For insurers seeking to defend civil claims, using Independent Evaluation (IE) is a much better option than proceeding through the courts. Insurance companies and the self-insured will be only too aware that the court process is often lengthy and expensive. In contrast, IE provides fast, effective justice and considerable costs savings. Many UK-based and overseas insurers now refer to IE at the outset of a case as a matter of routine.
Time and money
The longer it takes for a case to go through the courts, the more it costs. By avoiding the court process altogether, IE saves insurers a very considerable amount of money, no matter how complex or intractable the case may appear to be. It enables disputing parties to find the right solution quickly by establishing meaningful engagement early on, instead of the radio silence that so often prevails until the expiry of the limitation period. This is especially the case for personal injury claims since the introduction of ‘Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting’.
IE is not just for personal injury claims. We conduct evaluations in all areas of civil dispute, including clinical negligence, commercial, property, employment, professional negligence, travel, shipping and Appeals. IE is the obvious route for disputes such as subrogated claims, where one insurer covers all parties to a claim, or where there is a dispute between two insurers.
Cost positive: substantial savings
IE is ‘cost positive’ for insurers because the savings to be made by avoiding the court process are far greater than the cost of IE. The cost of using IE is born by the insurer, who pays for both sides no matter what the outcome. The insurer may also pay out more in damages than might be expected through the courts. The overall costs saving for insurers is, however, usually very much greater than the combined cost of the service and any additional damages agreed.
For example, take a medium sized, six-figure professional negligence claim. To defend a case of this sort in court could easily cost in the region of £300,000 to £500,000, whereas using IE would cost in the region of £25,000. Similar savings apply in other areas of law. In a standard six figure multi-track personal injury case the defendant could save several hundred thousands of pounds. The higher the value of the case, the larger the cost saving.
This financial incentive means it is in the interest of insurers to take a more flexible approach and consider a more generous sum in damages than would otherwise be the case.
IE – how it works
IE is an independent dispute resolution service conducted by highly experienced evaluators, who are senior lawyers or judges with outstanding expertise in their areas of law. An evaluator reviews the parties’ position statements, requests further evidence as necessary and begins to set out the parameters required for settlement. 75% of cases settle at this early stage; the others go forward to a one-day evaluation meeting, at which the same evaluator meets face to face with both parties.
At this meeting, the evaluator discusses with the parties the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions and advises on the likely outcome if the case went to court. This helps manage expectations and thereby brings the possibility of resolution much closer. The evaluator then proposes a settlement and, with further discussion, helps the parties reach resolution on all points in dispute, including the question of costs. It is no surprise that IE is recognised by judges, barristers and solicitors all over the country as being more effective for civil cases than any available alternative; better than mediation and better than the courts.
100% track record of success
IE has been conducting evaluations since 2012 and has a 100% record of success. Every evaluation so far has succeeded in reaching settlement. One day our 100% record will be broken, but defendants and claimants alike can be sure that when they use IE, they can expect a fair and prompt settlement.
It is no surprise that insurers all over the country are now instructing their lawyers to use IE in as many areas of law as possible. As well as money saved, the fast turnaround produces major efficiencies in terms of case management and use of resources.
Never too late
Most cases come to us at an early stage, before court proceedings are issued, but it is never too late. We regularly take cases that have been proceeding through the courts for years and some come to us just before trial. We are now also able to conduct evaluations for Appeals, so if a case has been to trial and you have been granted permission to appeal, you can use IE even at this late stage. Appeal cases are evaluated by one, two or three former Court of Appeal or Supreme Court judges, subject to the nature of the case.
What to do next – get in touch
If you would like to talk to us about using IE, please just get in touch. All initial advice is strictly confidential and completely free of charge.