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Preparing for a presentation to the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers, recently, I took the opportunity to look a little closer at the numbers behind the relationships we have built with SCIL member firms over many years of work with the Society.


ARAG obviously relies upon a wealth of data, gathered over decades, not just to make underwriting calculations about a given product or scheme, but also in explaining those products to a court, when the premiums and mechanics have been challenged, or in making representations to government, when reforms are proposed.

One of the aspects that struck me first is how much more constant the relationships with SCIL member firms have been, compared to the rest of our after the event (ATE) insurance book.

While ARAG’s ATE income has grown substantially over the past 8 years, the number of different firms that we work with has, somewhat inevitably, reduced. The market has consolidated, through merger, acquisition and the withdrawal of some, often less specialist firms from clinical negligence work.

This has almost halved the total number of firms that we work with, but the number of SCIL member firms that continue to insure cases with ARAG has only reduced by a handful, and mostly over the past two years.

It seems that firms with SCIL membership are more likely to have a sizable, specialist clinical negligence practice, which is supported by the fact that member firms proportionally insure many more cases, each year.

On average, SCIL member firms have insured over 70% more cases with ARAG, per firm, per year than firms that aren’t SCIL members.

Those cases also seem to be, typically, higher value claims too. The average value of damages won in an ARAG insured case brought by a SCIL member firm is over 75% higher than for non-SCIL firms, and more than £50,000 in damages is won in roughly 40% of cases brought by SCIL members, whereas the corresponding share of cases brought by other firms is less than 20%.

Looking at success rates is much more tricky, as we know that clinical negligence cases can take years to resolve, so only a minority of cases from recent years will be closed. Nonetheless, again looking at averages across the past 8 years, cases insured by SCIL member firms seem to have an average win rate about 10% higher than other cases.

All this data is very interesting, of course, but it can only ever tell us about the past. Quite what it means for the future of clinical negligence litigation, as we face the next round of proposed reforms, is much more difficult to predict.

Greater commercial pressure on firms taking on clinical negligence cases seems inevitable, and further consolidation seems probable. Neither is likely to be better for the victims of medical malpractice who are forced to bring a case.


Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.


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