The insurance company funds the insured person’s legal costs and any damages awarded against the insured. As such, it is in the insurance company’s interest to reduce costs. It does this by relying on legal advisers who provide an inexpensive service rather than a specialist and bespoke service. As such, there are competing interests between the insured and the insurance company.
However much the insurance company resists the right for the insured the option to choose their own solicitor, the insured does not have to accept the position. “It has always been the fundamental right of every citizen to be represented by solicitors of his or her choice” (Maltez v. Lewis (1999). The Legal Expenses Insurance Regulations 1990 provide for similar provisions for the insured.
Moreover, the insurance company cannot object to funding the case by the insured own instructed solicitor’s standard hourly rates as this would have the effect of denying the insured the freedom to choose their own expert solicitor. This is as long as the costs remain within the limits of an insured’s indemnity cover (usually can be from £50,000). Any costs incurred over and above the indemnity threshold will normally be met by the insured themselves.
Failure by the insurance company to comply with the above concepts may be challenged through The Financial Ombudsman Service. This is particularly relevant where an apparent or potential conflict of interest arises and with regard complex cases.
At Scott Moncrieff & Associates, we are able to step up to this challenge and enable you to access qualitative and bespoke advice and representation.
SCOTT MONCRIEFF & ASSOCIATES