Property Insurance Explained - What Is Terrorism Cover?

Property Insurance Explained - What Is Terrorism Cover?

Sadly, the frequency, audacity and geographical reach of terrorist attacks has noticeably increased in recent years. Understandably, businesses, property owners, and insurers are concerned with mitigating the risks posed by the increasingly prevalent, damaging and random terrorist attacks. 

Typically, losses, costs, damages and expenses from terrorism are normally excluded from standard business and Landlord Insurance policies. As such, terrorism cover must either be added on as an extension to cover, or purchased as a stand-alone policy. By adding terrorism cover to your policies, you can protect your business or property from this ever-growing set of threats.

The Pool Reinsurance Company

After financial losses sustained during the Troubles in the 1980s, the UK insurance industry felt that it could no longer sustainably cover the damage caused by terrorist acts within a standard Property Insurance policy. In response, the government created the Pool Reinsurance Company (Pool Re), a government-backed insurance pool, in 1993.

Pool Re is a programme where participating insurers pay losses from terrorism up to a certain limit. If losses exceed that threshold, insurers draw from Pool Re’s accumulated funds. If Pool Re cannot cover the losses, the company turns to the government.

Pool Re guarantees that insurers can provide terrorism cover and meet the insured’s claims through underwriting by the government. Several UK insurers are not affiliated with Pool Re, and are thus not able to offer terrorism cover. In these cases, a stand-alone terrorism cover can be arranged. 

Pool Re only applies to England, Wales and Scotland; it does not extend to the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. A separate scheme exists in Northern Ireland where the insured must prove the damage was caused by terrorist action. If successful, the insured can pursue recovery from the government.

What is Terrorism?

The complexity of terrorism insurance usually arises from the discrepancy between the actual definitions of terrorism. In the United Kingdom, both the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993 and the Terrorism Act 2000 have their own statutory definitions of terrorism.

Different insurers also have their own definitions of terrorism, which can lead to confusion and gaps in cover. As a result, some insurers offer terrorism ‘gap’ cover.

As a general rule, insurers define terrorism as an act:

  • That includes but is not limited to the use of force, violence or threats on any person or group of persons.
  • Made by someone working alone or on the behalf of or in connection to any organisation or government.
  • Committed for political, religious, ideological or similar purposes, including the intention to influence any government and or to put any section of the public in fear

Because of a 2003 expansion of cover triggered by the Sept. 2001 attacks on the United States, terrorism insurance is offered on an ‘all risks’ basis.  Effectively, this means cover is provided for any loss which is not specifically excluded. Make sure that you know and understand exactly what your own policy covers and excludes.

Typical Terrorism Cover Exclusions 

Because terrorism cover is offered on an ‘all risks’ basis, policies will generally name common and specific exclusions:

  • Losses sustained from acts of war
  • Losses sustained from digital and cyber risks
  • Losses sustained from strikes, riots and civil unrest
  • Certain properties, including those located on licensed nuclear sites and those insured under marine, aviation or motor policies

What about Liability Insurance?

Liability Risks Terrorism creates numerous liability risks, including public liability and employers’ liability concerns.

Because terrorist acts happen randomly and can cause significant damage, businesses with inadequate public liability cover are particularly vulnerable. If a business is found liable for a third-party injury as a result of a terrorist attack, that business may have to cover huge losses.

Public & Property Owners Liability

Public Liability Insurance (including Property Owners Liability) provides indemnity for your legal liability following injury to a member of the public or third party in the course of your business or property ownership.  For example and explosion at your property causes injury to a passer-by.

This liability generally applies to property located in congested, urban areas or near potential terrorist targets where many people could be affected by a single attack.

Employers Liability

Inadequate employers’ liability is also a concern. Some employers opt for the minimum employers’ liability amount of £5 million, but losses resulting from terrorist action can easily exceed the required minimum if multiple employees are injured whilst at work.

Particularly vulnerable businesses, such as those with a large number of employees in a single urban location should consider purchasing higher levels of Employers Liability cover.

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Insync specializes in cover for small to medium sized business and property owners.  We can help you prepare and manage potential losses due to terrorism.

You can Compare Landlord Insurance Online via our website, alternative book a free review with our one of our expert Gurus who can help you find the right level of cover for your business or property at the right price.

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About the Author

Jon Norman

I’m passionate about family, sport, technology and business.

In fact, I have always been fascinated by business, whether it was running the school tuck-shop or my Saturday job in the local store, I was always looking for ways to improve or view things differently.

I have enjoyed an amazing career fast approaching 25 years in the insurance industry, which has given me real insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by SME businesses in today’s ever-evolving marketplace.

I co-founded Insync Insurance, to offer companies a new way to buy and manage their business insurance. A synergy of digital servicing and personal expertise - utilising the latest technology to enhance relationships, not to replace them.