Beware Latent Liabilities

If you are in the market for acquiring another business, or maybe just buying some business off an existing company then make sure you add to your due diligence the full corporate history, employment history and insurance history of the company you are buying.

Industrial disease claims are on the rise and with the government announcing more support for mesolethomia sufferers, you can easily end up buying a huge liability for claims dating back 40, 50 or more years.

Where a claim for industrial illness or other latent liability is made against a company, the identity of the employers liability insurers must be found that coincides with the period of the employment of the claimant. The problem is that records can be sketchy (even given the new ELTO database) and even if the records are found, the insurer may no longer be in business, or the company may not have had any insurance (as employers liability was not compulsory until 1972). In this case, the claim may rest firmly against the bottom line of the present day company.

Entities acquired over the years may bring their own latent liabilities such as these unless very careful investigations are made before the commitment to buy.

It's a complex situation and one where you can potentially save you (or your successors) a great deal of time and cost by pro-actively confirming these aspects ahead of time.