The role which before-the-event legal expenses insurance might play in improving access to justice is to be examined by a working group set up by the Civil Justice Council. BTE is to become more prominent in the wake of the government’s personal injury reforms, with one leading insurer predicting an increase in both demand and premiums as a result.
Leading legal expenses insurer DAS dipped into the red last year, while its after-the-event insurance business shrank. The Bristol-based company reported that a loss after tax of £5.7m for 2015, compared to a restated profit of £0.5m in 2014.
Legal expenses insurer AmTrust has acquired independent provider Arc Legal Assistance for an undisclosed sum. Meanwhile, fellow insurer ARAG plc yesterday announced a 12% growth in premium under management for 2015.
The role which before-the-event insurance might play in improving access to justice is one of three issues that a new Civil Justice Council working party is to consider. It comes as news emerges that the Civil Procedure Rule Committee is to begin work on slimming down the CPR.
A district judge has decided to halve the costs awarded to claimant solicitors for unreasonable and improper conduct in concealing from the paying party the existence of a previous conditional fee agreement and before-the-event insurance.
DAS UK Holdings has reported record income of £199.6 million in 2013, an increase of 10% over 2012. Profits before tax and reinsurance also grew strongly by 9% to £12.1m. Sales of after-the-event insurance rose 45% on 2012.
Leading legal expenses insurer ARAG has expressed its disappointment with the Law Society survey on before-the-event insurance, and suggested that the drive may be to aid law firms not on insurers’ panels.
Law firms which are not members of legal expenses insurers’ (LEI) panels charge “significantly higher” fees which “dwarf” those of panel firms, a leading LEI provider claimed yesterday.
It is “easy” to imagine a world where legal expenses insurance becomes mandatory in the same way that car insurance is, the Chief Legal Ombudsman claimed today. Adam Sampson said they would also be keeping a close eye on how DBAs develop.
Consumers have a much poorer understanding of motor legal expenses insurance than providers believe – but it is a useful product that helps consumers find specialist solicitors, a review by the Financial Conduct Authority has concluded.
Proportionality is one of the major issues that we find we are dealing with at the end of a matter, particularly in the small-to-medium-value claims. Why was it introduced? It was considered that the then existing system was not working and that a system needed to be put in place which would “promote access to justice at proportionate cost”. In 2009, Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony May said: “Assessments which have to concentrate retrospectively on what the winning party has spent will always risk producing a disproportionate result.”