Those of you who read this blog will have spotted a theme here. I have give my predictions for After The Event Insurance (well our take on it anyway) so what of it’s evil twin?
A quick lesson first. BTE stands for Before The Event and relates to those ‘tag on’ legal policies you get offered with car or household insurance. Often nowadays the policies are automatically added (costing from £25) and you have to tick a box to decline the cover. Why would you want it? Well, it means if you have a legal claim, the insurer’s panel of solicitors will deal with it for you – all subject to their terms and conditions of course.
The key thing is timing. BTE Insurance is an annual premium and is purchased before anything happens (in fact if the cause of action has already arisen it will be excluded under the policy). ATE or After The Event Insurance is taken out after the cause of action has occurred – i.e. the accident has happened or the wrong doing has been er, done.
Anyway, BTE Insurance sounds like a bargain at £25 doesn’t it? Well yes but you see, BTE Insurers actually want certain sorts of claims to be made on the policies so policies are kept artificially cheap. Why would they want claims? Well to sell them to the highest bidder of course! Personal Injury claims attract a hefty referral fee and so the more BTE policy holders make claims, the more money the BTE Insurer makes – until the Jackson reforms come in that is.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill is currently with the House of Lords. One of the provisions is to ban referral fees and so you see, come the revolution, BTE Insurers won’t be able to sell claims to solicitors. Their income will drop and so the BTE Insurance premiums will have to rise to cover ‘real’ claims. Rising prices will almost certainly result in lower sales figures.
And so you see, far from BTE Insurance being able to step into the void caused by ATE Insurance recovery being removed, my opinion is that BTE will become less widely available and more expensive after the reforms. Which is funny because Lord Jackson said the opposite would happen.
Place your bets now please….