Flexible solutions for difficult clinical negligence cases
Authored by ARAG ATE Account Manager Emma Wilson
One of the key differentiators on which ARAG has built its success in the UK is the company’s flexibility around products and underwriting. Whether we’re working with an insurer, broker or a solicitor, we recognise that every firm serves different groups of clients, and that we sometimes have to adapt our products to meet their needs.
The terrible circumstances of the Shropshire and Telford Hospital NHS Trust maternity scandal have been widely reported over the years since the failings, which cost many babies and some mothers their lives, were brought to light.
Less well-understood, however, is the difficulty that many of the families have had in trying to achieve justice for what happened to them, in many cases more than a decade earlier.
After tireless campaigning by two families in particular, senior midwife Donna Ockenden was appointed in 2017 to investigate the details of just 23 births. By the time the full Ockenden Report was published, at the end of 2020, hundreds more cases had been uncovered.
The lead solicitor firm handling the claims of victims affected by the failings at the Trust is Lanyon Bowdler. Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence, Beth Heath, approached ARAG to discuss a pilot in which the firm was participating with NHS Resolution and the defendant’s own partner firm Hill Dickinson, to expedite a number of cases with an estimated value of less than £250,000.
The underwriting challenges that these claims presented were unusual. On the one hand, the defendant agreed not to make any Part 36 offers in the cases to avoid putting any further, unnecessary pressure on the families involved. On the other, however, the cases concerned deaths or injuries that were caused many years and even decades earlier, presenting inevitable issues around the evidence.
Consulting closely with Beth and her team, our underwriters developed a unique policy that was designed to fit the specific risks and needs of this difficult group of cases. For example, the absence of risk around potential Part 36 offers enabled us to significantly reduce the Premium B, thus ensuring policyholders whose claims were successful would retain a greater share of any damages.
Not all clinical negligence claims are insurable and creating a bespoke policy like this one inevitably demands a reasonably-sized pool of similar risks, but we’re very pleased that ARAG has been able to help Lanyon Bowdler to provide a route to justice for so many families, who would not otherwise have been able to afford it.
ARAG UK is a specialist legal insurance provider and is part of the internationally recognised ARAG Group which serves 14 countries worldwide.
Providing several emergency assistance insurance products and an innovative range of Before-the-Event and After-the-Event legal insurance products and services, ARAG UK prides itself on its client-focused approach. This has been recognised by the industry following the results of the Insurance 360 Legal Expenses Insurers Study in which ARAG UK was voted 'best legal insurance provider'. youTalk-insurance sharing ARAG UK insurance news.