Just a fishing trip for policy details or a valid disclosure request?
By Sarah Kenyon
Claimants and their solicitors are keen to obtain as much information as possible about defendants’ insurance arrangements, but what is an insured defendant obliged to disclose about their private insurance arrangements?
When a potential defendant receives notification of a claim, the individual or company concerned is required to forward details to their professional indemnity insurers pursuant to the terms of the insurance policy. They will invariably be reminded of their need to do this by the claimant or their solicitors. In addition, a claimant will often seek details of their insurance — in particular the name of their insurer and the limit of indemnity. Given the potential prejudice or tactical disadvantage that responding to such a request may cause, is the disclosure request valid (and should it therefore be complied with) or is it just a fishing trip?
In December 2009, the UK introduced the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, which implemented a new European directive. This required the majority of businesses and significantly a number of professional service providers to provide details of their compulsory indemnity insurance (namely the contact details of the insurers and the territorial coverage of the insurance). However, although some claimant solicitors may refer to this in support of their insurance information requests, the regulations do not apply to healthcare services (i.e. individuals and organisations directly providing healthcare). Accordingly, details should not be disclosed under the mistaken belief that it is a legal requirement to do so…
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