APIL to Swallow

17th October 2019

Fran Clothier shares her thoughts on this year’s Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) conference in Brighton…

Fran Clothier

Fran Clothier

DAS UK Group

ATE Business Partnership Manager

Having now caught my breath after a busy few weeks, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on my first APIL event – at which we were exhibiting – and share some of my takeaways from the day.

This was the third clinical negligence conference at which DAS ATE has exhibited this year and in all I found the experience really valuable. As well as the delegates, it was so useful to meet all the other exhibitors and chat with them about their challenges and successes, as well as the various fascinating speakers who made their way around the conference.

Among them were a couple of consultant surgeons who were really interested in the workings of a clinical negligence legal case and how other industries support the claimant and solicitor. We agreed that similar to raising a child, it takes a village to support a clin neg case to conclusion and beyond!

With the challenge of fixed recoverable costs very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds there was plenty of chat around this, not to mention the introduction of the Civil Liabilities Act and its impact on the personal injury market.

The general consensus was that, with Brexit on the horizon, the government perhaps has enough on its hands without adding these into the mix – but they do remain highly relevant subjects.

Many lawyers raised proportionality as an ongoing challenge, with a number having chosen to exit the lower value market – and other moving to more innovative operations to compete in this area.

An interesting reality is that defendants appear to be procrastinating more noticeably than ever when dealing with cases, which is something we have noticed from an insurer perspective both pre and post the West & Demoulpied judgment.

I also had a number of conversations about group litigation and cases being brought against a single defendant – but which are not subject to a group order – and the struggle that firms sometimes have with obtaining funding to support these cases. Of course, I was happy to make the point that we do look at covering these types of cases!

I believe that there are numerous types of cases like this where there is scope for growth, where in the past such cases were outside the realms of what ATE insurance was used for.

Another such area is the increased number of Human Rights Act cases which – sometimes linked to CN cases – we are seeing; again this an area which firms and claimants are struggling to garner funding support, but for which we at DAS are increasing our appetite.

The conference was also useful to share an update on the quality assurance feedback we have developed and it was great to see our insight on the market has been well received, opening doors for us to do more effective partnering.

It seems to me that APIL is an important forum that brings the industry together, giving us all opportunities to network, meet up with our many existing partners and cement relationships, and discuss the market. It also gave us plenty of opportunity to tell people all about our ATE offering which our #DidYouKnow social media series will do a little more of in the coming weeks…

Thanks APIL – we’ll certainly be back next year!

Fran Clothier

Business Partnership Manager

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