The progress was slow since 2002 when the Association of British Insurers began lobbing for the reforms. In August the same year the government showed signs of supporting the insurers by accepting the insurance companies to charge high premiums of over 40% . The call for the reforms was also done the leading safety organizations asking the government to make radical reforms on the way in which insurance companies compensated the injured or those whose illness was work related.
This organizations included the Royal Society for the prevention of accidents (RoSPA) ,the occupational safety and health (OHS), and the British Safety council (BSC) in 2004 the government decided to commit itself through the department of work and pensions to improve and develop a new framework for the work place and to help workplaces to become healthier and safe places . The government was to help the employer prevent certain risks and where this failed the necessary rehabilitation process for the affected.
The government which is a major employer has been reluctant in influencing the reforms on rising premiums and the effectiveness of the insurance market to help in the productivity of UK. The same government has not reconsidered the proposals on the costs of compensated workplace accidents all comp Despite the reluctance by the government the insurance industry has made efforts in working with manufacturers and other stake holders by extending notice periods and accurately assessing the risks.
The problem actually does not lie with the employers, liability it lies with the parliament which was first presented the report June 2003 and promised it was working with the concerned parties. It has taken long for the parliament to discuss on this report on the reforms. The reforms have been processed in form of bill. The bill named Insurance Bureau bill was presented in parliament on January 26th 2009 the second reading done on March 13th 2009 and only thirty members voted so it will be represented in parliament on 16th June 2009.
By passing of the bill it will enable a fund of last resort to be paid to the victim injured and sick workers when their employer insurer cannot be traced The government has failed in implementing some of the policies although it has been trying to set some regulations to deal with the reforms. The problem that the government faces implementing bits of the policy and not the whole reforms for example the Department of work and pension tried to rehabilitate injured workers and making them go back to workplaces instead of financial compensations.
In 2007, the reforms were modified and according to the minister the reforms related to Employers’ liability were very complex in terms of the relationship of the employer and employee when making a claim. Although the progress had been quite slow some major recommendations have been implemented which have helped the industry to grow despite the setbacks such include the insurance companies being allowed to charge high premiums.
The process has also been slow because of many players in the reforms; these players include the safety industry, the employers the insurance companies and the government under the Department of workers Pension and the parliament that has to pass the laws. The parties have to agree as what is the best for all of them at one point the manufacturers accepted the reforms in where they were to have extra funding for some claims after the government stepped in to solve the crisis. The major recommendations have also been met by criticisms on time limitations on when to admit a claim.
The time should be five days in which the solicitor can get the required information to mail the insurer who should respond in 15 working days if it admits the claim, 20 more days to negotiate the claims. This proposal by the government was not favored because decision was made in earlier stage before medical reports were prepared. While some proposals have been accepted by the government has reputed the proposal to pay the claimant even after accepting responsibility that they were at fault . What is the next action?
For now there is no much that the parties involved can do much since the reforms have been published into a bill and therefore most of the parties’ action will depend on what the parliament will decide. The insurance industry will have to continue with some of the policies and ensure that they are not running in to lose because of the premiums they charge. In passing the law the government should consider the way the personal injury claims are handled it should put priority in the delay and cost of the legal system
Meanwhile the insurance industry along side with the justice system will have to work on the compensation system by lowering the legal costs the reforms progress should be speeded up so as to deliver justice to the affected victims. Conclusion Without the reforms the affected victims will continue to be stuck in the system that is slow in paying their compensation yet the employers have to pay the premiums, complex in the way that it handles the cases and the denial by the legal system to a good and speedy care.
The parties lobbing for the reforms will still have to be careful on the steps the parliament takes in passing the bill the major players that is the safety industry, the insurance industry and the employers will have to inform the parliament on the importance of the reforms so that the insurance markets become effective in running their business without exploiting the consumer in the UK. In considering the employer liability reforms the judiciary system should also be changed in order to allow the reforms to take place efficiently the company can.
Despite all the blames being put on the government the insurance industry has to work in line with other stake holders in order to run efficiently and some of this safety accidents can be prevented if not avoided. An employer having a safe working environment is likely to avoid many unnecessary costs and manage time well instead of having to follow the legal system. Some of these claims can be well settled outside the legal system so as to avoid the legal costs.
Another system that can be adopted by the parliament is by delegating the bill to the concerned parties since parliament takes long time in passing a bill yet the key players such as the Department of work and pensions to make the necessary recommendation and changes in the bill. The reforms should be implemented as these will help in the competitiveness of the insurance industry therefore increasing the productivity of the industry and help the insurance market function properly.