Karen Stokes' article last week"Quest for Justice" (Features, 10 March) was sobering reading for anyone in the insurance industry.

As the insurer dealing with her claim, Halifax Car Insurance accepts that people who have been through a traumatic accident - and experienced issue with their claim and insurance renewal in the process - can feel that the industry is set up to be unsympathetic and heartless.

This is clearly not the case, although her case gives plenty of food for thought about how things could be improved.

Mrs Stokes's case highlights a number of areas that bear further investigation. In terms of insurance, she was upset that it took Halifax Car Insurance three weeks to inspect her car.

In normal circumstances, anyone would have the right to be upset about this but behind the scenes, the police were holding Mrs Stokes's car for investigation - which they clearly need to when the accident involved the death of a driver.

Consequently, the first 16 days of that three-week period were taken up by the police and when we were given the details and whereabouts of the car, and completed our inspection and report took six working days.

Also, Mrs Stokes was upset that her policy was renewed when the car no longer existed.

Again, we sympathise, but it is rare for any insurer to 'delete'a policy that is on automatic renewal while a claim is still being processed. Amendments to policies usually take place with the closure of a claim - which in this case, with an apparently uninsured driver, has taken a long time.

In the light of Mrs Stokes's appalling accident it is easy to see how more could have been done but we don't accept that people involved in sales should always access a policyholder's claims records so that they can adjust their actions or tone accordingly.

It may help in 2% of cases but would slow down and perhaps be unacceptable to the remainder. Halifax Car Insurance accepts that a number of unfortunate errors were made in Mrs Stokes's case, but we don't believe that deliberate lack of sympathy was ever one.

Each occurred in isolation from knowledge about Mrs Stokes's prior trauma. Knowing the full circumstances - from reading the article - enables one to re-cast views of how things 'should have been' but that knowledge is not always available to every person in any company.

Indeed it is questionable if it should be.

Adrian Webb
Head of corporate communications Esure