By: 17 March 2014

Claimant solicitors' predictions that the Jackson reforms would have a negative impact on access to justice have "simply not happened" according to the ABI.


Speaking at the Claims Magazine conference on 13 March at Lancashire County Cricket Club in Manchester, Rob Cummings, the ABI's civil justice and data strategy manager said that the public's ability to claim for personal injury had not been harmed and that this had been proved by the shift in the legal marketplace.


"While a few law firms have ceased operations, others have merged which has led to greater economies of scale in the market," said Cummings.


"It is more likely that law firm closures are to do with firms failing to adapt sufficiently quickly in the evolving legal market. This is reinforced by the fact that there seems to have been no lack of willing buyers for the PI book of business of those firms that are looking to sell."


Cummings also said that the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission had discovered that the motor insurers were not making a profit from the vehicle insurance market.


"The ten largest motor insurers provided the Commission with financial data for the five years ending Dec 2012 and the Commission found that, on average motor insurance activities were loss making with a combined operating ratio of 112%," said Cummings.


"Or put it another way, for every £1 an insurer took in premium income, they paid out £1.12 in claims costs."


"I think it is fair to say that the motor insurers are some way off making Google-esque type profits," he added.


He also said that the insurance industry would consider stopping pre-med offers if reforms to the medico-legal system introduce a greater degree of rigour and if the fee for medical reports was incorporated into the Civil Procedure Rules.


For further information on the conference and what speakers said at the event, look out for the next issue of Claims Magazine, out in late April.