NI discount rate legislation published this week – Assembly debates to follow

The Bill to reset the legal basis of the personal injury discount rate (PIDR) in Northern Ireland was published this week following its introduction to the Assembly. As was expected, and as we tweeted yesterday, it’s a lift and shift from the approach in Scotland with one main change: a longer assumed investment period of 43 years rather than 30. The investment portfolio, however, is identical. We have said previously that all that can be taken from this, for the time being, is that had the NI PIDR been set using this approach at the same time as the Scottish rate was set at -0.75% – ie back in Q3 2019 – it might have been a little higher than that. How quickly the Bill (its home page is here) might proceed is both politically contentious (as set out in my last blog about it) and unclear. We may get a better idea of timescales from the second stage debate which is likely to take place next week and may at times be ‘robust’.


Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs
alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com

Government backed indemnity schemes announced for ‘COVID-19’ positive care homes and Community Pharmacies administering vaccines

We have previously written about the UK government’s plan to set up designated settings for persons leaving hospital who require a care home but have a diagnosis of COVID-19.  This was originally outlined in the Adult Social Care Winter plan released in November, and each local authority was required to put in place plans to set up such facilities.  Part of the set up problems was the willingness of the insurance market to provide cover for these settings. 

In a written statement this week (18 January 2021), the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed provision of a temporary government backed indemnity to provide cover for clinical negligence, EL and PL cover in the circumstances where a care provider cannot secure sufficient cover, or cover at all via the commercial insurance market.  The scheme is intended to run only until the end of March 2021 and, as such, has the feeling of a ‘stop gap’ solution.

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Business interruption insurance test case: Supreme Court decision

The Supreme Court judgment today confirms that a wide range of business interruption wordings selected in the case should respond to claims for indemnity relating to the first lockdown which began in late March 2020. In remotely delivering the summary, Lord Hamblen confirmed that the FCA’s and policyholder groups’ appeals were ”substantially allowed”.

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