Readallaboutit – Insurance Times news roundup

IT’s coverage is very good. It is comprehensive and makes an otherwise dull subject as exciting as possible with a wild west theme!


IT’s coverage is very good. It is comprehensive and makes an otherwise dull subject as exciting as possible with a wild west theme!

DAS awaits new law before snapping up stake in solicitors

Legal expenses insurers have come out fighting from the Jackson review after their core business was challenged. Saxon East’s story in IT this week says firms including DAS are ‘poised’ to buy stakes in solicitor firms once the Legal Services Act comes into force.

DAS boss Paul Asplin gave the following snippets:

  • “Referral fee ban is ‘nonsense’”
  • “Defendant insurers won’t buy lawyers cos they can get cheap rates now”
  • “Legal Services Act is ‘taking too long’”

Jackson proposes scrapping of ‘abhorrent’ referral fees

Jack Straw called referral fees ‘abhorrent’ so did LJ Jackson. This round-up piece asks some likely suspects what they think so here’s a mini-roundup for you.

David Williams – Claims manager, Axa

  • “Reforms must not be diluted”
  • “progress will take years’”

Roy Hebburn – technical claims manager, Allianz

  • “‘Removal of referral fees & non-recoverability of success fees are crucial recommendations”
  • “Insurers shouldn’t flinch at 10% uplift”
  • (my favourite) “Insurers can return to an environment of underwriting-led pricing, untainted by non-risk income.’ Did anyone ever publish how much money was being made by accepting referral fees? What kind of a dent will it make in their bottom line?

Peter Staddon – British Insurance Brokers’ Association head of technical services

  • “Philosophical – the money’s important but it’s not the be all and end all”


Zurich Pledges 20% increase in motor

Following on from EMB suggesting last week that motor rates will have to increase by 20% to cut insurers’ combined ratio down from a whopping 115%, Zurich is promising to do exactly that. Who needs actuaries!

Zurich’s CEO Stephen Lewis says he’s seen a 30% increase in bodily injury claims frequency with a worsening trend throughout 2009. This combined with high inflation has resulted in a 50% increase in cost of recovery.

Litcomp gains new owner and £200m capital injection

Some fairly canny timing here given Jackson coverage. Litcomp wrote £28m in ATE premium last year, so now with some new private equity money – up to £200m – it’s planning to expand into Professional Indemnity, pet and warranty insurance.

Insurers lead the fight against plaques ruling

Axa, RSA, Aviva and Zurich have lodged an appeal against the Court of Session in Edinburgh after it upheld the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill. Pleural Plaques are symptomless, yes they are, no they aren’t. You get it. Oh, and the Westminster meeting between MPs and Gordon Brown has been delayed without a new schedule yet.

Apologies – lost the will to live on that one…

About Ralph Savage (140 Articles)
Insurance and legal journalist Ralph Savage has written extensively for the financial and professional services sectors, most notably as News Editor of Post Magazine. He ghost writes regularly on behalf of FTSE 250 CEOs, leading counsel and senior professionals including solicitors, insurers, accountants and brokers.

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