Pressure grows on insurer over Hillsborough

Critics say RSA should be compelled to hand over documents relating to stadium disaster

One of Britain's biggest insurance companies is being urged to reveal Hillsborough's "final secrets", after it refused to hand over evidence to the inquiry into the disaster.

RSA, which acted as Sheffield Wednesday's insurer at the time of the tragedy, rejected the Hillsborough Independent Panel's repeated requests to open files relating to events before, during and after the fatal crush on 15 April 1989.

The panel report last month laid bare police attempts to push the blame for the disaster, which claimed 96 lives, on to Liverpool fans. The devastating exposure was assisted by almost half a million documents provided by parties including public bodies and bereaved families.

But the report revealed that one organisation had refused to co-operate fully – RSA, which, as Sun Alliance, insured the owner of the stadium. It stated: "The Royal Sun Alliance Insurance Company refused to waive its entitlement to privilege, thus denying the panel access to its material …. Strenuous efforts were made to persuade the company to allow the panel confidential access to the relevant material, but it maintained its refusal. This is a matter of considerable regret to the panel."

Critics have said that the refusal will prevent disclosure of discussions between authorities, including the police, the Football Association and the club, over the causes of the disaster and the extent of the club's liability. It has emerged that Sheffield Wednesday did not have a safety certificate for the stadium in 1989.

RSA, which has more than 1,000 employees in Liverpool, is facing mounting pressure, including demands for a boycott of its products. The company said it provided some information, but insisted it does not release "legally privileged" materials.

Andy Burnham, the Labour MP who was deeply involved in the campaign to get to the truth, last night claimed that RSA should be forced to disclose all its information if new inquests are ordered for the victims. "There is a moral obligation on RSA to provide that information, and they need to answer the question of why a ground with no safety certificate was insured. It is essential that this company is forced to reveal everything that it knows at any inquest."

Another Labour MP, Maria Eagle, said the RSA decision was "ill-advised". She added: "It just raises the suspicion that they have something to hide."

Kenny Derbyshire, who chairs the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said the group would push for full disclosure. "It makes you wonder how many other documents might be out there that have been withheld," he said.

Sun Alliance was among a group of insurers who insured the organisations involved in Hillsborough, including the police, the club and the local council.

In 1996, insurers paid £1.2m in compensation to 14 police officers who claimed they had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing the disaster. RSA was a party to Sheffield Wednesday's decision to contribute £1.5m to compensation payments for the injured and bereaved families.

A spokeswoman for RSA said last night: "We willingly co-operated with the panel, disclosing all relevant materials. It is not our practice to release legally privileged materials. None of the documents would have impacted the outcome of the report or any subsequent investigation."

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform