation process for high-rise residential buildings with cladding. The forms were introduced in 2019.

The protection gap in this field can in part be attributed to the fallout following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017.

Responding to ‘complex insurance needs’

The collaborative PI scheme is due to last for five years. Following this point, the scheme creators anticipate that insurers will step back into the market, therefore removing the requirement for a state-backed scheme.

Insurance platform provider Instanda is the technology partner involved in the scheme – MGAM noted that the insurtech’s platform has enabled the new scheme to come to market quickly.

Jason Anthony, chief executive of MGAM, explained: “Winning the government contract to develop this PI scheme for EWS1 assessors means a great deal to our business.

“Using Instanda’s core insurance platform gave us the confidence that we could launch our product to market quickly, while guaranteeing the very best user experience and customer service – something that was crucial for all parties.”

Tim Hardcastle, chief executive of Instanda, added: “Partnering with an innovative and forward-thinking organisation like MGAM has given us another opportunity to demonstrate - in real business value terms - how well our core insurance platform can respond to today’s complex insurance needs.”