In a trend which will concern business owners and insurers alike Noise Induced Hearing Claims or Industrial Deafness, claims as they are also known are back on the increase after a short dip.
Data released by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries this month (2015 Q2 UK Deafness Claims aggregated data) shows that there were 40,383 claims between January and June 2015 versus 34,857 in the same period in 2014 and then 39,030 between the same months in 2013.
The growth is worrying as it is felt claims management companies and personal injury solicitors are targeting employees of companies and encouraging claims to be made against their current and former employers. Indeed the Association of British Insurers estimates that since 2012 more than 200,000 claims have been made but only one fifth have received compensation payments, suggesting the claims are opportunistic and lacking clear evidence (Association of British Insurers Report 16/6/2015).
For those claims where compensation is awarded solicitors receive on average 70% of the payment to cover costs with only 30% being given to the claimant with the average total payment being £13,600.
Clearly even for those claims where no payment is made costs are still being allocated to investigate and defend the cases as well as causing concern to the defendants. Where the number of claims rises so it is expected insurance premiums will follow to cover any potential losses.
Currently in the UK where a business has employees, or uses labour only sub contractors they are required by law to have Employers’ Liability cover in place (HSE Guide to Employers Liability Cover) and in the event of a claim being made by an employee it is this insurance cover that would react. It remains vital that every business reviews their insurance cover and selects the right insurer in order to make sure a claim may be defended swiftly and effectively.