Home>Fire>Legislation>Government issues guidance on PI insurance scheme for EWS-1 assessors

Government issues guidance on PI insurance scheme for EWS-1 assessors

04 October 2022

THE DEPARTMENT for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has unveiled the detail underpinning the all-new EWS-1 professional indemnity (PI) insurance scheme orchestrated to assist qualified professionals in gaining the degree of cover they need in order to conduct external wall assessments.

External wall system forms, more commonly known as EWS-1 Forms, were developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association to support the valuation process for high-rise residential buildings with cladding.

An EWS-1 Form is not a Government or regulatory requirement. It’s not a building or life safety assessment. The RICS has published guidance on the criteria that should be used to determine whether a building needs an EWS-1 Form. That guidance was last updated at the tail end of January this year.

The EWS-1 Form itself was last amended in mid-March in order to account for the withdrawal of the Consolidated Advice Note, as well as the publication of PAS 9980:2022.

Partnership approach

As reported by Fire Safety Matters back in early July, the Government is partnering with SCOR UK and MGAM Limited in launching the state-backed PI insurance scheme for qualified professionals conducting a fire risk appraisal on the external wall system in order to complete an EWS-1 Form for residential properties over 11 metres in height. The scheme was officially introduced on Monday 26 September,

In order to apply for the scheme, individuals must be named on the scheme’s eligibility register. To be included on that register, applicants must first meet the qualifying requirements of their professional body. Individuals who would like to access the scheme or are unsure of their eligibility should contact their relevant professional body. Registers are managed by the RICS and the Institution of Fire Engineers.

The scheme is available across the UK and is compatible with the Scottish Single Building Assessment in addition to the Welsh Fire Safety Building Passport.

Policies and coverage

Policies are taken out per building and cover any claim that could arise from an EWS-1 assessment (subject to any limitation period). Policies will not need to be renewed on an annual basis. Policy limits, premiums and coverage are determined by building height.

Premiums must be paid within 60 days of the cover being purchased. Assessors are covered from the date the policy is issued. If the premium is not paid within this time, the insurer has the right to cancel this policy by notifying the policyholder in writing.

The insurer will provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice of its intent to cancel. If the premium is paid in full before the notice period expires then the cancellation notice shall be revoked. If not, the policy can be automatically deemed to have been terminated from inception.

Firms can purchase policies. Additional insureds can be added to the policy.

The policy for this scheme is provided on a ‘project’ basis. Once incepted, the policy will respond to a claim resulting from the EWS-1 whenever it’s made (subject to the validity of the EWS-1 Form, policy limits and any limitation period that may apply). For example, if an EWS-1 survey was conducted this year and was found to be incorrect in six years’ time, this policy would respond to that claim.

The policy covers for:

*civil liability for claims arising from the assessment

*Ombudsman’s awards in relation to the survey

*defence costs against civil prosecution in relation to a covered claim

*legal representation costs at civil legal proceedings in connection with a covered claim

Specific conditions

While the policy includes all of the general conditions that would be expected from a PI policy. It also includes some specific conditions.

In terms of Assessment Standards, the survey must be undertaken to the following standards:

*The top storey is more than 11 metres above ground level as calculated in accordance with the Building Regulations 2010 (Approved Document B)

*The BSI’s PAS 9980:2022 and all other applicable laws, regulations, professional guidance notes and industry Codes of Practice. 

Public liability insurance

The insured must maintain public liability insurance covering the work undertaken as part of the survey with a limit of at least £ 1million for every occurrence.

*Further information is available by accessing the MGAM Limited website

Scheme queries (via e-mail)

*MGAM Limited: ews1help@mgamutual.com

*Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: DLUHC.EWS1PII@levellingup.gov.uk

Eligibility queries (via e-mail)

* Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors: contactrics@rics.org

*Institution of Fire Engineers: info@ife.org.uk