The collapse of The Accident Group has left a trail of wreckage that has tarnished the industry, says Elliot Lane
As Lloyd's insurer GoshawK became one the first corporate victims of The Accident Group (TAG) collapse (well, the first to admit it) this week, isn't it about time a public inquiry was called to assess the real damage claims farmers have done to the industry?
GoshawK is setting aside millions of pounds to cover TAG's failure. Numerous legal firms are poised to scrap their personal injury departments. HBOS is in the firing line for hundreds of thousands of outstanding claims.
And industry figures are receiving calls from BBC's Watchdog asking for comment on a television exposé to be screened at the end of July.
Claims managers, lawyers and insurers are outraged, not so much at the sheer scale of the demise, which was painful enough, but the audacity of TAG's actual business approach. GoshawK chief executive highlighted the "poor vetting procedures" of many of the cases but one thing the administrator's report will find is the lack of proper auditing.
Many solicitors, bitter that they were excluded from the Claims Direct or TAG panels, are now gloating and riding off to the moral high ground.
But it is clear that many solicitors were desperate to be part of the action, or actions, for lucrative rewards.
TAG's millionaire director Mark Langford also gained handsomely while the times were good. He and his wife were part of Manchester's social elite and regular faces at charitable functions.
In fact when ex-US president Bill Clinton spoke at an NSPCC dinner this year, his fee, which was roughly £300,000, was paid for by Langford and his wife.
Langford was also convicted of careless driving after he struck and fatally injured 73-year-old Bill Thornley, a retired father of four, in his Ferrari 355 F1 Spyder in November 1998.
The good times have gone. Though the Lord Chancellor's Department is in total disarray, a concerted effort should be made, in tandem with the Law Society, to investigate the solicitor/client relationship and the legal fraternity's 'impartiality' when dealing with claims farmers.