I was very interested to read Lord Hunt's article in your 29 November issue and his views on the escalating costs in personal injury cases.
Not only does Lord Hunt inaccurately quote costs figures from Callery v Gray, he also seems to imply the blame for the costs problems rests entirely on the shoulders of claimant solicitors.
Lord Hunt is the senior partner at Beachcroft Wansbroughs. His firm represented the defendant in Callery v Gray and the Liability Insurers Group in Salwar v Alam. I am the senior partner at Amelans, which represented the claimant in each of these cases.
The costs involved in each case are large as we were forced to take on the might of Beachcroft Wansbroughs and the almost unlimited funds of the liability insurers, who used all their joint resources to attempt to defeat the CFA and the after the event (ATE) insurance premium. The claimants were successful in both cases.
Several liability insurers are still refusing to pay such ATE premiums, despite having lost Callery three times. What is more, they have made a mischievous application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords. This causes more delay and raises costs even further.
When Lord Hunt says "there is no justification for increasing delays and costs" perhaps he should take a long look at his own firm's practices.
Crackpot underwriters crazy prices
Talk about living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. We have recently received Groupama's newsletter In Advance and are amazed to read the chief executive's comments, especially the one which says: "In the past there were too many markets prepared to write business at crazy prices and underwriters must now understand the power of the pen and become responsible and accountable for their actions."
He also spouts on about underwriting for profit and not for volume.
Recently we had a Groupama motor renewal invited at £1,181, which we were assured could not possibly be reduced.
The client then went to Saga and gave it the same facts and it quoted £820, again with Groupama. Finally, he went to another brokers which has some underwriting authority and got it for £750 with - you guessed it - Groupama.
Come on Mr Lancaster, who do you think you are kidding? I recently read that Groupama's underwriting results on motor were very poor indeed.
Is it any surprise when those at the top have no idea what is going on and continue to employ crackpot underwriters?
Name and address withheld
Quality service beats the critics
In these times where insurance companies seem to receive almost daily criticism with regards to their customer service, and in particular their claims service, I felt it only fair to write about some exemplary service we have received from Fortis Insurance.
We submitted two travel insurance claims for the same client following the death of her spouse on 16 October, together with the relevant supporting documentation.
Without the need for any further correspondence two cheques were received in full settlement on 20 October.
On behalf of our client we would just like to say well done Fortis.
KJ Herbert Insurance Services