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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Who is eligible for the PII scheme?
To be eligible to apply for coverage under the scheme, the assessors that are to be insured to carry out the EWS1 assessment must be listed on the scheme eligibility registers. The registers are managed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE).
To be included on the registers, applicants must meet one of the following qualifying requirements:
For buildings of 11 to 18 meters in height
Completion of the RICS EWS Assessment Training Programme and membership of either RICS or an equivalent professional membership body.
For more information about the RICS EWS Assessment Training Programme, including who is eligible to apply for the programme and how to apply, please click here.
For buildings above 18 meters in height
A member of the Institution of Fire Engineers with Chartered or Incorporated Engineer status.
Such members can also assess buildings of 11 to 18 meters under the scheme.
For queries relating to the RICS EWS Assessment Training Programme and eligibility, please contact RICS on:
Call: +44 (0)2476 868 555
For queries relating to eligibility of IFE members, please contact:
Call: +44 (0)1789 261 463