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But then as more bombs went off, the plight of victims started to make the news. For example Fiona Bruce’s tv documentary on the plight of some of the Sham el-Sheik bombing victims. Then there was further coverage given by Trevor McDonald.

Then suddenly in Gordon Brown’s 2006 budget statement, £1million was provided for a charity fund to be administered by the British Red Cross.  Tessa Jowell later confirmed in August 2006 that this fund was not a compensation fund but only to provide immediate relief for cash strapped victims who are unable to claim  financial assistance from travel insurance policies.

The legal representatives of the Shamel-Sheik victims were astute enough to approach Lord Brennan. The Lord provided his full support and drafted a private members Bill which  successfully completed its second reading in the Housae Of Lords on Friday April 20th 2007.

I view this method as a “back door” approach to changing the government’s attitude towards its citizens. Why does it take the Sham el-Sheik bombings to get real action? The Bali Bombings Victim’s Group did have its own legal representatives but they were obviously not as astute as those of the Sham el-Sheik victims.  I have wrongly thought that its the government’s job to identify these issues.  What I have learnt is that the government does become aware of such issues but fails to act until there has been extensive media coverage.

The Bill’s second reading required a minimum of 100 Lords to attend the hearing. To help bring awareness of this Bill to the whole House of Lords, I decided to start a campaign to write a letter to all 750 members of the House of Lords. This I completed with some assistance from friends.

Only 5% of the Lords responded, the most interesting responses I uploaded onto a BLOG.

Here are the most interesting comments the Lords said during that Hearing:

I believe that the UK Government’s policy is not proactive and is driven by the media.  The government has failed to realise the implications of the post 9/11 era on its citizens travelling abroad.  They also don’t give a damn because of the cost and that only a small number of people are affected.



Lord Brennan:

1. "The United States, Australia, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland and Israel compensate their citizens for the effects of injury or death from terrorism wherever it occurs"


2. "At what cost? Doing the best that one can in an unpredictable state of affairs, having regard to what has happened and what might happen, it is thought that £3 million a year would present an adequate fund to meet the needs of such people."


3. "This state of affairs is a need that we must meet. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office seeks to do it through consular assistance and advice, but not beyond that."


4. "The House of Commons Treasury Committee, in its fourth report of this Session in February, on page 20, paragraph 2, said:


         “We are especially concerned that there is insufficient awareness of exclusions in areas such as terrorist acts ... and in particular by evidence that around ten million United Kingdom holidaymakers in 2006 would not have been covered for medical expenses in the event of terrorist incidents”.


5. "The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has recently published a survey showing, from the results that it has been able to find involving 75 per cent of the market, that 78 per cent of policies have a terrorism exclusion clause, some of which will have a write-back provision for medical expenses—but that is an enormous proportion of the market. Some15 per cent have no exclusion for terrorism and the existence of that 15 per cent illustrates that the risk can be insured, economically and on the open market. That state of affairs identified by the Treasury Committee and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association means that the insurance market should be the basic source for this kind of advice and assistance. The Bill seeks to use insurance to achieve that objective."


6. "Clause 2 puts on a statutory footing that which is now a convention—namely, that our consular officials everywhere in the world should have a statutory duty to advise and assist our citizens in cases of terrorist attack and that the Secretary of State should consult and publish the arrangements reached after such consultation."


7. "She [Rt Hon Tessa Jowell] has been very helpful and co-operative with those who have been involved in seeking to implement these changes. She says that the £1 million that the Government have given is not a compensation scheme—it is temporary relief. In a recent letter, she stated:


8. “I recognise that this is not a compensation scheme and that there is a disparity between the state UK compensation scheme offered to those killed or injured at home, and the financial assistance offered to those affected abroad”."


Lord Sheikh:

9. "Travel insurance is very competitively priced, but the more you add on, the more it will cost. We believe that one-third of travellers who go abroad from the United Kingdom do not effect travel insurance and they therefore expose themselves to considerable risks if things go wrong."


10. "Practice among insurers regarding terrorism varies and can be summarised as follows: first, no cover at all; secondly, only medical expenses and repatriation cover following a terrorist attack; thirdly, medical, repatriation and personal accident cover for terrorism except in cases of nuclear, chemical or biological attacks; fourthly, personal accident medical expenses sections which apply unless people travel to a country or specific area where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised them not to go."


11. "I add a note of warning that, if consideration is given to extend the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme to pay for terrorism overseas, there could be a demand that the scheme should be extended further to pay for victims of all violent crimes overseas."


Baroness Noakes:

12. "The Bill allows us to debate the nature of the relationship between citizens and the state in today’s world and, more specifically, what citizens can expect from their state."


13 "There should also be a debate on whether there should be an obligation on those who travel abroad to carry proper insurance. "


Lord Davies of Oldham:


14. "..should we treat victims of terrorism differently from victims of other violent crime? I am afraid that there are victims of horrific, life-changing crime committed overseas and the significance of its impact on them and their families is as bad as terrorist incidents. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority does not treat victims of terrorism differently from victims of other violent crime committed within the UK, nor does the separate Northern Ireland scheme. They are treated equally. Therefore, to do so overseas would mean taking a different approach and we are not confident that that would be the right decision."


15. "....we must define “British”, “injury” and “terrorism”"


16. "It is essential that when people choose travel insurance they understand exactly what they are covered for. Travel insuranceis designed to provide immediate assistance to individuals when travelling abroad. It is not designed to compensate them for loss or suffering, although some policies pay out for some personal injuries."


17.  "We do not believe that there is a market failure which warrants government intervention to compel insurers to provide cover or to set up the Government as an insurer of last resort. That is not the position that confronts us."


18. "Clause 5 of the Bill requires that sums paid by the compensation scheme following injury or loss resulting from an act of terrorism overseas take into account an insurance payment made to the injured person in respect of that injury or loss. However, as I have noted, travel insurance is designed to provide immediate assistance, not to provide compensation for long-term suffering and loss. Such a clause might well act as a disincentive to individuals to take out terrorism insurance cover and there would be the danger that insurance cover, if stretched too far, might be unattractive because of the inevitable rise in premiums. "