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.”