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LONDON-The British government is expected to publish soon a document on employers liability in which the government will recommend raising employers' mandatory minimum amount of employers liability coverage.

A spokeswoman for the newly created Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, which is preparing the consultative document, said it will be issued soon, though no date has yet been fixed.

Currently, U.K. employers are required to have at least 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) of employers liability insurance.

Insurers generally anticipate that the government will recommend that the minimum employers liability insurance requirement be increased to 5 million pounds ($7.9 million), according to Mark Hunt, a liability underwriter for Bankside Syndicates Ltd.

Insurers and reinsurers could easily provide this much coverage given the general overcapacity in insurance markets. In early 1995, insurers placed a limit on U.K. employers liability policies of 10 million pounds ($15.9 million) per occurrence as a result of a rising level of claims, Mr. Hunt noted.

However, Mr. Hunt said that from the insurers' perspective the key point will be if the government proposes any increase in liability for employers in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Insurers' market practice for that industry has been to restrict cover to 2 million pounds, and, while additional coverage is available, many employers have been content to buy only 2 million pounds of protection.

If the minimum required limit were to increase, capacity is available and it would mean welcomed extra business for marine insurers, said Mr. Hunt.

Commenting on the anticipated consultation document, the Assn. of British Insurers said it is still assessing its position and examining what kinds of limits insurers would find acceptable.

The government produced an employers liability consultation paper in 1995, but nothing came of it because of a subsequent shift in various government departments.