Do you have any questions for us?

Find below a couple of answers

What is the claims process?

The first thing that we need from you is a fully completed claims form and any very relevant information. The claims form can either be downloaded from our website or you can email, call or write to us to request one. The claim form is available as either an editable .PDF or a paper copy. There are a number of ways that you can send the claims form to us - by email, post or fax.
We will then look to send a detailed response to you within five working days, either confirming the position on cover, or requesting further information if required. You should not delay in making a claim and to do so could compromise your cover as well as your legal position.

How does the legal and tax advice-line work?

The legal and tax advice-line is provided as an automatic benefit of your ARAG cover. It is available for all ARAG insureds to access 24/7, 365 days per annum. Although you may not immediately get to speak with an Advisor, you will ordinarily be called back within an hour of making the call by a lawyer with expertise in the field that your enquiry relates to.
The service can advise on any EU-wide legal matter or UK tax matter, irrespective of whether the subject-matter is covered by the policy held with ARAG.
There is no limit on the amount of times you call the helpline or the amount of time per call, but we do operate a fair use policy for unduly excessive use.

Who will help me with my claim?

i) For Legal Claims. Whilst the staff in the Claims Department who will initially handle your application for cover are experienced in insurance and some legal procedures, they are not usually legally qualified. Their purpose is to assess cover, arrange suitable representation for you if cover is available, and ensure that the claim is appropriately supervised thereafter. The legal work itself however will be dealt with by a solicitor we appoint on your behalf. At conclusion of your case, if costs cannot be recovered from an unsuccessful opponent, then the Handler allocated your claim will ensure that your appointed solicitor's costs are paid in accordance with policy terms and conditions.

ii) For Tax and VAT Claims. Whilst the process is broadly the same as for legal claims, we will instead appoint an advisor who specialises in tax or VAT as appropriate. If your usual accountant has in-depth knowledge of your tax records which may assist in an investigation by HMR&C, we may agree to their appointment, though this will be arranged via specialist tax consultants that we retain.

What is meant by reasonable prospects of success?

Most cover under a legal expenses insurance policy is subject to a requirement that the claim has a reasonable prospect of success. This applies to whether you are pursuing or defending the claim, and means that the appointed lawyer must believe that your claim is more likely than not to succeed; by more likely than not, we mean better than 50%. If the lawyer believes that your claim has only a 50% chance or less, then further cover will not be available, but any costs incurred by us until the time of that assessment will normally be met by us.
If there is disagreement over the lawyer's assessment, we can look to obtain a further opinion from a barrister; sometimes (depending on the circumstances), it will need to be you that funds that further opinion, but if it supports you, we will normally then reimburse the cost and reinstate cover.

How could mediation help resolve my claim?

Mediation is an alternative way for resolving legal disputes, and despite being increasingly common, many people new to the litigation process will be unfamiliar with what the process means. There are various forms of mediation and sometimes the mediator will be legally qualified and sometimes they won't be. The purpose of the mediation is to try and resolve the dispute in an informal and far less adversarial manner than happens in Court*.

Again, unlike in Court, you will not usually meet your opponent during the mediation, and the role of the mediator (who is neutral) is to try and find some common ground between the parties which can resolve the dispute. If an agreement can be reached between the parties, then this can be incorporated into a legally binding document. Mediation can take a lot of the stress and time out of the dispute resolution process as well as providing an opportunity to walk away with a compromise that gives certainty rather than run the gauntlet with the Court process. Whilst not compulsory to attend mediation, besides the advantages listed, Courts are increasingly penalising parties who refuse to participate in the process.

*by Court, we also include Tribunal.

Why should I use a preferred solicitor?

ARAG has a panel of lawyers covering the UK and indeed, further including the EU. These firms are subject to vetting prior to being added to the panel, and then subject to an ongoing auditing and quality-control process. This ensures that our policyholders receive great service at a more competitive price than is available on the open market – a "win-win" situation.
EU legislation requires us to allow an insured freedom to choose their own solicitor in certain circumstances, but we will otherwise insist on a panel lawyer being appointed. When the right to choose your own solicitor is triggered, we would always urge you to consider exercising this very carefully, since we cannot guarantee the service from that lawyer in the same way we can with a panel firm, and costs may also be greater, and it is not unusual for those additional costs to be the insured's responsibility.

Will I have to go to Court?

It is important to appreciate that making a claim under the policy almost always carries with it, a risk that you will have to go to Court (or tribunal) if the matter cannot be resolved amicably.
Whilst we will always encourage other options, in particular, by making settlement offers or attending mediation where appropriate, success is dependent on both parties being willing to compromise to the point where agreement can be reached. If it cannot be, then attendance at Court (or Tribunal) may be the only option. You should therefore always appreciate this is a possibility prior to making a claim under the policy.

What help is available if my claim is declined?

If your claim is not something covered by the policy, we will still try to help in some way if we can, normally by offering the services of panel lawyer for some limited free advice followed by discounted rates (funded by you) or referral to the legal advice line.

How do I raise a complaint?

You can either write to us at 9 Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 1NN, or email or call our Customer Relations team on 0117 917 1561.

We have a strict complaints process which exceeds our regulatory obligations, although the procedure we shall follow can vary depending on which particular underwriter your cover was issued through. If you remain dissatisfied with our conclusion of your complaint, you will normally have the right to then refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

What if I have more than one claim in a year?

There is no specific limit on the number of claims you can make on the policy, and any claim on your legal insurance would not count for the purposes of no claims bonus or similar against the main insurance policy that you may have bought your ARAG cover with. As with use of the legal and tax helpline though, we do reserve the right to cancel the policy or refuse to invite renewal of it if there are an excessive number of claims.

 

If you have any further questions give us a call on: 0117 917 1698