Company applauds defendant insurers but warns self-insured councils are falling short

DAS has applauded defendant liability insurers for their "much-improved stance in both settling cases and paying ATE insurance premiums".

In a statement the company said: "One year on from the Rogers v Merthyr Tydfil test case, in which the Court of Appeal upheld the DAS 80e staged premium model, improvements in claims settlement times and ATE premium payments can easily be identified."

Phil Bellamy, Operations Manager commented: “Defendant insurers have taken on board what was said in the judgment, and are now taking advantage of our much lower pre-issue premiums. Prior to Rogers, two thirds of cases settled pre-issue, now this figure has increased to three quarters”.

DAS said that the trend was in the interest of both the defendant insurer who benefit from prompt settlements and lower ATE premiums, respectively. It also said that the collection of ATE premiums has also become much less adversarial, with only "a handful" of premium challenges being made by the insurance industry.

However, Bellamy said that self-insured local authorities had not shown much willingness to speed up their claims handling or pay ATE premiums that are due.

“It seems local authorities are more determined than ever to take cases right through to trial. Last year I commented that 4-5% of slip and trip cases ended up in court. This has now doubled, which must be putting even greater pressures on the court system, and is certainly not helping with the government’s aim of speeding up the claims process.”

"Local authorities are of course entitled to defend claims strongly, but if they do end up in court and lose they should pay the ATE premium due as quickly as we pay their costs on the cases they win."