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Underwriting Manager, ATE
In the recent Court of Appeal decision of West & Demouilpied, the court addressed the issues of reasonableness and proportionality, and the ‘proper’ approach to the assessment of costs – including ATE premiums.
It was a potentially huge moment for the ATE market, so I thought it might be useful to share my thoughts on the outcome, and break it down to its key elements; Demouilpied for Dummies, if you like.
Significantly, this was the first time an ATE premium had been scrutinised by the higher courts since Rogers v Merthyr Tydfil CBC in 2006. And whilst the decisions in West & Demouilpied focused on ARAG’s underwriting methodology, given the direct involvement of both DAS and LAMP in the Assessor’s hearing prior to the Appeal, this decision was always going to have wider ramifications for the market – and of course for the NHS.
It was anticipated that the decision would provide lower courts with much needed guidance on how to deal with the future assessment of ATE premiums in the post LASPO costs landscape.
The bottom line is that ARAG was successful in recovering the ATE premiums associated with these cases in full, and there are a number of useful points to highlight that I think will assist the ATE market at large. The court:
The impact of the decision remains to be seen, but here is what I think we can expect to see:
Whichever way you look at it, this will all be good news for access to justice, and a sustainable ATE market.
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Legal expenses insurance has a major part to play in giving people and SMEs everyday peace of mind, now more than ever before.
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