The riots convulsing London could cost taxpayers over £100 million, or $162 million, after the Metropolitan Police pick up the insurance tab, the Guardian reported.
Looters have done immense damage to homes and businesses across the city, and people had already begun contacting insurance companies to try and recover damages on Tuesday, the Guardian reported. The Riots (Damages) Act 1886, specifies that police authorities must compensate the victims of people "riotously and tumultuously assembled," setting a precedent for the Metropolitan Police to shoulder the financial responsibility.
"No specific fund is maintained by the Metropolitan Police Authority to cover claims against such contingencies but we maintain general reserves to cover unexpected events," a spokesman told the Guardian. "Such risks cannot be insured against."
Insurance companies seemed to be prepared for an onslaught of new claims, and looked to the safety net of the Metropolitan Police as a means to help cover the payments.
"The good news for some of the smaller retail units that have been damaged is that even if they do not have a property insurance policy they may be able to recover the value of any damage sustained because of the rioting directly from the police," said Stuart White, a partner at London law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.
Businesses across London have temporarily shuttered their doors and removed products and money from the premises in an effort to avert looting. White, the attorney, said businesses losing money from being forced to shut down wouldn't be covered under the Riot Act.
"The compensation under the act will not normally extend to the financial losses of the business while it is unable to trade," White said. "Trading losses are likely to be recoverable only by businesses with business interruption insurance."