Implementation of the Duty
The government will continue to engage with stakeholders and government departments to further develop the Protect Duty legislation, which will be introduced to parliament at the earliest opportunity.
The Home Office is already collaborating with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and Pool Reinsurance to develop a new interactive online platform, due to launch publicly this year. The platform will provide a central digital location for advice, guidance, e-learning and other helpful content.
What next for businesses and insurers?
It is likely that anti-terror duties will apply to venues with capacity of 100 people or more. For insurers, this translates to continuing to work with existing and new clients in terrorism risk mitigation.
In a similar fashion to health and safety policies and risk assessments, the new legislation will likely require liability underwriters (particularly for employers’ and public liability) asking additional questions of policyholders. Brokers will also need to reflect on whether the limits they recommend for their clients will be sufficient.
For all businesses operating in the public arena, this development means they should develop or revisit their counter-terrorism measures, paying specific attention to how best to manage and mitigate the identified risks. This will in turn impact decisions businesses make about insurance cover. Preparedness is vital.
Ahead of the detail of the Duty evolving, two aspects will require attention. The first is to ensure the definition of the Duty is clear, comprehensive and meaningful, so to avoid any untinned consequences (including satellite litigation). All actors will need to understand what is required of them to take “reasonably practical steps” to protect the public. The second relates to the need for the government to provide guidance on proportionate measures to ensure there is no undue burden on businesses, particularly SMEs or those staffed by volunteers. The government must remember that organisations already spend significant sums of money each year on mitigation measures against terrorist attacks. As such, there is a balance to be struck between protecting the public from terror attacks and being able to afford to run a business.
Read other items in London Market Brief - February 2022
Related item: Protect Duty consultation: protecting public places from terrorist attacks