Insurance industry acts to speed high-rise repairs

Insurance industry acts to speed high-rise repairs

In the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, developers, contractors and indeed the whole construction supply chain have been wading through impediments to make high-rise blocks of flats safe.  The insurance industry has been a persistent impediment.

The hope is that the new model clause –  freely available for use by underwriters looking to provide professional indemnity insurance for building cladding remediation work – will make things easier.

The wording has been developed by the International Underwriting Association (IUA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities for use in work being completed under the government’s £4.5bn Building Safety Fund. It is designed to provide insurers with increased confidence in risk management processes employed by the construction sector.

Chris Jones, IUA director of legal and market services, said: “Our new model clause sets out a number of key risk management processes that will ensure work being carried out is conducted within recognised industry standards. This will help improve accountability for safety measures and foster an investment in quality construction.

“The market for construction professional indemnity insurance has been difficult in recent years, reflecting concerns about the potential for historic liabilities to develop into future claims following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Each new risk must continue to be assessed on a risk-by-risk basis, of course, but the clause should provide underwriters with greater confidence to offer effective insurance solutions for future work.”

‘Levelling up’ secretary Greg Clarke said: “Our priority is making sure people’s homes are safe and that safety standards are high. Alongside our tough new regulatory regime, this new clause that has been developed with my department will help us do just that. We welcome the work of the IUA and the underwriters who are taking a proportionate approach to fire safety cover and I thank insurers in advance for using it.”

A IUA survey in September 2021 revealed caution among its members to underwrite fire safety risks on new projects to remove defective cladding from high rises. Around two thirds of respondents stated they would provide a limited form of cover but only 4% were happy to offer unrestricted protection.

The IUA Building Safety Fund Cladding and Fire Safety Limited Exclusion and Aggregation Clause is free to download at www.iuaclauses.co.uk

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