First4Lawyers in the Media - March 2023

This year’s media activity kicked off with some fantastic coverage for a charity close to our hearts.

It is the third year that First4Lawyers has supported local foodbank and advice hub The Welcome Centre. In addition to a £1,000 donation, caring colleagues also took part in a ‘reverse advent calendar’, collecting food items and toiletries throughout December.

Our efforts were recognised with articles on Yorkshire Live, Huddersfield Unlimited and Huddersfield Hub.

Managing director Qamar Anwar said: “Although we are a national brand, we are a local company, employing local people, and it’s upsetting to think of so many in our own community who are struggling.

“We’re proud to support The Welcome Centre and look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.”

Elsewhere, our head of marketing Andy Cullwick must have checked his crystal ball before writing the first of this year’s monthly blogs for Insurance Claims.

Commenting on the government’s decision to delay the extension of fixed recoverable costs for a further six months, he wrote: “I cannot see how the Ministry of Justice can continue to deny the need for a full and transparent review of the Official Injury Claim portal before it attempts to ‘reform’ anything else.”

It was later announced that the Justice Committee was launching an inquiry into the impact and effectiveness of the whiplash reforms, with submissions from interested parties invited up until 17 March. Details here.

Andrew Wild, head of legal at our sister company First4InjuryClaims, has also appeared in the media recently, issuing quick-fire comment on the above which was published by Insurance POST, Insurance Times, Insurance Claims, Legal Futures and New Law Journal. He also authored our February blog for Insurance Claims on the same topic.

“RTA claims have almost halved since 2018 but the promised savings for motorists have yet to materialise – insurance premiums have actually gone up,” he said.

“Of those who do pursue a claim via the Official Injury Claim portal, 90% still require legal representation to help them navigate the supposedly simple system they were told they would not need a lawyer for.

“The portal has been so poorly marketed and plagued with issues that motorists could be forgiven for giving up, particularly when the average settlement time currently stands at more than seven months.

“An inquiry into the reforms has to be welcomed but, almost two years in, I hope this is not simply a box ticking exercise, but rather a meaningful dialogue with lawyers and other stakeholders to genuinely improve a system which promised to provide access to justice but is so far failing miserably.”

Further comment also featured in Insurance POST, Insurance Business, Legal Futures and Law360 following the Court of Appeal’s long-awaited judgment on how mixed injury claims in the portal should be valued.  

Andrew Wild said it should help to clear the backlog of cases that had built up while waiting for the decision and reduce the average settlement time, which currently stands at 227 days.

Not everyone was in favour, however, with the Association of British Insurers recently announcing that it intended to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court. Watch this space.


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