Highways England Drives Claim Costs Up

December 2019 update – in response to the number of emails received about a Highways England development.

NSoRC is ‘suspended’; no protocol, no ‘transparency’, no ‘actual costs’ and the hope of providing the insurance industry ‘the benefit of the rates that we had been able to secure in a competitive market‘ has yet to materialise. 

Whilst we understand feedback from NSoRC is being considered, it appears Highways England’s management has decided upon a different, aggressive, means by which to address their £1 in every £5 recovery rate … issue proceedings on every claim for which repair costs have been finalised.  Rather than an amicable, negotiated settlement, the Authority has instructed solicitors to issue on these outstanding matters.

Insurers can expect costs to increase substantially as each claim will be over £10,000.  As opposed to information being provided by the Authority’s Green Claims team, their solicitors (not Government Legal Department – possibly the number of claims would overwhelm them) will  respond.  Failure to address their questions may be construed as ‘obstruction’ which ‘will also regrettably drive litigation at additional time and cost to your client’.

Interest alone will see costs increase substantially.

A solicitors attitude to the insurance industry can be gauged from a recent post here; a jaundiced view not reflecting our experience of the environment. In our experience: 

  • Highways England has withheld information
  • Judges are not provided all the facts
  • Cheaper costs elsewhere is NOT the issue
  • Reasonableness is NOT demonstrated by the Authority of their contractors
  • Age of property is seldom a factor where Crown property is concerned 
  • Profit (a reasonable margin) is necessary, acceptable, profiteering is not
  • Premiums is NOT an argument we have ever raised

We pay appropriate claims the appropriate sum.  However, contractors and the Authority wish to keep the rates secret – going so far as to say none of the ASC’s (contracts) has a price list – they appear to have overlooked agreeing on costs!

  • The real question is ‘why are we in this situation’. 

The answer appears to be Highways England has lost control, that by permitting exaggeration* for years they are compromised such that they can no longer function effectively.

We have highlighted a contractor providing false information about costs and recoveries. If this achieved nothing, if there were no benefit, why do it?  To date, it appears the Authority has failed to investigate this, or the exaggeration we have evidenced.

We can also corroborate the assertion false statements are being made to the Courts by contractors in the name of Highways England. 

We do not seek the moral high ground, we have secured it.  We have ‘stood up to the bully in the playground’**

Should you require more information about this development, please email CMA.

30/12/2019 – The Authority has been asked to address our concerns (authorised users – read more here). 

*12/11/2019 Highways England’s legal team ‘exaggeration is fraud’.

** The late Robin Reames