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Referral Fees and Before the Event Insurance

Old Ken Clarke was all for Before the Event (BTE) Insurance. No wonder the Government has decided to leave referral fees alone.

Let me explain.

BTE Insurance, as you no doubt are aware, is an annual policy attached to motor or household insurance policies which covers the policy holder (and often their family) in the event of a legal dispute. If for example someone has a policy with their motor insurance, it would have cost them about £25 to £40. For the next 12 months they then have legal assistance and all of their legal fees paid for if they need to make or defend a legal claim.

So, let's say they have an accident which wasn't their fault. They contact their BTE insurance provider who places them with a solicitor. The policy holder will be protected against legal costs if they lose and if they win, the solicitor recovers their charges from the defendant. Sound familiar? Well it is exactly what happens with After the Event Insurance save for one significant fact: The BTE insurer will charge the solicitor a referral fee for getting the case.

In other words, the BTE provider sells the case to the solicitor, for up to £750! So instead of the BTE policy actually being a liabilty for the BTE Insurer, it is in fact an asset - they want clients to claim on them as it makes them money. What is more, the BTE provider insists (often with a nod and a wink) that the solicitor doesn't claim on the policy. You know the sort of thing - if they did claim, it would be the last case they received or similar strong arm tactics.

So the BTE provider is receiving up to £40 for each policy they sell plus £750 for each personal injury claim. Nice.

Let's compare this to After the Event Insurance bought er, after an accident has happened. Motor ATE Policies typically cost around £350 although the cost to clients post Jackson is likely to be much less, around £150. How many car accidents have you had in the last 10 years? Me - none. The average person - one. So, in 10 years, if you were buying a BTE policy just in case, you would have shelled out around £400.  Instead, if you simply bought an ATE Insurance policy when the accident happened, it would most likely cost just £150 for you to have exactly the same cover.

So BTE isn't the answer. Not only are BTE Insurers flogging cases to the highest bidder, they are charging clients far too much. After the Event Insurance is much more efficient and cost effective. You only buy it when you need it, not each and every year just in case.

Ken Clarke is wrong. BTE Insurance is not the holy grail but a licence to print money. Tick the 'No' to legal insurance box on your motor quote and save a packet.

Box Legal Limited: After the Event Insurance Providers
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