The Law Society could maintain a list of solicitors willing and able to act for legal expenses insurers and even negotiate fee levels, the International Bar Association has suggested.
Expansion of the market for standalone before-the-event legal expenses insurance is being held back by “lack of understanding” among consumers as to what it covers, a report has concluded.
Leading legal expenses insurer ARAG has reported double-digit growth in its BTE business and a ninth year in profit, despite what it said were the “challenging market conditions” for ATE.
The founders of legal expenses insurer Motorplus have been ordered by the High Court to repay the entire sale price of the company of almost £2.4m for breaching warranties.
A before-the-event legal expenses insurer has warned of the “unintended and very serious detrimental effect” of the government’s personal injury reforms on the market. He said the planned increase in the small claims limit for RTA cases would “cast doubt” on the ability of the BTE industry to provide legal representation.
Clients with before-the-event legal expenses insurance can now change from panel solicitors to one of their choice earlier than was previously the case following a subtle but significant shift made by the Financial Ombudsman Service. The point at which policyholders can exercise their choice of solicitor has been the subject of argument for years.
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.