In February 2021, the BELRIM Exchange on Employment Practice Liability took place. A webinar open to both members and non-members of BELRIM, in partnership with AIG.

Employment Practice Liability or EPL is the liability that can be incurred as a result of wrongful acts arising from the employment process. This can include wrongful termination of an employment contract, sexual harassment, discrimination, invasion of privacy, emotional distress, violations of wage laws and hour laws,…

Employment Practice Liability or EPL is the liability that can be incurred by an employer in the employment relationships between it and its employees. Employee liability is a part of employment law.

Elke Duden (partner at CMS De Backer) framed the state of affairs on employment trends in Belgium. The legislation is becoming more strict, attention is rising, but fines are currently still relatively low in Belgium (compared to other countries). The second speaker was Joan M. Gilbride (Partner at Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan in their NYC office). Joan elaborated on the United States Employment Law, its background, exposure and trends.

EPL in the USA (and in other Anglo-Saxon countries) is much more of a topic than it currently is in Belgium. There’s a high number of cases and litigation is much more common than it is in our country. Fines and penalties also reach a different level.

When being asked how this would evolve in Europe, the majority of the audience responded that they expect a rise in the number of claims and the height of indemnities in Europe in the next 5 years.

Apart from the legal framework and the approach between Belgium and the USA, the webinar also addressed the possibilities for insurance  against such claims.

Sam Vardy (Howden Insurance Brokers) took a closer look at the EPL insurance policy on an international level. EPL insurance is available both on the International and local Belgian market (although not all Belgian insurers are offering this produc). Sam explained more in details what exactly is insured in such an EPL policy, who the insureds are, what type of loss is insured, and of course what typical exclusions are part of the coverage. He briefly expanded on the current market trends and what evolution can be expected. Needless to say that this insurance coverage is “on the rise”.

The last speaker was Nima Rafiee, Underwriting Manager Financial Lines for Europe at AIG. Nima explained how an insurer looks at this risk and what information they need during the underwriting process. It will come as no surprise that having an exposure in the Unites States (i.e. employees) is considered an important risk factor and parameter in this process.

These four interesting presentations were followed by a panel discussion between the speakers and Xenia Whitacre, Solvay’s Global Corporate Liability Insurance & Prevention manager in the USA, and moderated by Herman Kerremans (CEO at Howden Belgium).

Both the discussion and the participant-polls showed that risk managers are becoming increasingly aware of this risk and that they want to know more about it.

Interview with Bart Smets (Umicore)

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