Privilege Insurance has defended its decision to contest the amount claimed by the widow of a motorcyclist killed in an accident.

The story became national news this week when it was heavily covered in the media, including the Sun, the Mirror, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and The Times.

Miles Russell, head of corporate affairs at Direct Line Group said: “The circumstances around this particular case were quite complex and we felt that there were certain matters that needed to be resolved in court.”

Jason Dalziel's widow was seeking £400,000 for loss of his future earnings.

However, at the time of the accident, Dalziel had a mistress, who was a pillion passenger on the bike when Dalziel died.

Lawyers for Privilege claimed in court that the relationship was doomed and that Dalziel's behaviour was not that of someone who planned to stay with his wife. Dalziel's wife and mistress were both unaware of the other's existence.

Privilege had admitted that its insured was 80% responsible for the accident and had offered Mrs Dalziel £140,000 for an out-of-court settlement. The court awarded her just over £100,000, out of which she will have to pay some of her costs.

Russell admitted that Direct Line had received some bad publicity from the case, but he said: “It is important that

insurance customers should not think of this case as setting a precendent.”