July 29, 2013

Insurers are increasingly convinced that the only good lawyer is one who’s on your payroll.

Readers will recall how ABI director general Otto Son of Thor angrily smote the Law Society recently for running an ad campaign urging: ‘Don’t get mugged by an insurer – use a solicitor’ (a line, incidentally, that comes perilously close to saying ‘get mugged by a solicitor instead’).

In an open sandwich to the Law Soc’s Nick Fluck (a name we are spelling very carefully) Thor’s Son took vigorous exception the ads’ suggestion that insurers’ initial offers to PI claimants might not always be generously open-handed and fair. To suggest that insurers go around mugging people, he insisted, is a “gross error of judgment” and “little more than public name-calling”.

The evidence, Thor’s Son said, on which the Law Soc based its claim that PI claimants who reject an insurer’s initial offer and seek advice from a solicitor end up with a settlement worth an average three times the original offer was “patchy”, “limited”, and incomplete.

That, responded the Law Sock’s Nlick Fluck, is because of the inconsistent and incomplete information supplied by ABI members to the FSA. Any lack of watertightness in the Law Soc’s research findings was down, he said, to insurers’ “unaccommodating” attitude. If anything, the true figures would be even more damning.

Plus also, Fluck continued, who’s the public name caller when the ABI keeps branding solicitors ‘ambulance chasers”? Huh? Huh?!

The same Freedom of Information request on which the Law Soc’s controversial ‘three times’ claim is based found that only 3-4% of consumers reject the insurer’s first offer. The chilling implication here is that, if the ‘mugging’ ads gain any traction, PI costs could be set to rocket at a time when insurers are busy slashing premiums in expectation of the LASPO dividend.

This is getting serious.

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