MGAM, an Acrisure partner, SCOR, Aon and the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), today announce that the new government-backed professional liability (PI) insurance scheme for EWS1 assessors is now available for purchase, effective immediately.
Property experts will be able to access program details as well as purchase options here.
The scheme, originally announced in June 2022is launched in response to the significant shortage of insurance companies willing to provide PI cover to companies undertaking exterior wall system assessments, commonly referred to as “EWS1 forms”, in mid-rise and high-rise residential buildings. The scheme is expected to run for five years, after which it is expected that insurers will withdraw from the market, removing the requirement for a state-backed scheme.
The EWS1 forms have been developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association to support the valuation process for clad high-rise residential buildings.
Aon is acting as the government’s insurance advisor for the plan.
Jason Anthony, CEO of MGAM Limited, said: “Having won the government tender to develop this PI system for EWS1 assessors in conjunction with SCOR and DLUHC, we have made excellent progress in ensuring that the product is ready for the market. The real estate market has stalled for some time due to this protection gap and it is our full intention that this program will solve this problem, allowing home buyers to obtain the certification necessary to obtain a mortgage.
Paul Scully, Minister for DLUHC, said: ‘For too long tenants of high-rise buildings have been stuck in limbo, unable to secure mortgages on their properties, sell and take the next step . It is for these tenants that we launched today this new compensation scheme and I thank our partners for contributing to its realization. This program will give EWS1 appraisers the confidence to exercise their professional judgement, accelerate apartment sales and enable lenders to lend with confidence. »
Romain Launay, CEO Specialty Insurance of SCOR P&C, said: “SCOR is delighted that professional indemnity cover for EWS1 appraisals will soon be available, allowing the necessary fire safety appraisals to be carried out and enabling the purchase, sale or the re-mortgage of homes, which will free up a vital segment of the real estate market. The impacts of this will be widely felt and SCOR is proud to partner with the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities and MGAM to deliver this closing of the protection gap for the ultimate benefit of society.
Julie Page, CEO of Aon UK Ltd, said: “We were delighted to be approached by the Department for Leveling Up, Housing & Communities to provide consultancy services for the development of the PI scheme. Building this sustainable solution fills an important protection gap in the market, and this collaborative effort, with MGAM and SCOR, shows the power of public-private partnerships. The solution itself will also help ease the pressure on a significant proportion of affected tenants who are currently unable to sell or re-mortgage their properties – and allows us to play a part in addressing the issues affecting the lives of people.
An EWS1 form is not a government or regulatory requirement, nor a building or life safety assessment. Guidelines published by RICS on the criteria to be used to determine whether a building needs an EWS1 form, which was last updated on 28 January 2022 (RICS, 2022).