The speech given by Dominic Clayden, director of technical claims at Aviva, at the Civil Justice Section’s annual conference (see [2009] Gazette, 25 February, 2) demonstrates the insurance industry’s lamentable approach to the compensation of accident victims.

Although he represents a business which last year had operating profits of £3.48bn, Mr Clayden complains that, under Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals, innocent accident victims could see their general damages increased by just 10% in return for having to fund success fees and ATE insurance premiums.

The insurance industry has lobbied long and hard for reforms to the current costs arrangements, which were only introduced after they had lobbied long and hard for the removal of personal injury claims from the legal aid system. Now that Lord Justice Jackson might give them some of what they want, they are already lobbying for more!

Mr Clayden uses the classic insurance industry scare tactic by suggesting that the proposed 10% increase will have to be funded by increased insurance premiums. The truth is that Lord Justice Jackson’s report makes it clear that he anticipates the overall cost to insurers will fall under his proposals. In those circumstances, why would a business already making a profit over one-and-a-half times the size of the government’s legal aid budget need to increase its charges?

I believe that Mr Clayden’s comments are nothing more than spin designed to ensure that accident victims and those who represent them lose out, while his company makes even bigger profits.

Martyn Brown, solicitor, Integrum Law, Birkenhead