Precise causes and factors involved in the incident have not yet been determined and this is unlikely to happen until after the final Major Incident Investigation Board (MIIB) report is published. In the meantime, we set-up the Joint Claims Committee (JCC) in March 2006 to oversee the management of the claims received from local residents, local businesses and other insurance companies.
Most of those affected have been able to recover their losses from their own household or business insurance. However, we recognise that not everyone has insurance and even if they do, some losses and hardships are not covered by insurance.
Settling all personal injury claims
In October 2006, we announced our intention to settle all personal injury claims in good faith, as if liability were not an issue. We are making good progress in doing this.
Resolving all other non-personal injury claims
HOSL welcomed the assistance provided on 30 October 2006 by Senior Master Turner of the High Court in facilitating a structured timetable for negotiating and settling claims relating to the Buncefield incident. We continue to work with all parties involved to ensure the timeframes set out by the Senior Master during the hearing are met.
We have been actively exploring ways in which all other non-personal injury claims can be settled. The JCC has established a system for assessing, on a case-by-case basis, claims from people who are experiencing particular hardship as a result of the incident, pending determination of legal liability. HOSL has sent questionnaires to individuals and solicitors to find out the nature of their losses and their individual circumstances. A guidance note is available to explain the claims process and our loss adjustors have representatives available to provide assistance for people completing the questionnaires.
We have made significant progress, with agreement now having been reached to settle approximately 50% of all claims.
We recommend claimants include a sensible and pragmatic amount of information to demonstrate what they have lost and its value when substituting their claims either direct to our loss adjusters or via their own solicitors to prevent any unnecessary delay in settlement.
Assisting people suffering from psychological or physical injuries
Those experiencing psychological or physical injuries are being offered rehabilitation treatment free of charge if it is considered appropriate upon medical assessment. Psychological treatment is provided through a private service that has an extensive network of chartered clinical psychologists, who will carry out medical assessments in respect of trauma-related conditions. For physical injuries, a similar rehabilitation service is being provided.
Various legal proceedings are now underway, but HOSL remains committed to negotiating settlement of claims in a constructive manner, and wishes to avoid any delays caused by legal proceedings.
As yet, legal liability for the incident has not been established and all of the above actions have been taken on without a prejudice basis and without admission of liability.