15 February 2013Print This Post

Law Society comes out swinging at Aviva

Scott-Moncrieff: insurers should sacrifice some of their mighty profits

The Law Society has poured scorn on the call by Aviva to require personal injury claimants to seek compensation directly from the ‘at fault’ insurer and cut out solicitors.

President Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said: “Who do you trust to give you a C4040-121 fair deal? A lawyer working for you, or an insurer working for the person or company in the wrong, whose main interest is minimising what they pay you?

“Would you seriously trust the other side’s insurer to give you a fair deal?”

She said the society’s response to the Ministry of Justice’s whiplash consultation will argue that any increase in the small claims limit is inappropriate, but that should the government deem an increase to be required, it should be restricted to an inflation increase.

Ms Scott-Moncrieff added: “Some in the insurance industry already go directly to victims of accidents immediately after the accident to get them to sign away their rights for a cheque that is unlikely to have any relationship to what they’re really entitled to. [Aviva’s] proposal seeks to take that a step further.

“You need someone independent to make sure that you get what the law entitles you to have. It appears that Aviva want to strip us all of our rights so they can make more profits. The fact is that insurers could cut premiums now if they were willing to sacrifice some of their mighty profits and bumper dividends to their shareholders.”

Diane Burleigh, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, said that “after checking it wasn’t April Fool’s day I was astounded at Aviva’s claims. Inadvertent or not, this
140-420 attempt to persuade government to legislate to prevent people seeking and obtaining legal advice must be an interference with the rule of law.”

She continued: “Insurers are not independent parties and will deal with their claims in a way that saves them money. The public has little faith in the financial, insurance and other business sectors after recent scandals. Having a legal representative act on behalf of the motorists ensures any claim is dealt with independently, and helps to restore confidence.

“Dealing with fraudulent claims and irresponsible insurers must be the priority here, and CILEx supports action to do so. Removing access to independent legal advice, leaving those involved in difficult insurance claims without support or legal guidance and at the mercy of self-interested companies is absurd.”

By Neil Rose

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3 Responses to “Law Society comes out swinging at Aviva”

  1. Insurance companies do what they like, They offer Claimants a Cheque for £1000 if they dont claim and they tell the claimant that the cheque will be with them in the next seven days!! How is this fair on the claimant?? Why are insurance compaines allowed to do this?? Who helps us?? The government favor the isurance compaines and just push us to one side!! and this will always be the case!!

  2. Avi Singh on February 15th, 2013 at 12:36 pm
  3. If you take the various vested interests out of the argument and actually look for a resolution to the problem, the way forward is to take both the lawyers and the insurers out of the claims settlement process and have a neutral “claims exchange”.

    The purpose of the body would to be firstly to resolve and apportion liability and secondly to settle claims if the claim is damage-only or involves low level personal injury.

    Software already exists to deal with this and a new system could be introduced relatively cheaply at minimal additional cost. But the various opposed interests of both the insurers on one side and the lawyers, ostensibly on the other, prevents anyone from coming out and promoting it.

    Anyone speaking to insurers from the legal services perspective will be aware that insurers are much more interested in obtaining arrangements to replace their referral fee income, such as fee sharing with claimant lawyers, than they are on reducing premiums for their policyholders.

  4. Conrad Murray on February 15th, 2013 at 1:27 pm
  5. In Ontario, Canada we have a threshold definition and a $30,000.00 deductible for all third party bodily injury auto claims. The deductible is taken off the final payment/settlement
    The plaintiff bar (with the help of our judges) have compromised the intent of the definition in that it has no bite. It does not keep the minor / soft tissue injuries out of our courts. Further, the award settlements have increased simply to get some money to the injured party after the deductible. Nobody gets the deductible.
    The Aviva solution will never be legislated. However lets not lose sight of the problem.
    In Ontario I would suggest the $30,000.00 deductible be paid up front 6 months after the accident for soft tissue injuries and or any injury with no objective finding. I think this would encourage injured parties or a plaintiff lawyer to try to settle direct with an insurer during the 6 month period. After 6 months the injured party or their lawyer would have to issue a $30,000.00 retainer which would be the deductible!

  6. William Humphrey on February 18th, 2013 at 7:26 pm