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Riot Bill: the latest

There’s some news on the draft Riot Compensation Bill, which we last wrote about back in September 2014. It seems that the government has responded to criticisms that its previous proposals would have excluded all but the smallest businesses from this safety net.

The current legislation dates from 1886 and was shown to be completely outdated following the riots of the summer of 2011. The initial proposals however were widely criticised because they placed a limit of £2 million turnover for businesses making a claim against the police if they suffered damage during a riot.

Earlier this month, the Home Office published its response to the consultation on the reform of the Act. The key change to the proposals is that there would now be a £1 million per claim limit for riot claims, while there would no longer be a limit on the size of company which could claim.

The major aspects of the proposal include:

  • allowing higher value settlements by providing ‘new for old’ replacements for destroyed or damaged goods.
  • introducing a cap on the amount of money that can be paid out in any single claim, thereby reducing the burden on the taxpayer.
  • increasing the time limit in which people can make claims applications.
  • allowing people to submit claims electronically, thereby speeding up and simplifying the process.
  • providing limited cover for motor vehicles for the first time

However, there is still concern over the fact that police and crime commissioners will decide if a disturbance is officially a riot, as they are also liable for the cost of damage. The Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association have both said that this constitutes a significant conflict of interest.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

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