Leading broker TheJudge is offering a “last-minute lifeline” to commercial litigators seeking after-the-event (ATE) insurance by bringing underwriters onsite to speed up the application process.
The company said the move was due to “unprecedented levels of applications for ATE insurance and litigation funding” ahead of the end of recoverability on 1 April.
TheJudge director Matthew Amey said: “We’ve taken these measures to try and do what we can for the huge wave of last-minute applications. In many instances, individual lawyers are submitting two or three cases each. Unfortunately, we are now past the point at which a full market search can be undertaken.
“So far, the system has been working and, in many instance, quotes are being prepared within two to three days. We would stress that time is perilously short to make new applications. Of course, not all cases are accepted but those decisions are at least being made quickly.”
In order to access TheJudge’s ‘emergency facility’, cases must meet the following criteria:
- It must be a claimant case;
- Completed application pack;
- Minimum of 60% prospects;
- A creditworthy opponent;
- Commercial disputes or professional negligence claims; and
- Cases which require limits of indemnity of less than £750,000.
Cover is potentially available for adverse costs, own disbursements and own solicitor’s fees. Furthermore, for claimants facing security for costs applications, deeds of indemnity can be made available.
For cases needing larger limits of cover (£1m plus) with a recoverable premium, the prospects of securing apprioriate cover are dropping by the day. Mr Amey added: “The difficulty we have is that, for large limit cases, there simply isn’t the time for underwriters to carry out all the necessary due diligence. That being said, there can be exceptions. There will, of course, be a solid ATE insurance market post April for these larger cases albeit, without a recoverable premium.”
He said there has also been an increased volume of applications for litigation funding, simultaneously to the ATE insurance proposals. Given the urgency to complete the ATE insurance in time for 1 April, even funders are suggesting a concentration on the ATE insurance first, “as it’s to their advantage too that insurance premiums are recoverable, if possible”.
TheJudge is a Litigation Futures sponsor.