Cameron insurance summit: full steam ahead on Jackson and cutting PI fees

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

15 February 2012

Downing Street: door closed to claimant representatives

The outcome of yesterday’s high-profile Downing Street insurance summit appears to have put paid to any hopes among claimant lawyers that there is a compromise to be reached over the Jackson reforms.

Insurers at the summit – chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron – committed to reduce premiums to reflect “any reductions in legal costs” created by the Jackson reforms, as well as the referral fee ban and extension of the RTA claims process to cover employers’ and public liability cases.

Last week it emerged that the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers was putting together a compromise on Jackson that it would take to the government and insurance industry, but in advance of yesterday’s summit, the government highlighted the importance of implementing the Jackson reforms “in full”.

Insurers also said they would pass savings onto customers resulting from the government’s commitment to reduce the current £1,200 fee that lawyers earn from RTA portal cases. This will “help bring down the legal cost of many cases and deter the speculative health and safety claims being made”, Number 10 said in a statement.

Insurers pledged to challenge “more vexatious health and safety civil claims in order to tackle the compensation culture”.

The government and insurance industry further agreed to work toge

ther to identify “effective ways to reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims”. Options include improved medical evidence, technological breakthroughs, the threshold for claims or the speed of accidents. “Progress on this will be made in the coming months,” said Number 10.

Other measures include insurers, at the point of sale, setting out what SMEs need to do to comply with health and safety law, and making more use of ‘telematics’, which monitors driving behaviour, giving young drivers the chance of affordable car insurance by adopting safer driving.

As well as Mr Cameron, transport secretary Justine Greening, justice minister Nick Herbert and Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin attended the summit. On the other side of the table were Otto Thoresen, director-general of the Association of British Insurers, together with representatives of Admiral, Aviva, Axa, Co-operative Insurance, RBS Insurance and Zurich.

Also present were the British Chamber of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Business, the Health and Safety Executive and Uswitch. No groups representing claimants were present, a decision criticised by the Law Society.

Claimant lawyers attacked the possibility of setting a minimum speed below which whiplash claims will not be allowed.

Donna Scully, chairwoman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society, said: “Whiplash and other associated soft tissue injuries are very real for thousands of innocent accident victims and their rights to justice must not be ignored.

“The increase in whiplash claims is as much about insurers rushing to settle claims before they have seen medical reports as it is fraud… Imposing a catch-all minimum speed limit for whiplash cases is simply the wrong approach. There is strong medical evidence that very slow accidents can, in certain circumstances, cause serious injury.”

Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to “Cameron insurance summit: full steam ahead on Jackson and cutting PI fees”

  1. When will Cameron realise that he’s a puppet in the control of the insurers, and what does that make Clegg? This is worse than when the country was run by the unions. At least they represented large numbers of people rather than a handful of shareholders.

  2. Malcolm Roberts on February 15th, 2012 at 11:27 am
  3. The idea of a minimum speed for whiplash claims is easy to put forward, but it is simply moving the goal posts. A claimant will say that the speed exceeded the minimum, a defendant will say it did not and there is merely another technical hurdle to a claim. Will we see insurers serving engineering evidence on claims to deny the speed, whereas claimants will not incur such a cost as it is not recoverable under portal or pre-issue protocol? The judge will always end up having to decide this issue, so more cases with more expert evidence and more technical arguments. Hardly a simplification and bound to increase costs.

  4. Royston Smith on February 15th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
  5. What has Health & Safety legislation got to do with road traffic accidents???

  6. Anon on February 17th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
  7. Just another example of the public interest claim being used as a means to take rights from the public and at the same time let a select few tackle the competition as well as corner the legal market;

    Step 1. Remove the requirement to be a solicitor to run and own a practice – legal services act
    Step 2. Announce a ban on referral fees overnight, just after you’ve made sure the existing competition has become reliant on referral sourced work.
    Step 3. Reduce fees to such an extent that the existing competition can’t afford to market.

    Result – the only people that can afford to do the work are the ones that can get it for free…. And who could that be?
    See… When the government wants to achieve a goal get it can do!!
    The British people are being taken for yet another ride.

  8. Ijaz on March 10th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Legal Futures Blog

Court modernisation: Court Service spins response to NAO report

Roger Smith

After months of debate on the court modernisation programme led by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, we now have an authoritative analysis from the National Audit Office. HMCTS chief executive Susan Acland-Hood professed herself happy. The report was “helpful and constructive”. She was pleased that “the NAO acknowledges our ‘early progress’”. Her comments were more reflective of spin than the span of the NAO report. The NAO acknowledges the ambitious nature of the reform. But comments like “HMCTS’s change portfolio presents a very significant challenge” need minimal decoding to reveal a bit of concern.

May 17th, 2018