Winterthur & TAG claims –

following a sample audit of 3,000 files, Winterthur is likely to press ahead with more than 65,000 cases against law firms involved with The Accident Group (TAG). The insurers allege that firms handling claims under the TAG scheme were negligent in failing to vet and monitor cases properly. The firms’ assertion that the files were privileged as against Winterthur failed in April last year (Winterthur Swiss Insurance Co v AG (Manchester) Ltd).

Stress claims –

counselling services are not a panacea by which employers can discharge their duty of care in all cases. The claimant’s refusal to use internal counselling services could not be criticised in circumstances where the only way of dealing with her problemswould have been for management to reduce her workload. The claim was upheld (Intel Incorporation (UK) Ltd v Daw CA 7 February 2007).

Effect of Insurance Directive –

the Commercial Court has held that the First Non-Life Insurance Directive was intended to facilitate the development of an open market in the provision of direct (non-life) insurance and was not designed to confer any individual rights. Even if it had been designed to confer individual rights, it would only protect individuals to whom insurers supplied services. Lloyds names could not be equated with insureds in this context (Poole v HM Treasury).

VAT on outsourced services –

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report following their investigation into the economic effects of the VAT exemption for financial and insurance services recommends extension of the scope of the VAT exemption for insurance-related services. The report has been welcomed by insurers who are anxious to prevent full implementation of the narrow interpretation of the insurance exemption to the 6th VAT Directive favoured by the ECJ in Arthur Andersen & Co Accountants (case C-472/03).

Pre-action admissions –

with effect from 6 April 2007, pre-action admissions will be treated in the same way as admissions made after proceedings begin. This means that a defendant making an admission of liability after it receives a letter of claim will not be able to withdraw the admission without obtaining the permission of the court. This amendment to CPR 14 reverses the effect of the Court of Appeal decision in Sowerby v Charlton.