With the cost of legal disputes in UK construction at an all-time high and tribunal cases rising sharply in the past year, ECIC, the specialist insurer for the building services sector has launched a new Legal Expenses Insurance product. The new product designed specifically for the contractor market will enable ECIC’s network of regional commercial brokers to offer contractors valuable protection in the event of legal disputes.
As the UK construction industry continues to face skills shortages, the outfall from the collapse of Carillion and uncertainty over Brexit, it is feared that the number of legal disputes in the sector will increase.
For instance, tribunal cases have risen 39 per cent in the past year according to the Acas 2017/2018 annual report. This is since the Supreme Court decision to scrap tribunal fees in July 2017.
The ECIC Legal Expenses Insurance product, which is available as an add-on to the ECIC Commercial Combined Policy, includes cover for trade supply contract disputes, construction contract disputes, trade registration protection and trade operator’s licence disputes as well as trade and engineers regulatory protection.
Policyholders also have access to a dedicated claims line, a legal advice line and the Markel Law Hub, an online resource of expert legal and business guides, templates and content, provided by Markel Law LLP.
Richard Forrest Smith, CEO of ECIC said: “This product is significant in a number of respects. First it responds to the challenging market conditions faced by the specialist contracting market right now, enabling brokers to provide a great value add. It leverages the strengths of Abbey Legal, a trading name of Markel International Insurance Company Limited and therefore demonstrates very clearly the benefits we can start to bring brokers as part of the Markel family. And finally, it is significant in that it is our first product launch since the acquisition.
This is one of a number planned for the coming year that will boost our proposition to the broker market and in turn, strengthen the range of covers brokers can offer their specialist contractor customers.”