With some trepidation I pick up the gauntlet laid down by Antony Martin (3 October, Insurance Times). Please can we separate the sheep from the goats?
All sane people must hope that the after-the-event (ATE) feeding frenzy (caused by short-sighted changes in regulation without proper consultation) is dying down. Undoubtedly this market has been driven by greed; but neither the insurance nor the legal profession can claim moral high ground here.
ATE insurers are every bit as rapacious as the solicitors they employ. Both the Law Society and the ABI look the other way, apparently too chicken to get involved. What about an ABI initiative to regulate ATE insurers or cap premiums?
A word of sympathy must go to hard-pressed liability insurers, who have been presented with an avalanche of unmeritorious claims - many are still buried waiting for the St Bernard and the brandy. Ironic that the slick marketing of insurers panel firms and before-the-event (BTE) cover caused the supply of lawyers for the accident management companies.
We all agree that things must change. But can we focus the debate on the victims of accidents and the good things that our industry can and does achieve? Strange as it seems many of us high street lawyers find unmeritorious claims equally annoying. They go nowhere and clog up our systems as well.
As a starting point can we wind back the rhetoric please? When having a go (justified) at (some) lawyers please can you add, "apart from many lawyers often in small high street firms, who do their best to give a decent service to victims of avoidable accidents"?
If you do, I'll try to explain to my clients why AXA closed its claims department to incoming calls for a fortnight, avoiding the words "up", "brewery" and "piss".
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