Post Claims Club chair's monthly missive: Beach volleyball and insurance sop

Beach volleyball

On Wednesday this week I received an email from a Claims Club regular I have been in discussion with about speaking at the next meeting.

Blackberry in hand, as they were in the departure lounge at Gatwick Airport heading off to Marrakesh, they frantically (I may be using some artistic licence here) typed: "Quite a lot going on at a quiet time! Law Commission consultation on business insurance, today's announcement on meso scheme and from 1 October HSE will be charging for investigations of material incidents..."

Artistic licence or not, I am sure we can all agree that it has been a very busy time for claims professionals since the last meeting on 18 April. And, if you thought things would quieten down for the summer (which threatened not to show until this week) you were very much mistaken.

The scheme for victims of mesothelioma was hailed by the Association of British Insurers as a major breakthrough, director general Otto Thoresen claiming that the scheme would help "deliver help to claimants much faster".

However, there was some expected criticism of the scheme, which the Department of Work and Pensions hopes would be up, running and compensating by July 2014.

Deborah Evans, chief executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, described it as a "missed opportunity", and Thompsons partner Tom Jones called it a "sop to the insurance industry".

With this in mind, I am glad to say that we will be taking the discussion further at the Claims Club meeting on 5 September.

Beachcroft joint occupational disease team head Nick Pargeter has agreed to participate, alongside Andrew Morgan, partner, asbestos and personal injury, at Field Fisher Waterhouse, in what I hope will prove a lively and stimulating debate.

Another divisive issue grabbing the headlines across the trade insurance press and further afield was RSA's High Court battle defending its subrogation policy. Adrian Brown, chief executive for UK and Western Europe at RSA, heralded the judgment as proving that its approach had been "vindicated".

On the flipside, other parties to the case expressed concerns that the judgment would increase motor premiums.

Martin Saunders, head of technical claims at Allianz, claimed that it will "exacerbate" the issues the Office of Fair Trading is seeking to address by "adding a further and new layer of 'dysfunctional' competition".

Strong words. And, although none of the parties involved is able to present at the next Claims Club meeting as the legal action is on-going, Aiden Ellis, barrister, Temple Garden Chambers, and co-author of Kevan and Ellis on Credit Hire, has been invited to offer his views on whether Coles, Woodhead and Crowther v Hetherton, Guy and Thomas has brought more certainty to motor repair costs, or will lead to a higher volume of county court litigation.

As things stand the final agenda for meeting three has not been finalised. I am still trying to get insight on where the RTA Portal extension will go next, although Jonathan Djanogly (despite my growing up in his Huntingdon constituency), and the entire Ministry of Justice, has politely turned down my invitation to speak.

Here's hoping I have more luck with Professor Paul Fenn, author of the recent MoJ commissioned report.

If you have any suggestions about subjects and areas you think the Claims Club should address in the next meeting, or at any future juncture, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

If you are reading this and work in claims, whether employed by an insurer, broker, corporate or self-insured entity, then please sign up at the Post Claims Club website. The Claims Club turns 10 years old next year and it would be good to have you on board to share this momentous occasion.

Finally, if you have not visited Post's sister product Insurance Hound, it will be worth a moment of your time to check out this dedicated insurance white paper library.

Among the papers that may interest you for starters are:

Embedding claims handling technology

Barring the cyber criminals

Will the Leveson Inquiry reduce whiplash claims?

£40m a day - counting the financial costs of the August 2011 riots

All that's left for me to say is that I hope you enjoy the Olympics if you are that way inclined, or enjoy getting as far as way from London as possible if you're a Games grouch.

I shall be taking in basketball, beach volleyball, football, road cycling, hockey and handball over the next fortnight, and hope that predictions of London's impending gridlock is akin to the Millennium Bug scare stories.

Throw in the fact that I am finally going to get to see At The Drive-In when the reformed band throw some shapes at the Brixton Academy on 28 August, then the month is shaping up to be an enjoyable one.

Let's just hope they are the nosiest thing I get to see this month, though, and that the so-called "quiet time!" may begin... albeit fleetingly.

Jonathan Swift
Post Claims Club chair

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