United Kingdom (UK) Employers Liability Insurance - Market Dynamics and Opportunities 2020

United Kingdom (UK) Employers Liability Insurance - Market Dynamics and Opportunities 2020


GWP in the employers’ liability market fell to £1,108m in 2019, although insurers managed to retain strong profits as claims costs remained low. This market is more closely aligned to developments in the UK economy compared to other insurance lines. This is problematic for the sector, as the UK is likely headed towards a recession following the severe impact of COVID-19, which brought the economy to a standstill for much of 2020 and continuing into 2021. The unemployment rate in the UK is set to soar as government support such as the furlough scheme comes to an end. The market is directly reliant on the number of businesses and employees in the UK, so this will have a negative impact on premiums. Insurers may have the ability to raise premiums given the significant cuts seen in 2020, and the curtailing of claims in recent years means they may be able to endure a tough 2021.

This report tracks the health and shape of the employers’ liability market - taking into account market size, profitability, performance ratios, and the claims environment. The UK’s economic growth, business landscape, COVID-19, and the post-Brexit environment are all taken into consideration to build a full picture of this space. Key announcements, shifts in the market, and likely future changes are analyzed for impact across all relevant stakeholders.


  • The employers’ liability market contracted by 12.1% in 2019, with GWP falling to £1,108m. GWP is expected to have declined to £1,071m in 2020.
  • The proportion of non-fatal injuries in the workplace fell by 15.3% between 2013-14 and 2019-20, leading to fewer claims being made.
  • AXA is the largest employers’ liability insurer for SMEs in the UK, accounting for 8.2% of the market.
  • The market is expected to contract by a further 0.3% in 2021, generating £1,068m in GWP before stabilizing to reach £1,134.65m by 2024.
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  • Executive Summary
    • The employers' liability market is dependent on the UK economy
    • Key findings
    • Critical success factors
  • Market Dynamics
    • Employers' liability GWP declined in 2019, but strong underwriting profit marked a positive year for insurers
      • Table Figure 1: The employers' liability insurance market saw a sharp decline in GWP in 2019
      • COVID-19 has been detrimental to the employers' liability market
      • At the start of 2020 there were over 1.4 million employing businesses in the UK
        • Table Figure 2: Growth in the number of UK businesses slowed in 2020 - but the worst is yet to come
        • Table The number of employing private sector businesses and employment in the UK, 2014-20
      • Larger business numbers rose at a higher rate amid the pandemic
        • Table The number of private sector businesses by number of employees, 2014-20
      • The Midlands saw the largest growth in the number of employing businesses at the start of 2020
        • Table Figure 3: In 2020, growth in the number of UK businesses was mainly driven by the Midlands
      • Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles is the largest industry in the UK
        • Table The number of private sector employees and businesses by industry, 2019-20
    • Employers' liability has maintained strong underwriting profit
      • Table Figure 4: The employers' liability market maintained strong profit in 2019 despite a slight drop off
      • Table Employers' liability ratios, 2015-19
    • Claims numbers continue to fall post-LASPO
      • Table The total number of personal injury claims in the employers' liability market, 2010-20
      • Table Figure 5: The number of recorded claims has seen a long-term decline, but settlements rose in 2019-20
      • Table Figure 6: Average claims cost has remained steady in recent years
      • Workplace injuries continue to fall as safety standards improve
        • Table Figure 7: The number of non-fatal workplace injuries is in long-term decline
        • Table Total number of fatalities and injuries in the workplace, 2013-20p
    • The Civil Liability Act has been delayed again - this time due to COVID-19
      • Proposed changes to the Ogden rate will drive claims cost in the employers' liability market
  • Competitor Dynamics
    • Leading general liability insurers saw swings in 2019 market shares
      • Table Figure 8: Zurich led the market in 2019 despite Aviva's surge
      • Table Leading UK general liability insurers by GWP (£000s), 2018-19
      • AXA and Aviva lead the way in the SME employers' liability market
        • Table Figure 9: AXA is the most popular employers' liability provider among SMEs
      • Employers' liability saw high levels of switching and cancellations in 2020, influenced by COVID-19
        • Table Figure 10: Over half of respondents who switched employers' liability provider in 2020 had COVID-19 in mind
      • Leading players offer similar products, with little clarity on COVID-19 inclusion
  • The Market Going Forward
    • Employers' liability GWP is forecast to continue its decline as the pandemic's impact will be felt
      • Table Employers' liability market GWP forecasts, 2019-24f
      • Table Figure 11: Growth in the employers' liability market will be hit by COVID-19 and Brexit
    • A number of factors will influence growth in the market
      • The move towards working from home changes risk for employers
      • The nature of risks will change
      • COVID-19 disruption could spark further growth in the expanding gig economy
  • Appendix
    • Abbreviations and acronyms
    • Definitions
      • SME
    • Methodology
      • UK Top 20 General Insurance Competitor Analytics methodology
      • GlobalData's UK SME Insurance Survey
      • Forecasting methodology
        • Table Figure 12: GlobalData's forecasting model
    • Further reading
  • About GlobalData
  • Contact Us

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