Beachcrofts wins battle for BAE insurance liability work

Insurance giant Beachcroft Wansbroughs has beaten two major insurance litigation firms to win a contract making it sole adviser to BAE Systems for insurance-related liability claims.

The contract includes all insurance areas except aviation. Beachcrofts will be responsible for investigating employers' liability and third-party claims ranging from personal injury to product liability.

Beachcrofts partner Iain Moore, who will manage a team from the Manchester office, says winning the contract is a major coup. “Financially, it is very important for the Manchester office in particular, but also for the firm as a whole,” he says.

Since 1991, BAE, which is the product of the merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems, has cut its insurance panel down from 28 law firms to one.

Its tender process reflects a new development in liability insurance, where in-house teams handle the insurance and law firms work closely with the team from the moment a claim is submitted through to potential litigation.

BAE has been handling its own insurance since the beginning of the year.

BAE claims manager Tony Gilbert says: “Now we use lawyers from day one of the claim. We have simplified the whole procedure and we have a much more professional and cost-saving service.

“We needed a firm that could offer all-encompassing, seamless claims and litigation handling for the whole group. Beachcrofts has a longstanding history with us, which may have something to do with why it won the contract.”

The new trend comes in the wake of the Woolf Reforms, which advise companies to prepare claims cases as early as possible. A number of sectors including chemicals, transport, logistics, engineering and retail have started to handle insurance claims in-house.

But the need for companies to look at alternative methods of insurance has also been driven by insurance companies which are starting to pull out of the liability sector in order to invest in more profitable areas.

Beachcrofts has secured the BAE contract for three years.