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

When an employee is injured at work or suffers an illness as a through the fault of the employer there may be a long delay before the disease or injury 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.

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

The Employers' Lliability Tracing Office (ELTO), is an independent not-for-profit body set up by the insurance industry. It collates information on Employers' Lliability (EL) insurance policies in a central Employers' Lliability 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' Lliability 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.

To speak to someone about making a claim against a former employer, please call Quittance on 0800 612 7456 or complete an online callback form.

Claim Injury Compensation 100% No Win, No Fee

Claim now

The Good Solicitor Guide
Rated 4.7 out of 5 (39 reviews)

Ask an expert

If you have any questions, or would like to make a comment, let us know: