Pool Re welcomes expansion of terrorism cover

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Publicly backed terrorism reinsurer Pool Re has welcomed the government’s commitment to amend the 1993 Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act to enable it to extend its cover to include non-damage business interruption losses resulting from acts of terrorism.

The reinsurer is currently restricted by the 1993 act only to pay out if physical damage has occurred to commercial property. This means that businesses, inside a police cordon, that suffer financial loss through being unable to access their property or to trade, are only covered if there has been physical damage during a terrorist attack.

Pool Re had identified the potential protection gap as a result of the spate of attacks across Europe in 2015 and 2016, but the terrorist attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge highlighted the actual impact of the gap in UK provisions for terrorism insurance coverage.

This caused Pool Re to suggest its cover evolve to ensure continued efficacy in the face of a changing threat. It has already responded to the threat of a cyber trigger and from April 2018 Pool Re will extend its cover to include material damage and direct business interruption caused by acts of terrorism using a cyber trigger.

In a written statement to Parliament on 22 March, economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, confirmed that the government would be taking steps to expand coverage.

He said: “I am today announcing that the government intends to legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to amend the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993. This amendment will enable an extension of the cover provided by the government-backed terrorism reinsurer Pool Re to include business interruption losses that are not contingent on damage to commercial property. I will announce further details in due course.”

“This government remains committed to ensuring that businesses can continue to secure insurance against the financial costs of terror attacks.”

Julian Enoizi, chief executive of Pool Re, said: “We welcome and applaud the government’s commitment to amend the 1993 legislation to allow Pool Re to be the first of the global terrorism pools to overtly extend its cover to include terrorism related non-damage business interruption.”

“After months of extensive collaboration between ourselves and the government, today’s announcement represents another landmark moment for the insurance industry’s ability to provide a comprehensive response to acts of terrorism in the UK and demonstrates the strength of public/private partnership in disaster risk financing.”

He continued: “This amendment will close the terrorism insurance gap for businesses up and down the country, which, combined with our efforts to make cover more affordable for SMEs and regional businesses across Great Britain, will increase the resilience of the economy. Businesses can be confident they will be covered in the event of a terrorist attack, and able to get back on their feet quickly for the benefit of their community, customers and suppliers.”

“Pool Re will continue working in partnership with the government to increase resilience in the economy by influencing mitigating behaviour and incentivising implementation of government accredited protective security measures. With the recent launch of our online vulnerability self-assessment tool, we commit to making those resources available to smaller businesses.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk