A primetime roasting by Watchdog's Anne Robinson is enough to frighten even the toughest of insurers, and this is what Claims Direct faced when it was accused of charging high premiums.

Things then got worse for the company when it had to set aside £5m to silence disgruntled customers who were unable to reclaim their after the event insurance because they took it out before April 1. This followed a rule change by the Lord Chancellor.

The company blamed adverse media coverage for its decision. Chief executive Colin Poole said he believed its decision to compensate affected up to 10,000 claimants and would "end damaging media comment".

Claims Direct mirrored the fast-paced reforms of the legal system and grew last year as a result of the introduction of no-win no-fees for personal injury litigation in the Access to Justice Act.