Stalemate as PCS and liquidator locked in claims dispute

A row over unpaid fees is threatening the settlement of run-off claims from the collapse of Independent Insurance.

In an email circulated to brokers last week, loss adjuster PCS criticised the non-payment of £1m in fees it claimed were owed by liquidator Pricewater-houseCoopers (PWC) for work on the run-off business.

The email read: "Due to non payment of accumulated fees by PWC in relation to work undertaken since the failure of Independent Insurance, a general instruction has been issued to all PCS adjusters to cease work on Independent run-off cases."

Though the situation was defused by the resumption of talks between the two parties, neither could confirm an agreement had been reached by the time Insurance Times went to press.

PCS general manager Vic Noble said: "I think there is a commitment from both sides to resolve it. We hope that things will not be held up and we will have an answer this week."

A dispute affecting PCS's work could have a spin-off impact on its parent company Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) already suffering severe financial problems.

PCS was sold to R&SA by Independent shortly before the insurer's demise two years ago. Since then the loss adjuster has turned full cycle and is now back handling ex-Independent claims.

An industry insider said: "The withdrawal of support for Independent run-off claims could have caused considerable embarrassment across the industry.

"There will be Independent claims sitting in two or three brokers in every provincial town across the country.

"The claims could take up to two or three years to run off."

An investigation by the SFO into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of Independent is ongoing.