The Government has made the decision to close the state-backed External Wall System (EWS1) Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Scheme on 30 October 2023.
The Scheme was intended to be a short-term solution for assessors who were unable to purchase suitable professional indemnity insurance to conduct EWS1 surveys. The lack of appropriate insurance cover meant that EWS1 forms were difficult to obtain, and leaseholders in turn could not re-mortgage, buy, or sell their homes without an EWS1 form.
Government action has helped to address this market failure. The relevance of EWS1 forms is declining as wider Government interventions have taken effect that support lenders to use other forms of documentation to support commercial lending decisions. Our research shows insurers are offering professional indemnity insurance for EWS1 work and that assessors can access suitable insurance from the open market at a competitive premium and with a wider scope of coverage. The market has responded to the protection gap the Government was looking to address, which removes the requirement for the Government backed Scheme and so providing it is no longer a good use of public funds.
Policies sold under the Scheme to date will continue to be insured under the original terms. Please note that any pre-existing quotes obtained up to 30 October remain active for their respective 30-day validity period and can be retrieved using the quote reference.
For more information, please contact MGAM at EWS1help@MGAMutual.com.
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EWS1 Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Scheme
HM Government is committed to unblocking the market for existing and prospective leaseholders. It is for this reason the Government is taking the unprecedented step of setting up a professional indemnity insurance scheme for building assessors to ensure that appropriate insurance cover is available and to give assessors greater confidence to exercise their professional judgement.
What is EWS1?
The EWS1 form is a set way for a building owner to confirm to valuers and lenders that an external wall system (EWS) or attachments, such as a balcony, on buildings containing flats has been assessed by a suitable expert for likelihood of proportionate remediation to address fire safety risk.
The form was created to ensure residential buildings over 18m tall can be assessed for safety to allow lenders to offer mortgages. It is not a life safety certificate. It should not be taken as confirmation that other works relating to fire safety in other parts of the building are not required.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published proportionate guidance for valuers to help decide whether a particular building should need an EWS1 form. Not every building will require an EWS1 form. You should always have a rationale to justify the request for the EWS1 form.
For more information on EWS1, please click here.