Complaint about insurer’s choice of solicitor rejected

Legal Expenses Insurance

When Barnaby made a claim on his legal expenses policy, he wasn't happy that his insurer chose solicitors that lived far from him. We took a look to check the policy.

What happened

Barnaby made a claim on his legal expenses policy following a dispute with his landlord over non-payment of a service charge. 

The insurer agreed to cover the claim and appointed a firm of solicitors from their panel to represent him. 

But Barnaby was unhappy with the choice of solicitor. They were from another county and he wanted the insurer to appoint a firm closer to him. 

What we said

After looking into this, we found out that the insurer didn't have any solicitors on their panel whose offices were close to where he lived. The policy expressly said he could only appoint his own choice of solicitors once proceedings were necessary. The insurer refused this. 

We decided to not uphold Barnaby's complaint. The policy didn't guarantee a particular firm of solicitors, any specific location or size of firm. 

We believe the location of a panel solicitor shouldn't affect the way the case is handled. If they need a face-to-face meeting, solicitors can travel to meet clients or vice versa. 

Barnaby's reason for wanting to appoint his own solicitor wasn't an exceptional circumstance. So we wouldn't expect the insurer to look beyond the policy's wording.