Claims against local authorities cost an estimated£600m in 1997 and are forecasted to rises to over£1bn by 2003. Losses affect a range of council services including highway claims costing over£75m in the last recorded year, a doubling of the cost of arson attacks against schools reaching£55m in 1996, and accidents at work costing a larger authority up to£10m a year.
The guide outlines the key pieces of information required when submitting a claim. Claims information is listed for employers liability, public liability, officials indemnity/professional negligence, libel and slander, and additional cover areas. Claims advice for police and fire authorities is also contained with the guide.
The guide forms part of Zurich Municipal's continuous programme of adding value to claims services. Other initiatives include a recently introduced solicitors cost scheme.
'An increasingly litigious society and incessant press attention make an effective claims service more important than ever. Mismanagement of claims can have disatrous public relations and financial consequences for an authority.
'The wealth of experience held by our dedicated public sector claim handlers has enabled us to add to the quality of our service meeting the changing needs of local government. When choosing a claims handler, authorities should closely compare the level and standard of service on offer to ensure they receive the best value service.'
Ray Barber, risk manager and insurance manager, at West Sussex CC:
'I would like to congratulate Zurich Municipal on their guide to early claims reporting. It contains extremely expert yet practical advice for local government on ensuring claims are dealt with quickly and effectively. We will be adopting and incorporating the guide within the authority's own Insurance Guide as our claims procedure.'