Concerns have been raised with the BAR about the activities of the ‘Yellow Coats’ in France (and potentially civil unrest in other countries) and the possible implication of such actions on insurances covering vehicles and crew. The BAR have in turn raised those concerns with our professional advisors and have received the following advice;

At first glance, there may appear to be some crossover between ‘riot’ and ‘terrorism’, however in insurance terms the two issues can be differentiated.  A terrorist attack must be ‘motivated by racial or political means or with the intention of overthrowing the government’, but, generally speaking, this is distinct from a ‘riot’ with a political/governmental motive. ‘Riot and civil commotion’ typically lacks planning and is a spontaneous reaction to a provocation, i.e. police involvement during a protest. Individuals involved in such an event, typically, have not been involved in any detailed planning in advance. Where attacks involve multiple individuals, however, there is usually a common goal based on a plan made in advance. Insurers would therefore argue that the two perils, being ‘Terrorism’ and ‘Riot and civil commotion’, are quite distinct.

That said, Terrorism is a general exclusion to most if not all Motor Insurance policies provided; ‘Riot and civil commotion’ however, is approached differently by a panel of insurers.  Generally, different Insurers have different appetites for being helpful in defining the proximate cause of a claim.  The perils clearly cross over slightly and one could probably argue an act falls mainly into one category but has the potential to be considered in either camp.

Motor Insurance policy wordings have been reviewed and the cover is, generally, maintained for ‘Riots and Civil Commotion’ throughout the Territorial Limits (usually Great Britain, Isle of Man and European Union, Switzerland, etc.), except Northern Ireland, where that cover is excluded.

In terms of Employers Liability coverage, there is usually no terrorism exclusion in place, so the classification would not matter in such a situation and with regards to Customer Goods’ cover, again there is usually coverage for goods in transit, even if terrorist related and exclusions of terrorism are generally applied to long-term storage only under any such policy.

Given the differences that will undoubtedly exist between the various insurers involved, it would be our recommendation that the BAR suggests to members that they speak directly with their insurance broker to obtain confirmation of the cover in place under their own specific policies.