Government under fire over before the event myth


Legal expenses insurers (LEI) have slammed the government for creating the myth that before the event (BTE) legal protection can fill the gap left by the changes which will result from Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations.

graph-p-8-number-crunchingThe market has also reacted to a scathing report from watchdog Consumer Focus, In case of emergency, which argued that, while BTE needed to play a bigger role in widening access to justice, the current standard of products available fell way short of the mark.

There is unanimous agreement among insurers that Jackson’s proposals will kill off after the event insurance for personal injury. DAS CEO Paul Asplin has been venting his anger claiming the suggestion that BTE could simply step in has been neither substantiated nor elaborated on by Jackson or the government and it was certainly not something that anyone who actually understood LEI had ever agreed with.

On Consumer Focus’ report, Mr Asplin said: “It is clear the authors of the report have no better understanding of LEI than Lord Jackson did when he wrote his own report. All this has managed to do is demonstrate the hollowness of Lord Jackson’s assertion that BTE can get the government off the hook.”

Speaking at Insurance Age’s roundtable Legally Speaking, Graham Hollebon, managing director of FirstAssist Legal Protection (BTE), echoed Mr Asplin’s disappointment with the government. He said its silence on BTE was “a huge missed opportunity. If you are going to take something away then something needs to be introduced to replace it”.

Also in attendance, Rocco Pirozzolo, solicitor and legal expenses underwriter at QBE said that it had been left up to the main players in the LEI market to decide how best to respond going forward.

“The government seem to be on their knees praying that BTE will bridge the gap. It is very much half baked. All we have are assumptions and exaltations that BTE ought to respond but who knows?” he added.

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