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ATE insurance for clinical negligence – have you got your risk assessment right?

By Paul Bonner, Senior Underwriter

(Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 12 seconds)

As ATE insurance underwriters we see the good, the bad and the ugly, so see us as adding value to your risk assessment process. Here at Temple, we share a combined 100 years’ experience of underwriting clinical negligence cases and wanted to share some of that in order to you help maximise your fee-earning.

We’re here to help, not to second-guess you. You may well be equally experienced, but below is a view from the receiving end of your cases that could save you a great deal of time and costs.

It share ours experience of why –

  • Many cases are discontinued far too late – this causes a higher claims exposure – something that benefits nobody.
  • We see many more cases stalling due to inadequate case timetable management. Too much time is spent identifying appropriate experts, followed by long delays in obtaining the experts reports – without ever having a ‘Plan B’ in place.
  • Too much time and money is also spent trying to turn an unsupportive expert around. If the answer is not ‘yes’, then the case is probably a ‘no go’.

See below for an overview of the key principles or click here for our updated guide to risk assessment for clinical negligence cases –

The client isn’t always right

The rise in clinical negligence ATE insurance claims has often been due to accepting subjective evidence from the client alone. This is not a good risk assessment. We require a law firm to obtain all relevant medical notes and records and review them. This is one of our Eligibility Criteria before a case can be insured under delegated authority.

If this was a school exam, ‘show your workings’ would still gain you some marks even if the final answer was incorrect. Here the stakes are somewhat higher, but the principle still stands – reviewing your rationale can give insights you, your client and your ATE insurer could all benefit from.

The risk assessment guide is by no means a comprehensive list but adherence to it will, we suggest, lead to less time being written off and reduce claims, including the amount of the monetary claims.

In summary – aim to develop a detailed risk assessment process backed by objective evidence and, ideally, a separate case plan setting out defined goals with a strict timetable.

We’re here to help and share our experience

If you can confidently say that all the best practice in the risk assessment guide is happening within your team, you should be seeing healthy wins statistics and few claims. If that is not the case, then please call 01483 577877 or email Matthew.Best@temple-legal.co.uk. We are only too happy to work with you to create a more robust process.

Paul Bonner

Paul Bonner

Senior Underwriter
Read articles by Paul Bonner

Paul Bonner

Paul has 35 years’ experience in the insurance industry, the last 30 years of which have been exclusively in legal expenses insurance. He joined Temple from The Legal Protection Group Ltd (later First Assist Ltd) where he was Head of Claims.

Since joining Temple, he has been involved with its customers in the development of the whole range of the company’s products and services. This experience means that he has a deep understanding of customers’ requirements in all aspects of personal injury, clinical negligence and commercial litigation insurance, and the proven ability to match Temple’s products and services to their needs.

 

Read articles by Paul Bonner