Direct line and the magic £50 million
Posted By : Bill On 02/08/2017 08:45:00
I know I've been going on about the insurance industry’s conduct since the discount rate was reduced, but it seems to me to get worse. The papers reported today that profits have soared at Direct Line, “after the impact of this year’s discount rate change on personal injury compensation payments turned out to be less severe than feared … and after personal injury claims costs also continued to ‘trend more favourably’ than expected”., the company said in interim results published today. They said in March that the reduction to the discount rate would wipe £215m-£230m off their pre-tax profits, and that premiums for young drivers could rise by up to £1,000 a year, and cost the NHS an extra £1 billion a year in compensation bills.

In fact, they posted a 14% rise in first-half pre-tax profits to £341million, “aided by the release of nearly £50m of reserves previously set aside for the discount rate change”.

I don’t remember them revealing back in March that had a £50 million reserve in advance of the discount rate announcement – perhaps I just missed it!

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Insurers inflating repair bills - will we ever find out the truth?
Posted By : Bill On 31/07/2017 11:00:00
According to the Telegraph this morning, drivers are being “ripped off for motor insurance”, ie being overcharged for motor cover, because insurers are using secret deals to grossly inflate repair bills. They say that insurers are routinely inflating repair costs by as much as 100 per cent, while receiving undisclosed kickbacks for the difference. The process could be creating a hidden cost of £750m, equivalent to around 5 per cent of the UK's 34 million drivers' annual insurance premiums.

If this turns out to be true, it would make a mockery of the recent publicity which the insurers have been arranging, to the effect that the method of calculating personal injury compensation (the “discount rate”) is flawed, and should be changed so that severely injured claimants do not recover as much money as they do presently.

Their carefully arranged PR has been targeted at the public, ie drivers, and has asserted that the recent change in the law will cost drivers millions or billions. That won't sit well with the notion that there may be an internal insurance scheme which is inflating claims against other insurers.

Will we ever find out the truth? Will the Government read this article, and wonder about the truth behind the intense lobbying currently being carried out by insurers against the discount rate?

Not a chance!­
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A frightening picture for mothers to be
Posted By : Bill On 15/07/2017 11:00:00
The article in The Times yesterday about NHS litigation costs highlighted some appalling figures. One was that errors during childbirth account for 50 per cent of the value of claims against the NHS. What a frightening picture for mothers to be. Instead of spinning the anti-lawyer story, perhaps they should try to stop ruining lives by negligent management of the birth process.

What their story fails to reveal to a gullible public is that either

all those claims either went to court and were tried by a judge, who decided that the doctors and nurses had been careless in their professional lives, or
the NHS themselves had admitted, without going to court, that their staff had been careless.

Careless in this context doesn’t just mean a tiny mistake – it means that those professionally qualified staff have behaved in a way which is outside the range of reasonable management.

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NHS Litigation Service - ignorant, obdurate defendants
Posted By : Bill On 14/07/2017 11:00:00
I read in The Times that “The NHS paid £1.7 billion to settle negligence claims last year after a 15 per cent rise in the total that led to warnings that the cost of errors could cripple the health service. Lawyers suing the NHS took home almost £500 million of the total, up 19 per cent, a figure criticised as “disproportionate” by health chiefs.”

Naturally the paper will have made no attempt to explore the facts and reasons, but will simply have published without question the press release sent out by the NHS PR agents (I wonder what they get paid??).

My experience of the NHS litigation service, spread over many years, is that they are one of the most ignorant and obdurate defendants I come across. In the examples I see, that means that the lawyer costs ratchet up to high levels because the NHS will not behave sensibly.

They say they’ve changed, and they’ve changed the name of their litigation arm accordingly (NHS Resolution), so we’ll see if the leopard does change its spots – I’ll be amazed if it does, but I live in hope!

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