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Law Society urged to withdraw PI campaign by ABI

View profile for Barry Sutton
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I read on Post Online recently that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) director general Otto Thoresen has expressed his “anger and disappointment” in a letter sent to the Law Society, calling for a recent personal injury advertising campaign to be withdrawn.

The letter is in the wake of the ‘Don't get mugged by an insurer - use a solicitor' campaign.

Referring to the Law Society's assertion - attributed to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) - that "accident victims who turn down an insurer's initial offer and take legal advice from a solicitor get on average two to three times more compensation", the ABI suggests that the data is from 4 years ago and is merely representative of 113 cases.

Apparently Mr Thoresen makes mention to the fact that the authors of the FSA report themselves describe the data that underpins the study as "patchy", "limited" and that it does "not allow definitive conclusion".

The letter apparently states: "Your campaign is a gross error of judgment, represents a deeply regrettable resort to little more than public name-calling and it comes as a matter of considerable surprise that a professional and well-respected organisation such as the Law Society is prepared to lower itself to such action.”

"This campaign can only be damaging to relationships between the Law Society's wider membership and insurers. I look forward to your assurance it will be withdrawn immediately."

I feel that when making any legal claim, it is undoubtedly in the claimant’s best interest to seek independent legal advice and this is what is provided by solicitors. As such I believe that the ABI position could be taken as merely attempting to lower the overall costs of claims even further and while I understand the commercial idea behind this, this counter factual position I would say is not in the best interests of the claimant.

By Barry Sutton, personal injury team