Thursday, 7 December 2017

Legal disputes, legal expenses insurance and access to justice

The Ministry of Justice has just released civil justice stats for July to September 2017
An increase in claims is evident – in fact a 13% increase over the same quarter last year and this is driven by 15% increase in the number of specified money claims which stand at 560,000 – the second highest number since 2006.
70% of money claims involved sums in dispute of less than £1,000.
The number of cases which are contested and proceed to a trial has increased by some 11%.

The figure I picked up on is that where claims were defended, 56% had legal representation for both claimant and defendant (down one percentage point from July to September 2016), 24% had representation for claimant only (up one percentage point over the same period), and 3% for defendant only.  This points to a considerable gap in affordable access to justice which is the tip of an iceberg. It is impossible to know how many individuals and businesses are deterred from pursuing claims or putting forward a defence by cost barriers and/or lack of confidence and time required to manage their litigation. 
The CJC’ s recent information study, “The Law and Practicalities of Before-the-event (BTE) insurance” found that “BTE offers large numbers of people access to significant assistance, including via legal helplines (and, less commonly, legal websites)”.

Businesses and individuals can quickly recognise savings that exceed the premium they paid for their legal expenses policy by down loading free legal documents and using our helplines.  The barrier to recognising the considerable value of products is lack of awareness of the benefits available.  I am optimistic that awareness is beginning to improve and the CJC’s information study could be influential in contributing to this. More importantly brokers have a huge part to play in helping customers to fully understand how products can help them.

This leads me on to Insurance Product Information Documents. Just a reminder, if you are selling a “standard ”ARAG product  log into our website to down-load our new Insurance Product Information Documents. If the product you are selling is not quite standard we will modify the relevant standard document for you to ensure that it is suitable and send you a customised IPID document.
If you are a product manufacturer and have ARAG cover integrated into your products please get in touch with your broker account manager or me if you would us to supply or approve ARAG content for your IPIDs.

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