Decision to Deny Staged Insurance Premium Upheld on Appeal


22 December, 2015

O'Donnell v Bury MBC - Manchester County Court

In our July newsletter we reported that Forbes had successfully challenged an extortionate staged ATE premium. At the Detailed Assessment the staged premium had been knocked down from £14,747.25 to just £840. The Claimant subsequently appealed the decision.

At the first instance Detailed Assessment, the Deputy District Judge had confirmed that whilst a staged ATE premium was acceptable in principle, the case turned on whether it was reasonable and proportionate to take out a staged premium.

At the appeal, the Claimant argued that the decision was perverse and failed to consider the binding authorities available. The Defendant countered that whilst the case of Rogers v Merthyr Tydfil established that staged ATE premiums are acceptable, this applied only when the early stages were fairly low to encourage early settlement, and the final stage payments much higher. In this case, for a few pounds more, a single stage premium, offering the same level of indemnity, could have been obtained.

The Judge dismissed the appeal, he agreed that the original Judgment properly set out the facts and the test to be applied.

Forbes comment

This is an excellent result for defendants, we are delighted that the Court agreed that it cannot be reasonable or proportionate to incur an ATE Premium of £14,747.25 in a low value pavement trip case where damages were recovered of just £1,750. This case gives defendants further ammunition to challenge excessive staged insurance premiums.

For further information on this matter contact Elizabeth Bower.


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