Loss adjusters Claimex and law firm Boyes Turner have joined forces to launch an action group for Independent Insurance liability policyholders facing demands for money from Independent's defence panel solicitors.
The decision was prompted by Insurance Times's article last week which exposed plans by the three panel solicitors' firms, Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC), Davies Lavery and Berrymans Lace Mawer, to hound policyholders for their outstanding fees. The firms estimate they are owed around £2m.
Richard Hanson-James of Claimex said the firm had been approached by a number of policyholders worried about being pursued.
“There are some aspects of this situation that merit further research before we can recommend unquestioning acceptance of the claims that are being made.
“Without much better information on how the alleged contracts were set up and on the basis of what policy terms, we find it difficult to see how the panel solicitors' claims are founded,” says Hanson-James.
The group, called the Independent Insurance Liability Policyholders' Action Group (IILPAG), intends to take the issues “at least to the level of leading counsel's opinion”, claims Hanson-James.
Partner at Boyes Turner, Gary Parkinson, said the group “wouldn't need many policyholders to make it worthwhile.” He said it was too early to predict the final bill of costs but that the figure was “not alarming”.
Asked why Claimex and Boyes Turner had not chosen the existing CIIG solicitors, Class Law, Hanson-James said he felt there would be a conflict.
“We thought hard about using Class Law but its main objective is to deflect many diverse claims away from the liquidation pot, towards other targets such as loss adjusters and actuaries. Our aim is to divert the law firms' claims away from policyholders and back into the pot.”
Parkinson also said that with up to 2,000 policyholders already represented by the Class Law team, the logistics of transferrring them to another firm would be “horrendous”.
Class Law declined to comment on the new group.
The Claimex helpline is 0845 840 1501. Policyholders in the North of England should email Geoff Williams at email@example.com, those in the South of England should email Richard Hanson-James at firstname.lastname@example.org.