Brokers urged to check PL policies account for legionnaires

The CII has urged brokers to ensure public liability insurance policies account for legionnaires' disease. When a building has been closed or had reduced occupancy, as has been the case during the coronavirus pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of the disease.

A recent guide produced by the CII explained that because of the way standard public liability policies are currently worded means most, if not all outbreaks of legionnaires' disease, will fall within an exclusion clause and therefore not be covered. In order to extend the cover for insureds, brokers must make a specific application to insurers requesting additional wording to the policy giving supplementary cover against the disease.

Stuart Stead, board member of the Society of Insurance Broking, said: “Many business owners, especially in the SME arena, will be unaware that not all public liability insurance policies provide cover for Legionnaires’ disease. As we know, if an outbreak is confirmed then it could cause not only a financial penalty but potentially a very severe reputational effect on top of that, from which many businesses could struggle to recover.

“This guide sets out how brokers can better assist their clients in relation to explaining this insurable threat, and thereby financially mitigating the risk should the worst case occur.”

The full guide can be found here: https://www.cii.co.uk/media/10124713/legionella-coverage-in-uk-public-liability-market.pdf

This latest warning comes after a recent outbreak of legionella (the bacteria which causes legionnaires disease) in the Midlands led the Health and Safety Executive to remind employers to identify and control the associated risks.

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