By Matthew Best, Senior Underwriting Manager
(Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
With the NHS being at the heart of all of our lives, the funding of it appears to be an everyday topic. The idea of suing one of their Trusts for the levels of compensation that were previously awarded may no longer to be a realistic option.
It is in the context of this current situation I want to explain why we have launched the New Deal Clinical Negligence ATE insurance, not just what new features are now offered.
The first point I’d like to make is that it was to help you with your compliance obligations – specifically your personal professional responsibilities on how you advise your clients on ATE insurance.
The SRA are keen to ensure that a range of ATE insurance products are offered to the end client, to ensure they have sufficient information in order to make an informed choice. A laudable aim I’m sure – but no doubt time consuming for lawyers to try and comply with.
The good news is that Temple has done the hard work for you. We have assessed the market, selected a mixture of what is on offer and tailored this into our New Deal clinical negligence ATE insurance policy. You might say a bit like comparethemarket.com – but without the cute advertising campaign.
We also engaged in conversations with various clinical negligence law firms across the country. The intention was to see what made things tick for them when it comes to ATE insurance. We wanted to know, first-hand, what the sector want and need for its customers.
The results came in and four things stood out amongst the others;
- Premium Levels – given the squeeze on costs and level of competition in the market, the emphasis had to be on the client receiving the maximum amount of damages you can get them. As ATE insurance premiums are now deducted from such sums, it therefore makes sense for it to be ‘the lower the better’, but with you having checked that the cover meets all the client’s needs.
- Indemnity Limits – often we were told that indemnity limits can be restrictive; some lawyers making the valid point that applying for a limit of indemnity top up can be very time-consuming; and time is precious – something we would all agree on.
- Delegated Authority – we heard that delegated authority, albeit a direct benefit to the law firm – would also be a benefit to the client. We were told that it shows trust and can help you progress matters more quickly than you having to regularly report on certain aspects of a case.
- Disbursement Funding – it was reported that access to funds for clients reduced the need for a law firm to rely on their overdraft. If a disbursement funding solution was included many law firms felt they had more chance of the individual signing up to their CFA.
Having completed the process of gathering feedback from the practitioners we then set about understanding what the competition was up to. Together these things enabled us to re-assess our deal and deliver a bigger and better package of features and benefits.
So, taking the result of those four requirement in turn, we came up with these developments – as well as an added bonus.
Premium Levels – we absolutely 100% understand that price is at the forefront of a customer’s mind.
- If you can partner up with an ATE insurance provider with competitive premiums, it helps you secure that client’s business. We have surveyed the market, whilst also conducting our own research of in-house figures.
- We genuinely believe our new premiums are entirely reasonable, whilst remaining competitive. In addition we also kept our premium guarantee, which means that if the recoverable element of our premium which is payable by the Opponent (Premium A) is reduced by the courts, we will either accept the decision, or appeal it. The client will not be liable for any shortfall.
- Yes, we are an insurer that actually reduced its premiums.
Indemnity Limits – once again we have listened to your comments in this regard.
- By comparing the pros and cons on issues related to this we recognised that indemnity limits do not have to be a bottleneck when trying to run a complex clinical negligence case. Temple are renowned for offering the most sizeable amount of cover under any one policy.
- It is for that reason that we have stood by that and continue to offer the largest amount of cover in the market. No more referrals needed, just an administratively simpler solution. You trust us, and we trust you.
Delegated Authority – previous experience and feedback from those who participated, suggested full delegated authority is needed; this is exactly what Temple already has on the table.
- Solicitors wanted a genuine delegated authority product that is simple to administer. Temple has always offered this, with no hidden requirements.
- This bit was easy and we didn’t need to alter anything. If you’ve issued a clinical negligence policy for a client through Temple you get full, non-restrictive delegated authority.
Disbursement Funding – our industry and the provision of access to justice is constantly being stripped back by the powers that be. Indeed, whilst the consequences of the pandemic is stripping ordinary folk of their livelihoods this will highly likely result in some feeling they cannot pursue a claim.
- You explained that a funding solution was key. Our sister company, Temple Funding, is able to accommodate the needs of qualifying law firms. There are no monthly repayments expected by banks and other lenders – and no third party funders involved.
- If your law firm has a Coverholder Agreement in place with us; and your client’s case is insured with us – they are automatically eligible to access the funds needed to run their case.
What does this mean?
The problem raised of clients not approaching you through lack of funds on their behalf is solved. The added benefit with Temple is that the ATE insurance and disbursement funding solutions are all under one roof.
- A simple process lasting less than 2 minutes will see your client covered by a Temple ATE insurance policy – and have access to the funds they need. What’s more, your company’s balance sheet is not affected – and, importantly, your capital is freed up!
We’ve also gone one step further and have an added bonus;
With fixed costs on the horizon, we sought solutions as to how our sector can help mitigate the likely impact of this – and one way is through encouraging mediation for clinical negligence cases.
- Thus a focal point of this New Deal ATE insurance cover are the significant mediation incentives – we maximise opportunities for you to resolve issues earlier and pass on premium reductions.
- Many lawyers (but by no means all) agree that mediation in clinical negligence has become established as a viable option – with settlements reached more quickly and at lower cost, thanks to an earlier settlement. This is surely a ‘no-brainer’ in anyone’s book?
I’d like to finish on that point – an enlightened attitude to making mediation work and especially online mediation, could make all the difference. Here at Temple we have championed mediation for some time now and have frequently shared our experience in settling many cases in this way. Mediation is not the panacea for the problem of rising costs, but it can go a long way to keeping costs in check and would assist in making a fixed cost regime a less bitter pill to swallow.
To download our “New Deal” info sheet click here.
If you would like to discuss your clinical negligence ATE insurance requirements, please contact me on 01483 514804 or email email@example.com
Matthew Best Cert CII
Matt has an insurance background and joined Temple in 2011 having worked for 4 years in a leading insurance company where he was dealing with personal injury work. Matthew was promoted to Underwriting Manager and subsequently Senior Underwriting Manager taking on overall responsibility for Temple’s personal injury and clinical negligence underwriting department.
In 2022 Matt joined the board of directors as Director of ATE Partnerships. Matthew has cultivated fantastic relationships with our business partners for many years. His ability to build a clear understanding of their requirements and more importantly what is required to fulfil such requirements means he is ideally placed to support the strategic direction of the company.
Matt remains the head of the personal injury and clinical negligence department and is committed to all Temple’s business partners in order to deliver the highest level of service they expect. He is also responsible in making sure that Temple’s ATE and disbursement funding products remain competitive, but most importantly that they are fit for purpose for solicitors and their clients.
Read articles by Matthew Best Cert CII