Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts

We look at some of the most common questions posed to our underwriters.

Q: When covering a development site, can you cover a utilities service provider?

A: Yes; we can on request. Typically, we cover gas and electricity providers – either via an extension of cover to the developer’s own policy, or a stand-alone policy issued specifically for the service provider directly.

Solicitors acting for statutory service providers are increasingly requesting cover for their client against losses that would arise if the title to the property does not contain the required right of way, or the right which has been granted is insufficient. Consequently, this means that the title of the property is defective and would therefore affect the route of the proposed services, including not only the development site, but also adjoining land.

The most common title defect is where there is a lack of a legal easement to install services under adjoining land in unknown ownership; for example, a verge between the site boundary and the public highway. Other examples are where the title(s) are affected by outstanding rights and easements in favour of third parties (rights of way, mining rights etc) which if exercised in the future, could affect the services installed; or where the route of the services may be affected by restrictive covenants breached by the works and proposed use. In all cases, cover relates to the services specifically provided to the developer’s site, not the overall network.

Our Access and Services policy covers abortive or contracted costs directly relating to the installation of the services, additional costs to dismantle the services and reinstate the surface of the land to its former condition, costs to acquire additional land, easements or wayleave agreements for a revised, agreed route for the services, and the cost of relocating the services.

While it is likely the legal dispute would be between the developer and relevant third party claimant, the service provider is also covered against any legal defence costs, damages, compensation and costs awarded against them by a Court or Tribunal.