A short piece just to pass on two quite different but very pertinent updates on business interruption both of which were published on Friday 22 January. This new material should be essential reading for anyone who has been following the BII debate since the beginning of coronavirus-related restrictions last March.
First is the FCA’s five page “Dear CEO” letter which describes: its next steps in finalising the legal declarations needed to give effect to the Supreme Court’s decision, summarises planned regulatory guidance and outlines its expectations of insurers as regards policyholder communications and in progressing outstanding claims. It is a carefully-drafted communication which would merit reading closely.
On 15 January 2021, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published the outcome of its inquiry into the issue of healthy ageing. The inquiry was first commissioned following recognition that, whilst lifespans in the UK have increased in recent times, the period for which people remain healthy has not kept pace. The result is an increased duration of ill health in later life, which then places an increased burden on public health services, not to mention the effect on individuals’ wellbeing.
Today’s written statement from the Lord Chancellor indicates that the whiplash reform programme is being delayed by a further month, with implementation now expected in May 2021. His statement begins “The Government remains firmly committed to ….” which, for me, set up expectation of a ‘but’ or ‘however’ later in the piece. Predictably, that comes a few paragraphs in when he says “I do however acknowledge the challenges experienced by all this year in the face of the pandemic.” The Minister offers this, and the need for industry preparedness, as reasons for allowing a delay of a month – “an additional short period of time” – to the implementation plan.
The statement refers to work with the Civil Procedure Rules [sic] Committee and to the “excellent progress” made by the MIB in building the Official Injury Claim platform. It concludes with a confirmation that the reforms remain “a key government priority” and indicates that the one month delay is “a sensible and pragmatic approach to take in order to achieve successful and effective implementation.”
Whether it is realistic to describe undelivered policy proposals dating back to autumn 2015 in such terms may be arguable, but it seems less open to dispute that all parts of the industry would be in a far better position to prepare sensibly, pragmatically, successfully and effectively for these reforms, had the Minister actually released finalised rules and protocols today rather than issuing yet another statement seeking to explain away the latest delay.