How to trace an employers insurer at the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office


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If you are injured at work or suffer an illness as a result of your employers negligence, there can be a delay before the illness or injury begins to have an effect on your day to day life.

During that delay in time the employer could have ceased trading or changed their trading name, which can make it difficult to identify who their insurer was at the time of the injury so that you can make a compensation claim.

Below we will take you through the process of tracing a former employer’s insurance company so you can pursue a claim for an accident at work or industrial disease.

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How to trace your former employer’s insurance company

In situations where it is difficult to establish which insurance company was providing cover for your employer at the time of your accident or illness, then we would need to contact the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO).

The ELTO is an independent body set up by the insurance industry to collate a central database of Employers’ Liability policies – making it easier for Claimant’s to find who their employer’s policy was with at the time of the incident.

Claimants and their legal representatives can use the online enquiry function to access the database and search details to help continue further investigation with the right insurer. To carry out a search you will need your employer’s ERN.

How to find an employers ERN

ERN stands for Employers Reference Number, and it should be included on all mandatory employer – employee documents such as a P45, P60 and P11D – as well as your payslips.

An ERN will usually start with three numbers – which represent which tax office the company is registered to – and then a forward slash followed by a combination of letters and numbers.

Note: some company’s have more than one ERN, which tend to relate to subsidiary companies.

How is the ELTO database complied?

All organisations which pay employees above £503 per month, including businesses, community groups, charities and churches is given a unique ERN.

The ERN is the reference number that is used for their income tax and national insurance payments – which is also sometimes referred to as an Employee PAYE Reference.

When taking out an Employers’ Liability insurance policy, all employers must provide the ERN to their insurer, who is then required to submit the ERN to the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office to be included on their database. If the employer does not provide their ERN then their policy may be invalidated.

All the information you need in order to pursue a claim is therefore stored securely in the ELTO database.

How Claimants can contant ELTO

If you want to trace an Employers’ Liability insurer for a specific date you can visit to begin the process.

This will enable you to trace the appropriate insurance company to pursue a claim, but be aware that the search results are not proof of insurance at that time and are not proof of liability.

If you think you need to speak to someone about your claim first, get in touch with CL Legal now:

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