Shoosmiths becomes AA members’ sole adviser

Shoosmiths has won the mandate from the AA to be the motoring organisation’s sole legal adviser for members’ insurance claims.

The appointment replaces the AA’s former five-firm panel, which in addition to Shoosmiths included Clarke Willmott, the Connexion Partnership, Fennemores and Pannone & Partners.

Shoosmiths will now become the exclusive provider of legal services to AA customers. This could see the national firm dealing with around 9,000 cases annually.

The panel review has been sparked by Sir David Clementi’s report on the regulation of the legal profession, as well as by recent announcements made by Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, about cracking down on the so-called ‘compensation culture’.

Kevin Sinclair, the director of AA Insurance, said the single appointment would provide the organisation with better control of the legal services provided to members.

Cases will include personal injury claims, claims by AA members who have been involved in an accident and claims from home insurance customers.

Shoosmiths head of legal expenses, partner John Spencer, said the appointment is likely to necessitate recruitment at the firm because it does not currently have enough staff to deal with the anticipated volume of cases.

He added: “It’s good news. It develops the business in line with our growth strategy. The new contract is a much closer partnership.”

Shoosmiths will handle all new cases from June 2005, with the contract lasting for three years. The other firms formerly on the panel will continue to deal with existing claims.