ARAG scoops ATE award with Spencer recognised for "outstanding achievement"

ATE award: (from left) host Patrick Kielty, Paul Hurley (ARAG), Keith Bushnell (CEO of HCML, the award sponsor) and Dr Harry Brünjes (judging panel chair)

ARAG was named insurance provider of the year at last week’s Eclipse Proclaim Personal Injury Awards.

The company – which also won in 2009 – beat off competition from 80e, Elite Insurance and Financial & Legal for the award, with the judges saying: “This insurer has also worked hard to save costs through streamlined policy applications, and played an active role in helping to minimise the risk to claimants with the changes contained in the LASPO Act.”

Entrants to the category had to demonstrate product development, innovation, client satisfaction and added value, and success in negotiation.

ARAG managing director Tony Buss said: “We were successful against strong opposition and have firmly established ourselves as a leader in this field. The team at ARAG should be incredibly proud and despite some challenges ahead we will continue to strive for excellence for ourselves and our customers, maintaining an innovative and customer-focused approach.”

Paul Hurley, business development and marketing director, added: “We endeavour to encapsulate all of the elements required for this award everyday and are proud that this has been recognised by the judges, all industry experts. It is a humbling experience but one that toasts the success that six years of hard work can bring.”

Meanwhile, David Greenwood from Jordans Solicitors was named claimant personal injury lawyer of the year, with the judges saying “his dedication to achieving justice and fighting child abuse is second to none”.

His defendant counterpart was David Wynn from Keoghs, whose citation said: “Our winner has brought a unique perspective and approach to claims involving a tragic and painful disease, which looks for a collaborative approach between victim's solicitors and insurers. A recognised authority in his area, he is highly respected on both sides of the litigation fence whose work has yielded exceptional results.”

Claimant personal injury team of year was the allegation of fraud team at Nesbit Law Group, while the defendant award went to the catastrophic and neurotrauma team at AXA Commercial Insurance, which “works closely with claimant organisations to create a more open and principled approach to claims resolution”.

Barrister of the year was Bill Braithwaite QC of Exchange Chambers and chambers of the year Civitas Law.

Leading claimant lawyer John Spencer was given an outstanding achievement award. The citation said: “The judges praised him for being ‘very brave’ when providing evidence to the transport [select] committee last year during its probe into the rising cost of motor insurance, where he disputed some of the arguments raised to explain car insurance premium rises and called for a clear avenue to independent legal advice for accident victims.

“He has had a major, positive impact across many areas of the sector. He campaigns every minute of every day to help those unfortunate enough to have suffered an accident. In the words of the judges, ‘his whole life is devoted to access to justice’.”

Other winners included Eddie Ryan, former head of Co-operative Legal Services, who received a lifetime achievement award; first4lawyers (claims management company of the year), Premex Services (medical agency of the year), and Fletchers Solicitors (outstanding case of the year). The awards were organised by Barker Brooks.

All the award winners