Halliwells aids insurers on Paddington claims

Halliwell Landau has become the lead law firm for insurers dealing with the Paddington rail disaster, following a change-over in the companies insuring rail operators in the firing line.
Last Monday (15 September), St Paul International Insurance relinquished its position as lead insurer for the group of rail companies, led by Thames Trains, and a set of ‘excess market’ insurers, led by Halliwells client AIG, stepped in.
St Paul, which was using niche insurance firm Fisher Scoggins, passed on its responsibilities to the excess market after it exceeded its pre-determined payout limit of £30m for personal injury claims relating to the disaster.
“This is not about St Paul running out of money or anything sinister like that. It’s simply that the indemnity it took on for the rail companies in relation to the Paddington claims has been exceeded,” said one lawyer close to the situation.
Halliwells, led by partner Victor Rae-Reeves, was instructed by AIG a few months ago when the insurer first realised that the claims may exceed St Paul’s cover, but will now enter the front line in the litigation.
Fisher Scoggins, alongside Burges Salmon, is still representing St Paul in other litigation related to the disaster brought by Thames Trains against Network Rail and the Health & Safety Executive.
This rejig of the insurance companies has resulted in more than 20 victims of the 1999 disaster being told they must wait at least six months before their compensation claims are settled. The cases, concerning survivors and the dependants of the 30 people who died in the crash, involve sums ranging from £30,000 to several million pounds.
A spokesperson at St Paul said that he was not able to comment on the delay because the files have not yet been passed to Halliwells.