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Riots: compo delays

While insurers say that they reacted quickly to help customers hit by last August’s riots, the riot compensation scheme has failed too many Londoners. That is according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers) which was speaking to the London Assembly. With latest figures showing that just over half of the 3,487 claims made by Londoners to the Metropolitan Police for compensation for property damage sustained in the riots have either been rejected or discontinued, the ABI is urging the Government to overhaul the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, under which police authorities are required to pay compensation to those affected. 



Appearing before the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee, Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance, said: “Insurers reacted quickly to help thousands of Londoners hit by last August’s riots. In one case, within one week of the riots an insurer had made an initial payment of £100,000 to their customer in south London to enable them to hire temporary trading premises to resume trading and stay in business. Overall, insurers expect to pay out £200 million in respect of riot damage to homes, businesses and vehicles.” 


“Yet too many people without insurance, or who are under-insured, have and continue to face unacceptable delays and bureaucracy in claiming the compensation they are entitled to from the police authorities. This compounds their distress and puts them under even more financial pressure. 


“Londoners need and deserve a much more streamlined and standardised compensation process. A more effective compensation process will also ensure that insurance to cover riot damage remains widely available in the capital. We urge the Government to review and update the Riot (Damages) Act to ensure that it meets to needs of modern day London.”


John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee said: “It’s clear that in the days and months after the riots many traders struggled to get the cash to rebuild their businesses. Some were waiting on the insurance companies and some on the police to pay out through the Riots Damages Act. For many people – left confused and traumatised by the sudden loss of their businesses – the process was simply too complex. Our report will look at how this process can be streamlined to help get traders back on their feet quickly should similar events occur again.”


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