Our client thought nothing of submitting a new formal claim for noise induced hearing loss brought by an employee who worked for Alpha Engineering, a company that they had acquired in the 1990s.

The employee had joined the company in 1963 and worked for the majority of his working life. In order to handle a claim of this nature it is vital to recover the insurance history so that all insurance companies can be notified of the claim.

D E Ford began that time consuming and lengthy process by asking the client – did you retain any documentation from the acquisition of the previous company? The answer – I very much doubt that. A search of the government employers liability database didn’t reveal any matches either.

By this time we had only managed to piece together a very small portion of the insurance history for the old company and time was running out.

We asked the client again – do you have any idea who the previous Insurance broker was? Who was the previous Accountant? Is there any record of insurances noted within the finance – No idea was the answer. We encouraged the client to keep looking for any shred of evidence that would help us locate the previous insurers.

It was time to face the client with the reality that they would be paying for the most of the damages and solicitors costs.

Then out of the blue came the news that someone had been into the dusty attic of the old company, Alpha Engineering and had found a very old accounts ledger but all they had was a number next to a ledger entry headed Insurance and three letters – fortunately for the client given the depth of knowledge and experience of some of D E Ford’s longest serving employees, we knew right away who the Insurer was. Thank goodness they were able to confirm cover for some 26 years which otherwise we had been unable to trace.

The moral of the tale is never throw anything away. It goes to show the importance of retaining documentation from previous acquisitions as without a complete insurance history, liability for all costs stops with the employer.

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