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 against their client’s losses arising from the insured title defect, which affects the installation and supply of services to the site. The insured title defect typically affects the route of the proposed services, and includes not only the development site, but also adjoining land.

The most common title defect where this cover is requested is under our Services policies, 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.

In the event of a covered claim affecting the services to the site, the insured losses include 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.