18 March 2013Print This Post

DAS unveils post-LASPO ATE products

Bellamy: lack of information and guidance from the government

Leading legal expenses insurer DAS has unveiled three new after-the-event (ATE) products for the post-Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act market.

The policies, available from 1 April, will cover personal injury, clinical negligence and civil litigation respectively. They are named DAS LawAssist, bringing together the two brands.

They are dependent on 51% prospects of success and offer delegated authority in most cases, and fixed pricing from £75.

All the policies pay the policyholder’s solicitor’s disbursements and barrister’s fees – except if the barrister is acting under a conditional fee agreement – and indemnify against liability to pay the premium if the case is lost; or if the claim is withdrawn by agreement between DAS and the claimant’s solicitor; or after a part 36 offer, and it is won but a court awards damages that are less than the offer to settle.

The adverse costs cover extends to costs and disbursements arising from an interim order following a pre-action disclosure or interim application.

Phil Bellamy, group underwriting, ATE and special risks manager at DAS, said: “After April, many of the existing ATE products on the market will no longer be suitable and solicitors will have to reconsider how to protect their clients and run their business.

“The perception that the changes accompanying LASPO will alleviate the need for ATE insurance is altogether wrong. Not everyone takes out before-the-event insurance and the introduction of qualified one-way costs-shifting still means there are significant costs exposures for claimants and having the right ATE insurance will be as important as ever.”

Mr Bellamy said the main challenge in developing the new products has come from “a distinct lack of information and guidance from the Ministry of Justice… [They] have been designed and priced using all the knowledge and understanding we have gained as a leading provider of ATE insurance since 1999.”

By Neil Rose