More than half of the claims submitted by insurers to police authorities under 1886 Riot Damages Act have been declined
A year after the UK riots, insurers have called on the government to reform legislation relating to claims for riot damage after more than half the claims they submitted to police authorities were declined.
The Association of British Insurers, the trade association for insurance companies, has revealed that insurers have settled 98% of household property damage claims, and have either settled or made payment towards 93% of small business claims and 99% of large commercial claims.
But more than half of the claims submitted by insurers to police authorities under the Riot Damages Act of 1886 have been declined.
Those whose properties were damaged or looted during the riots were able to claim compensation from their insurers who, under the Riot Damages Act, passed on the claims to the local police authority. The act also meant that those who did not have insurance could apply for compensation.
But the high number of declined claims has prompted the ABI to say the act needs to be simplified and streamlined to make sure “it delivers for those who need it most”.
Aidan Kerr, head of property at the ABI, said: “The Riot Damages Act is crucial in providing financial compensation to victims of riots who do not have property insurance or are underinsured, but the current lack of a standard approach has caused unacceptable delays and confusion.”
The trade body is calling for the following changes to the act:
• A clear, more modern, legislative definition of a riot is needed so victims in different geographical locations are not treated differently. In some areas, claims were made under the act that were declined by police authorities as they did not see them as constituting a riot.
• The claims process for local police authorities needs to be streamlined and standardised.
• The ABI would also like to see the time period for notification of claims under the Riot Damages Act extended from 14 to 90 days.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “While decisions over individual claims are entirely a matter for police authorities, we have worked closely with affected forces to ensure victims are fully compensated.
“Following the riots last summer the Home Office extended the application period to submit claims from 14 to 42 days and simplified the application procedure.
“We are also in the process of reviewing the Riot Damages Act to ensure it protects the most vulnerable and provides value for money for the taxpayer.”