My employer went bust - how can you find their insurer?

When an employee is injured or is exposed to harmful substances at work, there may be a long delay before the injury or exposure begins to cause health problems.

During that time the claimant's employer may cease to trade or change its trading name - making it difficult to establish who the insurer was at the time of the original injury.

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Work injury claims

Work-related illness claims

How can a claimant trace his former employer's insurer?

The Employers' Liability Tracing Office (ELTO), is an independent not-for-profit body set up by the insurance industry. It collates information on Employers' Liability (EL) insurance policies in a central Employers' Liability Database (ELD) in order that potential claimants may find their employer's EL insurer when they have suffered injury or disease.

Claimants and their representatives can access this database through an online enquiry facility using the employer's ERN. This search is designed to produce details that help to continue further investigation with the appropriate insurers.

How is the Employers' Liability Database compiled?

Any organisation - including businesses, churches, charities and community groups - which pays any employee at or above £503 per month, is issued with an Employers Reference Number (ERN).

ERNs are unique and no single ERN is used by more than one employer.

They are the reference numbers used for the organisations' employees' income tax and national insurance contributions and also commonly referred to as 'Employee PAYE Reference'.

Every organisation must provide its ERN to its EL insurer, who then submits this number to the ELTO for inclusion on the EL database. Failure to inform the insurer of the ERN may invalidate the policy.

This information is securely stored within ELTO and used only for matching an employee's search to the insurance policy that covers the period of injury or illness.

How can a claimant find the organisation's ERN?

All mandatory documents such as P45, P60, P11D and most payslips carry the ERN.

Its format normally starts with three numbers (representing the tax office whose catchment area the employer falls into) followed by a forward slash and then combination of letters and numbers, for example 083/WY12345.
Some organisations have more than one ERN, usually relating to subsidiary companies.

How can claimants contact ELTO?

Individuals who want to trace EL insurer details can do so by visiting

Although claimants are able to trace the insurer should they ever need to make a claim, the results from the search of the ELD are not proof of insurance, or proof of liability.

Employers' liability claims claims

Work accident claims, or employers' liability claims, differ from other types of claim. Click on the icons below to read more about claiming:

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