Book Reviews

Insurance Claims

Publisher: Bloomsbury Professional

Author: Alison Padfield

Price: £130.00

Edition: 3rd Edition (May 2012)

ISBN: 978-1-847-66891-2

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It has only been five years since Alison Padfield last published the well-respected Insurance Claims.  Its timing is, of course, extremely welcome.  It is generally the case that during economic downturns there is an increase in claims under insurance policies.  This is certainly the case in the banking industry.  Many more properties are being repossessed with negative equity and lenders are more regularly turning to solicitors or valuers to compensate them for negligent work by solicitors or valuations by surveyors.  Publication of this third edition is therefore welcome news for any claims handler, junior lawyer within an insurance litigation team or lawyers who do not practice insurance law on a daily basis.

Written by an experienced insurance law barrister from Devereux Chambers, Alison Padfield (who has appeared in a number of insurance cases before the Court of Appeal), Insurance Claims is split into seventeen chapters covering the key topics for any insurance lawyer or claims handler: the basics; the claimant; the contract of insurance; causation of loss; proof of loss; measurement of loss; presentation of claims; Claims handling; insurance litigation; alternatives to litigation; insurers’ defences; subrogation; double insurance and contribution; reinsurance; conflict of laws; claims against insurance brokers; and specific types of insurance.

One of the most striking features of Insurance Claims is its accessible written style.  For anyone tackling insurance law for the first time, there are a number of subtle (but important) differences from other areas of law like contract law.  Padfield quickly identifies those differences, and explains the reasoning behind insurance law's approach.  Insurance Claims is also practically written: rarely does Padfield spend a disproportionate amount of time examining case law or other materials.  Instead, if the point is generally accepted, the reader is told.  If there is ambiguity, Padfield explains why and sets out what she thinks the answer it.  This is a very welcome approach and helps those practitioners advising insurers on unclear areas of law.

For anyone dealing with claims involving insurers or insurance brokers, Insurance Claims is an extremely useful text and will undoubtedly help with issues practitioners (whether they be claims handlers or lawyers) regularly encounter.  There are, however, two minor areas for potential improvement: firstly, it would be useful to have some precedents (particularly given the text's price); secondly, while Padfield deals with the tricky problem of acting for the insurer and the insured, it would be useful to have (a) precedent engagement letters for both (so solicitors are in no doubt of their obligations) and (b) a practical checklist of issues for this kind of situation.  These points do not, however, detract from an excellent resource which will continue to be a favourite for practitioners and claims handlers.

Reviewed on 30 September 2012

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