Claims Direct chief hits back over tabloid attack.

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Claims Direct chief hits back over tabloid attack.After a week of bad publicity, Claims Direct chief executive and solicitor Colin Poole has answered his critics - including rival personal injury referrals service Accident Line.

The company featured on the front page and an inside spread of The Sun following its decision to set aside 5 million of its first year's profits to recompense clients who have not received a satisfactory chunk of their compensation after the company recovered its 1,250 premium.

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Mr Poole was described by the tabloid as a 'baby-faced boss, raking in the dosh'.Chris Ward, managing director of Abbey Legal Protection - the company that operates the Law Society-endorsed Accident Line, said: 'A reasonable percentage of Claims Direct's premiums may not actually represent insurance of the risk.' Claims Direct now ringfences the first 1,500 of compensation.

Accident Line's premiums are staggered from 350 to more than 2,000, but the average is about 700.

Mr Poole said poor coverage for Claims Direct 'highlights problems for the whole market because Claims Direct is the market leader'.He would not discuss the percentage of the premiums that actually ended up with insurers, saying he is in a "closed period" in advance of the publication of Claims Direct's interim results this week.

But he said he was confident that the results would show that the vast majority of the premium went to the insurer.

Pre-tax profits are set to exceed 11.5 million, compared with 4.3 million last year, with turnover set to more than quadruple to 42 million.Jeremy Fleming

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