Fleet News

Corporate killing law to send insurance soaring

FLEETS with poor risk management policies are being warned they face a ‘massive’ increase in insurance costs under proposed corporate manslaughter laws.

Executives at Fleet News Award-winning Essential Risk Consultancy believe premiums will rise sharply as insurance companies themselves face claims as a result of the new Bill.

The proposed new Corporate Manslaughter Bill will apply when someone has been killed because the senior management of a corporation has grossly failed to take reasonable care for the safety of employees or others (Fleet NewsNet, March 31).

It is currently out to consultation and could become law within months if a Labour Government is returned to continue the plan it launched before a General Election was called.

Essential Risk Consultancy co-owner Jeremy Hay said that only companies that can show effective working practices as well as clear safety policies will be able to negotiate their premiums once the Bill becomes law.

He said: ‘Insurers face potentially limitless claims as a result of the new Bill. They will have to be ruthless in covering themselves, which will mean higher premiums for most fleets, especially for ones with poor risk management practices.’

But he warns against companies simply putting new policies in place, adding that courts in the future will concentrate on actual management behaviour and working practices and not just ‘nice documents’.

Ministers previously stressed that no new burdens will be placed on companies already complying with health and safety legislation.

Announcing the Bill, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: ‘Reforming the laws on corporate manslaughter is part of the Government’s wider agenda to modernise the criminal justice system – putting victims at the heart of things, protecting the public and ensuring that justice is done.’

The fleet industry has also been invited to comment on he draft Bill while it goes through pre-legislative scrutiny by a parliamentary committee.

  • The closing date for comments is June 12 and full details are available at the website www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ docs4/con_corp_mans.html
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