Allianz Cornhill personal accident policy aims to ease liability crisis

Allianz Cornhill is to launch a personal accident (PA) policy aimed at relaxing the pressures on UK business suffering from the liability crisis.

The policy, described as visitors' cover, can be purchased by retailers and other places used by the public. If a visitor is seriously injured on the premises the cover will pay out to the establishment.

The money could be used to return the injured person back to work quickly and reduce the amount of compensation paid out under liability policies.

Allianz Cornhill accident and health manager Richard Lang said: "The establishment can use the money for anything. But if it is used to provide the injured person with rehabilitation and back-to-work programmes, it will help to engender trust between the parties and avoid potential litigation or reduce the level of damages awarded if a claim were made."

Unlike liability cover, PA cover operates irrespective of fault. The nature of the injury determines if a payment is made and the amount.

Lang added that PA policies could, in the long run, be used to mitigate the claims culture.

"It needs to be industry-led. Products have to be devised and tied in with liability clients."

The move is part of Allianz Cornhill's drive to expand into the PA market, currently worth £250m a year.

At present, it writes £4m of business a year in PA, but is aiming to achieve £50m.

The visitors' cover will be launched in the first quarter of 2004. Four other related products will follow.